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Article updated 2018
“Hi, could you write an article on how to recognize/meet/make friends with similar minded/good-hearted/positive women? Most of my friends tended to be kinda selfish, lazy, admitted being jealous of me for whatever reason even though I always praised them on the good I saw in them to make them love themselves, but they mostly focused on the negative.
In the end, I realized I was drained being in their presence. I always gave and gave my time, understanding and loyalty, and very few times did I get the same care from them. I couldn’t tolerate being friends with people who didn’t even meet half of the standards I set for friendship anymore (I live my own standards so I don’t expect what I’m not).
I’m alone now and have my family, but after I ended my crappy friendships I feel much more energized yet peaceful. I’m not saying good women don’t exist, it’s just that some people are dealt with the not so good ones.
Also, what are your thoughts on men and women being friends? I personally learned women can’t exactly be ‘friends’ with men because sooner or later the men (often) starts developing feelings, at least in my experience.” – Marta.
You’ve asked a very good question, Marta. A very relevant question, I should say, because friendship isn’t easy in the current state of the world.
Everyone lives fragmented lives, and this is not how humans have been doing it for hundreds of thousands of years before now. We lived in tribes, where we knew everybody, and what would benefit ourselves would likely also benefit the tribe as a whole.
Nowadays, our own goals and wants don’t often benefit our friends’ goals. Unless we work together, go to school together, or share a passion/hobby together.
I have unconventional views on friendship. Many people think it’s great to have lots of friends around you, and that if you don’t have any friends, you are lacking something very valuable in your life.
Not only that, but many people who don’t actually have friends try to make out (create an image) that they have very close friends, or that they have lots of friends because it is sometimes considered horrifying to be a “loner”.
You’ve noticed this on Facebook, right? Sometimes people try to appear like they have lots of friends, but don’t be fooled. They may have lots of friends, but really, they are just acquaintances, or people to hang out with.
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I used to think this way too. I used to try to make lots of friends. And I’ve been through times where I’ve had tonnes of friends, and times where I’ve had none. The times where I’ve had none have been painful. I adore people.
Having had both experiences (lots of friends and no friends), it’s become obvious to me that what you’re describing in your question has truth in it: Yes, most people make terrible friends. This is partly because again, we live fragmented lives and what would benefit us may not benefit our friends.
And, as we get older, we are more likely to lose touch with our friends, as our interests separate us more and more, as we all have different interests.
See, when we are at school or college or even sometimes in the workplace, it’s easy to maintain friendships because you all have a common environment in which you spend a lot of your time. Especially at school, where we make friends and secure our status and social standing. Then, these friends either support our social standing and experience, or they don’t and they find another friendship group within that school.
Ever found that when a girlfriend starts seeing a guy, you’ve shoved into the background while she and he are courting each other? And that’s the way it should be.
I don’t believe friendship can be as strong as an intimate relationship can be, and I believe that from an evolutionary perspective, friendship serves to propel us towards attracting better mates, or attracting lower quality mates (our friends say a lot about who we are and we are the sum of the 5 people we spend the most time with). Who we spend time with is who we become.
What other purpose does friendship serve? Well, it keeps people feeling safe. We don’t want to be alone, we are afraid of going our own way, or we are afraid of outside attacks from other groups, so we stick with our friends for safety.
These are important purposes, but these purposes are proving to be unimportant to me, as I get older. (And also as I’ve gotten better at not caring about haters).
The more important purposes of friendship are simply to grow together, to connect and to support each other, to know each other’s soul and to make each other feel understood, to build each other up, and to give to each other.
These friendships aren’t always easy to attract, though. Nor are they easy to maintain; they take time and energy. in my experience, these friends aren’t the rule, they are more the exception.
I know how unconventional my views are, but I tend to see friendship and think about friendship objectively.
What is the purpose of friendship? Why do we have friends?
We’ve already established that friendship can propel us towards better quality mates. Haven’t you heard of groupies? Or groups of women who get dressed up and get the news on tap where football players are, and they’re showing up at that club to try to get their footballer?
Friendships often come together to chase a mutual purpose. Only rarely (and it takes a rare soul like you, Marta) do people really look to go into friendship to share, to connect and to add value. It takes someone who is quite evolved, and quite selfless and emotionally mature to think about friendship from the perspective of: “How can I add value to this person?” instead of: “Hmmm…how can this person benefit my own ends?” or “how can I make this friendship stronger?”
To think of friendship from the perspective of what value you can add isn’t easy. You need to be sensitive to others, and I think that takes practice.
This isn’t to say it’s not ok to take from friends from time to time – as long as you are sensitive to your friends and care for them as human beings.
And then you get situations like what happened to Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds. Ryan Reynolds had a good childhood friend who tried to sell pictures of Ryan’s daughter after she was born.
Friendship is not like an intimate relationship, where often, you invest yourself more, and are more intimate with your relationship partner than you will ever be with a friend.
We generally risk more and are forced to give more in an intimate relationship. And if you have children, that potentially adds another depth to the relationship (provided the man is a committed father).
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Women being envious of other women
You’ve mentioned that your friends have admitted being jealous (more so envy in my definition) of you for whatever reason. This is important to address, so let’s do it now.
When two females don’t have a strong connection with each other, and when two females don’t have deep mutual trust for each other, there is going to be envy and competition.
Women are territorial creatures and we all generally want to get the best for ourselves. We want resources, attention, popularity, good looks, a great quality of life, a kind heart, marriage, babies and desirability.
Unfortunately, friends are not blood. And although friends can BE like blood or family, blood is thicker than water. Each woman will do what she can to pass on her own genes and gather resources for herself.
We all have different strategies for passing on our genes, but we all do it – whether we want children or not. I’ve had friends who didn’t want children at all, and are envious and competitive.
(It’s always interesting to me, because the very mechanisms that drive us to be competitive and envious are the same mechanisms that help us find a mate and pass on our genes. We compete for attention and significance so that we can attract a better mate.)
Like you, I’ve experienced great disappointment and hurt with regards to making friends, and then finding that for whatever reason, they don’t want to connect with me as much as I want to connect with them.
Sometimes, they already had enough friends in their lives, and no real time for me (which is okay). Other times, in a moment of honesty, I found out they were envious.
I even invited someone I used to call a friend to my wedding dress fitting, and she ended up sitting at the opposite end of the room while I tried on the dress, ignoring my questions about what she thought of my dress, and looking utterly miserable.
She didn’t get involved in the process at all. She sat there and ignored the process of the dress fitting and stonewalled – it hurt. I never trusted her again. Although she did tell me later on that she felt jealous, her telling me that, didn’t serve our friendship in any way.
At the end of the day, she let her fears get in the way of our friendship and that’s enough for me to never trust her again. On top of that, when I fell pregnant, she was nowhere to be seen.
There’s nothing wrong with that – I respect the experience I had. I look back on it and know that that’s just what happens with friends sometimes. When we have less in common, our paths diverge.
And sometimes I think the universe wants that. I don’t think the universe necessarily wants us to waste time and energy on friends ‘for the sake of it’, when the friendship doesn’t support each person inside it on their current path.
Read my blog post about how you can become high value in a society that keeps you insecure here.
Selfish, lazy women friends?
I want to address what you said here: “Most of my friends tended to be kinda selfish, lazy, admitted being jealous of me for whatever reason even though I always praised them on the good I saw in them to make them love themselves”
Feeding a horse to a fish doesn’t add value to the fish.
It is incredible that you try to add value to your friends, and that you want to bring them up – you are an amazing soul for doing this, as many women tend to avoid complimenting other women because they aren’t generous. Complimenting another woman perhaps feels like it will take away from their own feeling of self-esteem – as if credit has gone to a so-called competitor.
However, many of us neglect to remember this: complimenting another, bringing each other up, adds to our value. Every time we withhold a compliment, every time we withhold attention and love for a woman friend is a time where we lose something forever.
So, take that risk of bringing another woman up – unless it doesn’t serve at that particular moment. Some moments just don’t call for a compliment, so there’s no need.
If you have put a lot of energy into bringing your friends up like you say, then I honour your effort.
Sometimes people don’t want high self-esteem…
However, sometimes, when we try to bring another woman up, it doesn’t serve to meet her needs at her level.
Meaning, maybe a higher self-esteem isn’t what she wants. Because with a high self-esteem comes responsibility, and not every woman is like you (willing to take responsibility).
And even then, the fact that some women are already jealous of you means that by accepting your gifts of positive energy, they may have to admit that you shine brighter than them. An admission such as this is not for the faint-hearted. They also have to be willing to see, admit, and absorb the beauty in your heart – and that can be painful if they feel small; so it’s often easier to hide from that pain.
And yes, count on many people to be lazy and selfish friends – not because they are bad people; but because a lot of people don’t truly value meeting their own needs and filling themselves up first by adding actual value to themselves.
Most people think that being on their phone or watching TV is meeting their needs. It is, but it’s slowly taking value from themselves each time they do it. This is because TV is a distraction. It is consuming, rather than creating. If you create something rather than consume something, you are adding value to yourself (unless you consume for the sake of adding value to yourself, which most TV isn’t. Most TV is for average people who want a quick way to feel better about themselves, do you agree?).
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How can your friends give to you, when they’re always in survival mode?
How can they give to you when they desperately need quick ways to meet their own need for significance (rather than investing in giving themselves a healthy self-esteem?) these are people who don’t have the awareness or the emotional resources to give to themselves; so it’s hard for them to give to you.
I think it’s a great thing that you’ve come to the realisation that you don’t want to expend your resources on them anymore, and that they are selfish and lazy (to you anyway), and it’s great that you’ve acknowledged that giving to them has left you frustrated; because now you have chosen to be alone, and that is a gift: You can now move on to the next thing in your life.
And yes, do not tolerate mediocrity (negativity) in your friends. Be loyal to them, support them, but if over a long time they truly choose mediocrity, then don’t bother anymore. We are not here forever, time is of the essence, and you should not waste your time on friends like that.
Friends will hold you back, unless they are superb friends who truly care about you.
By choosing to have no friends, you put yourself in a vulnerable position that opens doors for potentially greater things – one of those things is the grit to go through the process of having no friends. That take courage, and I commend you on that.
Once you’ve given yourself the courage to go through that emptiness and learned how to fill yourself up in a better way, it makes you less dependent on outside safety and approval. That gives you enormous power, as you may soon find out.
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With friends, you are bound by under the radar rules. Without friends, you get to carve your own path. Perhaps a whole new path that will lead to true friends.
The price to pay for friendship
“Groupthink” is a real phenomenon, and it affects us more than we think. Once we get into a social group, we become (to varying degrees) bound by the values and thoughts of the group.
So we need to be careful what friendship groups we allow ourselves to be a part of. If we have been single for a long time and hanging around single friends, for example, and we want to find a man and get married, it may pay to start questioning how our friends may have influenced us to not be in a relationship. What beliefs did our friends unconsciously bestow on us?
The energy of your friends makes a difference too. Notice if your friends are happy for you to have everything you ever wanted. Notice if they care about your success or not.
Friends who want to stay small are not worth your time. Some people are just not ready to connect. And you know what? Some people are happy being small, and being with them will only make you smaller, and keep you in a low place.
If you feel small with them, rather than inspired, then that’s a warning sign. If they want you because you make ‘easy’ company (like they don’t truly care about you and your future, and care instead about meaningless outside drama to for example), it’s a good sign that they are not a good influence.
Are friends worth your time?
We all have limited time and energy. That is emotional energy and physical energy.
Ask yourself whether friends are worth your time. Maybe one or two extraordinary friends are worth your time, I’m not sure, that is for you to decide. Though I really do mean extraordinary.
However, don’t spread your energy too thinly, and put your eggs in too many baskets in the name of feeling safe and secure (needing to have lots of people around you), because the more people you spend your energy on, the less of you that the important people have.
Yes, you take a bigger risk by investing more in less people. However, you lose much more that you can’t immediately see by investing in bad friends.
If you have this idea that you must have friends, then you’ll be on edge, trying to make friends and this won’t lead to anything great – you’ll be short-changing your family, or the people who truly matter to you, of your time.
I’m suggesting that there is value in investing your resources in only the people who really matter; only in the people you truly trust.
Let go of the need to make friends, and then…
Consider if it’s valuable to you to let go of the need to make friends.
Let go of any ‘idea’ you have that says you have to have friends.
And instead of trying hard to make friends, maybe even invest yourself in a change in the world that you want to see. Invest yourself in family. Invest yourself in a man – or if you are not in a relationship, spend the time figuring out who you need to become, so that the man you want will want to take you off the dating market.
Why would I suggest this?
Well, when we try hard to make friends because we have this idea that we ‘should’ have friends, we tend to get desperate or overly focused on friends – all the while, missing the gift in not having any.
It’s nobody’s business whether you have friends or not.
You don’t need friends in order to feel like you are enough in this world.
I certainly don’t think less of you for being alone.
I believe that you will be more attractive to the high value women friends out there, when you don’t have this ‘need’ to make friends.
That way, attracting the extraordinary friends into your life will be natural. You won’t always have to be trying.
The trouble with wanting friends for the sake of wanting friends is that it takes away from your value.
I do believe there’s other things at play that attract certain friends into our life too. Maybe there’s things like synchronicity, or something mythical and sometimes, some friendships are ‘just meant to be’.
Before you go and make friends, ask yourself these questions
So, whilst it’s important to make friends, ask yourself these questions:
1: Does going through a period of having no friends at all serve you at a higher level? Does it make you sufficiently uncomfortable; and will this discomfort make you more?
2: In the past, did I truly feel my friends for who they are, and for where they are (thereby offering them my true loyalty)? True loyalty is respecting and accepting them as they are, and offering yourself and your resources regardless. This is hard if you are at a better place than your friends are, or if you are much more aware than they are. Do you see the cost in friendship here? If you truly want friendship, then you have to be 100% loyal to them, now, as they are; and not expecting them to conform to your rules of how you think they should be. That’s a big cost on your part…which is why friendship isn’t always the wonderful thing that everyone makes it out to be.
3: Am I ready to choose friends mainly because I want to connect? Often, we choose friends based on who will make us feel more significant in this world, and not based on the connection that we can create and have with them. Young children often choose friends based on connection and play – this is such a great and innocent place from which adults can choose their friends too.
If we don’t make friends because we truly want to connect, then it’s going to be fertile ground for a stressful, unfulfilling friendship.
Sometimes, of course, it’s okay to make friends to fulfil a mutual goal, or future vision. I think that is great too. We just don’t want to latch on to friends to take value, and we need to be wary of friends who want to latch on to us to take our value.
Can men and women truly be friends?
Of course, men and women can be friends.
Only, they can’t be friends if they are both people who are takers. When we are primarily takers, rather than being value adders, we tend to want to pounce on value when we see it.
If you’re a particularly radiant and attractive woman, then of course men are going to be interested in you – but not the men who have integrity and are committed to their family. And there’s plenty of them around.
Also, if you are a value taker, then you’re going to want your men friends to be interested in you. And if you quietly want your men friends to be interested in you, they are more likely to be; it’s the natural dynamic.
So, try to add value to yourself. Be a value adder, as best as you know how to be. There’s no other way to live.
I wish you the best of luck in attracting women friends in the future. Never lose hope.
What do you think? Do you believe men and women can be friends? Or do you believe one of them will always be attracted to the other?
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