Ladies, why do we do this?
Once upon a time, a friend made plans for a girls night with another friend. The other friend had a date and was going to call after she had finished. The friend waited around for any indication of her on-a-date friend, remembering their previous commitment. But midnight rolled around and when she still had not heard from her, she went to bed – a Saturday night wasted. The following morning, she received a text from her friend apologizing yet gleaming over the fact that she forgot to call because the date went so well.
When my friend had recounted this story to me, her being the one who got stood up, I was infuriated. At no point between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m., when the date supposedly ended, did she or her date not have to excuse themselves to pee and went to the restroom, where one of them undoubtedly would pull out their phone and check for any messages? You’re 24 and live in New York City where almost everything is centered around using our devices, and you never once bothered to look at your phone during those six hours? That is a lie, and a bad one at that. And even if by some chance this was true, the friend could have said to her date, “Sorry to take my phone out. Let me just reschedule with my friend really quickly.” Then at least, she would have been a crappy, but reliable friend.
What frustrated me the most was when she finished reciting her story of abandonment she added, “Why can’t all girls balance their boyfriends like you do?” I knew she meant it as a compliment, but I was suddenly frustrated over the fact that I was being rewarded for something that I didn’t want nor deserve.
Let me explain: my friends are still my friends, boyfriend or no boyfriend. I want credit because I love my friends unconditionally, period. What I don’t want credit for is loving my friends unconditionally despite having a boyfriend, like I am overcoming something by caring for my friends and being in love at the same time.
As if slut-shaming, bullying and plain old, nasty competition wasn’t bad enough between women these days, now when we find those “rare” and “invaluable” Sex And The City friendships—soulmates, if you will—where we accept them only being our gals until a boy starts whispering sweet nothings in their ear.
I’ve had a boyfriend for three years now and I am so grateful for him. He loves me for who I am, accepts my faults and is incredibly kind, but my friends were there long before him. We’ve partied in Greece until dawn, they’ve stood by me while I lost a parent to cancer, and now we’re all tackling the Big Apple together. I would be beyond lost without them, and more than that, I would be lonely.
I don’t write off spending time with my friends because I have to spend all this time with my boyfriend, like they’re an obligation that I must tend to. I need my friends, like I need my family, like I need my boyfriend. Having a significant other in your life shouldn’t completely distract you from the love you share with your friends. Love doesn’t work that way. Plus, keeping your girlfriends around does let you trade your Chanel flats for their Jimmy Choo’s, so let’s not write off their love (or closet) just yet.