Tuesday, November 19, 2013
We need to talk
Here's the weird thing, I think, about friendships: we all want to be just like the characters of Sex and the City...all open and blunt and honest and communicative. We want to be able to talk to each other totally uncensored, unedited, with no nerves, no qualms, no reservations. But how many of us really, really do?
I talk a lot. I am super open with almost everyone. I think most of my friends would say that I am transparent. And although I know there are lots of things that I am not good at, I know I'm good at communicating. Yet, when it comes to talking to my girlfriends (and I mean my most intimate ones...The Ones Who Matter), I struggle. (Inside, at least.)
It's not the conversation part or the confrontation part. It's not that I don't know what to say or how to say it. It's all about the Should.
Should I tell her?
Should I be this upset/disturbed/bothered about it?
Should I risk disturbing the current status of this friendship about this "little thing"?
And there it is. It always manages to creep in. The self-doubt.
I doubt whether my feelings are valid enough.
The best way I can describe it is with the phrase: internally sheepish.
It's like, inside, I'm this little girl, digging the toe of her shoe into the playground dirt, tilting her head all lopsided-like to meet her shrugging shoulder, eyes averted, mumbling about hurt feelings.
On the outside, though, there's my Rational Self...the one that has had many years of therapy, lots of experiences to build herself up, and surrounds herself with wonderful people who inspire and enrich her. Luckily, that's the version that shows up for The Big Stuff. That version ignores the sheepish little girl inside. That version knows that strong women who want strong friendships talk.
My friends--The Ones Who Matter--will surely read this sooner rather than later (they're awesome cheerleaders like that), and I wonder what they will think of this.
"Talk?" they will wonder, probably. "But we talk about everything."
"Talk?" they will wonder. "But Liz tells me what she thinks all the time." (I know...how lucky are they, huh?)
But I have no problems whatsoever talking about everything all the time: money, sex, men,
fears, goals, dreams, parenting, body issues, therapy sessions...
But talking about me being upset with them about something in particular?
I do it.
But I hesitate.
I feel all uncomfortable and fidgety and internally sheepish.
I thought, initially, that this was just a Me thing...that most good female friends really hash it out on a regular basis, but then, I thought: Maybe not? Aren't we, women, known for being grudge-holders and petty? Aren't we known for keeping things in for the sake of peace? And don't most of us know of someone (or lived it ourselves) who had a female friendship that went, suddenly, wrong? I wonder how often other women get miffed at something a girlfriend did, a minor thing, perhaps, and they leave it alone...to sit there, to fester, to grow into something bigger? Something important?
So I am curious: When it comes to bringing something up that is nagging you about your female (good) friends, do you just throw it out there, no hesitation a la Samantha...No fear? No sheepishness?
Or are you more like Charlotte, and struggle sometimes, too?
P.S. And am I the only one who still really misses that show and its characters? Hopefully not, or else this post is going to seem really out-of-style.