Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Love and Friendship

This story below comes from a wonderful blogger Blonde Duck. She is an aspiring writer with a collection of short stories that are full of wit and humor (and often times pie!) Married to her love Ben and raising two furry children she dishes up a little reality about her and friends, guys and girls. You can find her page at A Duck In Her Pond.

When your best friend is your husband, it’s hell finding girlfriends.

Growing up, I was always a guy’s girl. Even though I was convinced I was a princess and wore only pink dresses, you’d be more likely to find me digging a hole with China in the sandbox with the boys rather than giggling on the sidelines with the girls. From first grade until freshman year of college, most of my friends were boys. I was like the Gwen Stefani of Anderson High School—blond, girlie but totally in the boy’s club. Forget ladies’ lunches and shopping trips. I was the sole girl with several guys in heels at rock concerts, pool halls and disgusting dorm rooms with foil on the windows.

And then I met my husband. And my guy friends became a problem.

As much as I hate to admit it, a lot of guys make friends with women knowing that they would date them in a heart beat. There are the guys that wouldn’t even think of it, but they are few and far between. While many criticized my decision. I distanced myself from a lot of my college guy friends unless we were out as a big group. If my husband wasn’t going to go hang out with other women alone, it didn’t seem fair for me to.

There was only one problem. I had no girlfriends.

Growing up, I’d always had one girl best friend. At 13, hormones and a move to California caused our friendship to drift apart amicably. In high school, I had a girlfriend so close I had a tooth brush at her house until we both went to college.

But now, as an adult woman in a small college, I had a problem. The girls I met didn’t want to go hang out with guys in big groups. They wanted to go get drinks at swanky bars, eat salads at charming little restaurants and get pedicures. With pearls wrapped around their neck and stylish outfits, they looked like a model that fell out of a magazine.

No pearls here!

I didn’t. I was in the horseback riding club. I wear cowboy boots in the winter and my hair in wet ponytails. My ideal meal was a hamburger and unless a bar had dancing, I was going to be bored out of my mind.

I hate pedicures.

But I didn’t fit in with the tomboy crowd either. They wanted to go on biking excursions that lasted three days and had more armpit hair than a gorilla. They saw my pink dresses and love for baking cookies as feminist entrapment and wanted to free me from my domestic prison.

So I came to the most logical conclusion: I needed to find girlfriends in a relationship. They would understand my reluctance to go to frat parties, my dislike of going out at 10 at night and love of sundresses, right?

Wrong. The women I met in relationships only wanted to do one thing: Bitch. They whined about their boyfriends, obsessed over getting engaged and told me things about their romantic life that would have shocked Dr. Sue. They bullied me for not wanting to go out all the time without my husband and pushed me to get a ring. I fled in terror.

I can haz girlfriends?!?!?

Ever since, I’ve met several great women. Some are moms, some are single, some are in a relationship. They all understand me and my quirks. The more women I’ve met; the more I’ve realized that good girlfriends are out there.

But my experiences taught me a sad truth that was proved to me the other week. A dear friend of mine had a birthday I couldn’t attend because Ben was sick. I wasn’t willing to leave him, and she was hurt and disappointed.

I will never have the friendships seen in movies like Sex and the City. I won’t have a group of girlfriends that put each other above all else, all husbands and children. And it’s due to one simple fact: My husband comes first. My family comes second. Our health is third. And everything else comes after that.

Considering I’ve got the love of my life and best friend, I think it’s a pretty good tradeoff.

What do you think? Have you had trouble making girlfriends or trouble with relationships because of friends? Let’s dish, ya’ll!


Being Me said...

Hello Blonde Duck, we "meet" again!

I am SO on the same page as you with this one. My husband and I met when I was 16, he was 19. By the time I was 17 we were an item. By 23, I was married. I looked at my (mostly single) friends during this time and realised how far apart we were. I wanted to do the things they did, and Lord knows I tried... but, here's the sucky, soppy part: I truly, only wanted to be with my best mate. My partner. Not for any romantical reason, per se (although that was a perk), but just because we made each other laugh, I could absolutely be myself around him and have bad hair/face days and still be loved regardless.

I found girfriends during my 20's extremely difficult to "do". Since reaching my 30's, I've gone from strength to strength. The women in my life now are witty, intelligent, strong, and a mixed bag of styles, talents and personalities. But they all, unanimously, take me for who I am. Possibly the one key thing missing in my earlier years.

What was the question again? Did I answer it?

Love your post, as always :)

Kimberly Zook said...

I think I always preferred hanging out with guys, because I found their conversations (at least when I was with them) to be more stimulating (less gossip, less petty).

But in college and grad school, I finally had a few girl friends who were more interested in talking about things that mattered to me (e.g., the outdoors, cultures, literature, science, etc). I enjoyed spending time with my two best girl friends, but I still tended to be more of a loner, rather than hanging out with a group of girls.

When I met my husband, everything just clicked. He's my best friend and more and I prefer spending time with him than being alone. It's always been easy, being with my husband, whereas in the past I always had to put a lot of effort into convincing myself or forcing myself to hang out with a group of people, especially girls, when I usually had more fun being by myself, reading books.

So I think the trouble in having girl friends was due to my lack of interest in their topics of conversation, going to bars and getting drunk, or sunbathing all weekend. Guys tended to talk about and do things that were more engaging. But I usually had more fun being alone, so I think that was the main reason for my lack of girl friends. Fortunately, my husband understands my needs and so I prefer to be with him.

The Blonde Duck said...

Being Me and Kimberly--I'm so glad I'm not the only one! You've given me hope!

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

I always found guys friends easier to deal with. But when you start getting serious with a more-than-guy friend, the just friend guys seem to disappear.
I usually have one or two good girlfriends and then its all just couples friends.
If I ever get to Blonde Duck territory I know who I want to hang out with ;)

Christina Lee said...

Hmm.. interesting food for thought. I guess I would have asked myself -how sick is my hubby and will he be ok if I leave for 2 hours? b/c I think there is a delicate balance there-things like special ocassions are important when it coems to maintaining friendhsips with relatives and non-relatives....
I have great girlfriends and a great hubby-all together it is a very small group and not much room for anyone else that doesn't figure in (except my son of course).
am I even making anyy sense? need.more.coffee....

Cookie Crums said...

I'm in the same boat as far as having girlfriends. I always played sports growing up so those girls were my friends. During college....playing a sport took up LOTS of time between traveling, practice and playing and then of course studying. There was a few teamates I clicked with so there you go. Now...I'm a wife and a mom. A wife to a cop which is a lifestyle in itself.

I work for the family business in construction....so I'm the only girl!! (Which I have to say I life because no snarkiness!) But...not many ways to "meet" new people.

My one saving grace has been our neighborhood. We live in a subdivision that is pretty close knit. We've met several families than we click with. We now have Ladies' Night. LOVE IT!

It's nice knowing that I'm not the only girl out there who doesn't have tons of girlfriends!

CaJoh said...

I think I have the same problem— but I'm a guy. I tend to get along with women better than men. Sure, I can talk about power tools and the latest baseball scores, but it just ends there. I tend to forget that my keeping in touch with other women makes my wife think I'm sneaking around, so I have to have be more open about who I talk to so that she is aware of who I know and not wind up being in the dog house.

Pearl said...

ahhh! i love your posts so much!

i find it hard to find girlfriends, too, even when i'm in college. and it's not because i prefer to have guys as my friends, either, because honestly, who wouldn't love a close, small group of girls to whom you dish everything out to and gain advice from? i think the reason i have yet to find that group of great girls is because i already have a person like that in my life, too; this person is different in that i love her unconditionally, just as i know she loves me.

my mother!

Mr. Anonymous said...

Mrs. Anonymous wont let me have a girlfriend....

I am just saying

Mr. Anonymous

Missty said...

Blonde Duck, I think your my twin. I always had guy friends, and now my best friend is my DH we do EVERYTHING together. lol Seriously. Off to Lowes, or the mall - he shops with me. From Friday night when he walks in the door till Monday morning, we are together.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I'm not trying to be all that or anything...but I had the best of both worlds I guess.

I loved tanning all day and listening to the latest gossip...but I also had a group of guys I hung out with quite often.

Guys are definitely less drama, but that is sometimes what is fun about being a chick...for me anyway. I LOVE being female, because I have the excuse of getting pedicures and talking about boys all hours of the night.

But I loved hanging out with my guy friends for the pure fact that we DID stuff...I did stuff with them that were crazy and funny and scared me half to death...

But like Andrea said...after I met THE guy for me, those guy friends didn't feel so comfortable letting me hang out and play MADDEN with them (I kicked butt btw).

So now my girlfriends and couple friends mean SOOOOO much to me.

But part of my personality is that I am a complete people person...in fact, in can be kinda bad because I'm always wanting to hang out with others for the pure entertainment...my husband like down time,

but he still loves me...that's good!

Mr. Anonymous...Just saying!

Lo said...

Oh, girl -- you're so right on with this one. I'll never be caught with a group of gals bitching over life... after all, I've got LIVING to do!

And gals who don't understand that I married my best friend in the world? Well, they just won't do.

As I've gotten older, I've come around to the fact that female friends are really important. But, like you, I've found it challenging sometimes to make the right connections. Fortunately, when I do make a connection it's very strong.

Here's to all the friendships gone RIGHT in our lives!

T said...

I always had my best girl friends - known them since we were pre-K and we're still tight as can be... do I ever see them? no. Do we chat much? not really. When we DO get together it's like nothing has changed though!

Conversely - even though they're my best friends - I've always hung out with the guys... less hormonal outbursts are a relief :) I find myself on the Guy Side of the room at parties even now... don't want to discuss the latest recipe for chicken or who was seen out without her makeup.

and pedicures... once I gave them a try I was a happier person, with prettier feet!

Swirl Girl said...

You are the most adorable duck in the flock. (group, gaggle, herd, pod?)

Great to see you here!

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm so thrilld, ladies! I don't feel like such a freak anymore! If only we all lived close to each other...

And Christina, I had already attended a few events for the friend's birthday before my husband got sick and given her a gift already. That was why I made the choice to stay with Ben. I had thought I had done enough to show her I cared, but her feelings were hurt.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

I don't understand the compulsion that we feel we need to be friends with the same sex. I know that jealousy can play into it, but why should you limit your friendships because you get along better with guys than with girls?

I dunno...I have a lot of women friends and truthfully, I'm not interested in dating them (or I wasn't when I was single). Perhaps that's how we've remained good friends.

I'm also struck by something you said, that you'll never have friends like the gang in SATC because you'll always put your family first.

Bravo! We should put our families first. But shouldn't your friends understand that? It was a birthday party and it sucks that you had to miss it, but should that cause anger from your friend? If that friend had a real crisis, you'd be there right?

I don't know, is the dynamic between guys and their friends different from girls and their friends?

wendy said...

Sounds to me like you have your priorities in order. I have a best girlfriend - same one for 23 years - we've raisied out kids together, and done FUN girl things, but we find it harder now to get together with grown kids, grandkids, THE HUBBY --and just generally TIRED. I find guys easier to hang out with as they aren't in the "comparing-judging mode". They just ARE. and ya know what --I've had a couple of gay guy friends --AND THEY ARE LIKE THE BEST GIRL/GUY FRIEND ever. (kinda funny)

Zeemaid said...

I totally get what you are saying. My husband and I have very little social life. Even after 10 years, we still prefer each other's company to anyone elses. I have developed 2 good friendships with women over the years but family always comes first and they know that and really understand if I don't phone them once a week etc.

But it was hard work finding those friends and many other friends have fallen by the wayside over the years.

I completely agree though. I don't want my husband hanging out with women so I purposely don't make friends with guys because of that. In school I used to make friends with guys easier than women for some reason. I too was the tomboy in pink dress kinda girl.

Goldielocks said...

Girl! thanks for visiting... feel free to visit ANY time, add me to your blog roll, whatever.
I swear you have a TWIN at the gym i work out at in Augusta!! (however she is like 18)
Have a great week and thanks for leaving a sweet comment!

Goldielocks said...

oh, and P.S. - i think i may have this conversation so many times with my close girls- i have MANY guy friends, i would rather hang with the guys. they wont pick you apart, claw your eyes out and make you feel insecure. They joke about the little stuff - yay for guy friends, but as for when you're married, dang that puts a crimp in things and makes it more complicated. Lord bless our husbands, what would we do without them? ( good lord, do i make ANY sense?!)

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Goldielocks...you make sense to me...but that isn't saying much!!! Sorry!

Hey everyone...are girls REALLY that bad??? I must have lucked out with the girls I hung out with...because anybody that was mean to me just wasn't a friend...

But guys are more chill regardless when it comes to emotions and stuff.

Daddy Geek Boy...the dynamics are different cause guys are not quite so emotional...

Girls however are...

but you already knew that! :)

Melinda said...

In general I like guys better than girls too, I think it's more about me though. I can get very self-conscious, doing something stupid in front of a guy is laughed at and then forgotten. Doing something stupid in front of a girl feels like its judged and held on to forever.
I still love my girlfriends, and part of having good girl relationships has come just with maturity. Not caring what they think, deciding it was okay if I wasn't friends with everybody around me, just not caring SO MUCH anymore, etc. Hope that makes sense!
Friends are important though, I'm just so glad my husband really is my best friend, whew life would be a lot harder if he weren't! :)

Melinda said...

Oh p.s. I really enjoyed your post, GREAT subject! :D

kathy said...

Hey Ya, BD! I followed you over - I so understand your thoughts on this. I moved to another state to follow my husband and I have run in to the same problem with single and married women. I don't like to complain about my hubby so I don't fit in with that group, one group I met up with only wanted to show their expensive jewelry and put down the husbands who didn't buy their wives expensive jewelry - one of them even said that she always took her jewelry back and traded it up for the more expensive one that she wanted, another group loved to get drunk when they got together - not my thing, I could go on and on.

So, I get you and good for you for your thinking. You know I love your stories.

Reeni♥ said...

Oh Duckie, I could of wrote parts of this! I always had more guy friends than girl friends, and the girlfriends I had all liked to complain and talk behind each other's backs. I hated it. Life's too short and there's fun to be had. I thought when I got older it would change but my last best friend was so jealous if I even talked to another girl that it ended badly... there was lots of yelling... at me...I'm glad you found some girlfriends! I did, too, but their all on-line, and that's O.K. with me for now!

Anonymous said...

Glad to know that I am not the only one who has friend trouble. I do have a few friends, but none that I even talk to weekly. Some of my long time friends aren't married or don't have kids and our lives are in different places to its hard to relate to one another. Other of my good friend live hours away. I think friendship is a hard thing and when you find a great friend then it really is a blessing.

Susan said...

While I do have a couple of beautiful girlfriends, in addition to my sister who is my best "female" friend, my husband, like you, wins the prize.

It's about being true to yourself in the selection of who you spend time with. And I think to find even one special female friend you can truly appreciate is priceless.

Great story. And hey, such beautiful pics!