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Dear Amy,

I am a Women's Studies minor and am currently reading Manifesta. I love the book and it is helping me tremendously with my everyday life and providing me with new ways of viewing the world. I have a problem that I often discuss with my mother, but have yet to get an answer that will satisfy me and help my problem, so I thought maybe you could help.

Throughout my life (I am 21 yrs old) I have had great difficulty attaining and sustaining female friendships. I have one current girl friend and we are not extremely close. I became estranged from my best friend of eight years after a bitter fight involving her abusive husband, and a negative feed back from one of her other friends. I do not trust girls and have a hard time finding ones that are not catty and gossipy. I am an extremely loyal person and crave this female companionship which I cannot seem to find. So my question for you is do you have any suggestions for me as to how to find and keep sincere girl friends. Thank you so much!

Sincerely,

Molly

 

   

Dear Molly,

Thanks for tracking me down at Feminist.com and I'm glad you are making your way through Manifesta.

I think I know some of what you are experiencing -- I have had friends, for instance, who tell me about something that their husband did that I consider disrespectful, then the next moment they are saying how in love they are with their husband and as a friend I have to just suck in up and pretend what they told me five minutes before. I do this to save friendships, because to act otherwise, would be too threatening to them. Some of what I have had to learn how to do is just let it go -- we can't control our friends, we will certainly make different choices and not assume that their choices are a direct reaction to ours. Also, the role of friends is to support each other in that unconditional way, which does require some silencing on the part of the friend. I know that I have had to do this with some friendships, just listen and try to reflect back to them what they are saying without letting my opinion be known. It's not easy, but to salvage the friendships you have to. Also, you do have one good friend and it seems like that seems to be what works for you -- one good friend at a time. That is obviously fine -- some people are better friends that way rather than dividing attention among many. It really is just a personal thing -- whatever works for you.

I hope that helps -- take care,

—Amy

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