I've always related better to guys — how can I make female friends?
By Cait Robinson
Have a question? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters may be edited for length, content, and clarity.
Dear Miss Information.
I am a thirty-one-year-old woman, and I've always been kind of quiet. When I was younger, it really pained me that I didn't have any "real" friendships, the way females often do — the kind that are so close, they almost seem like relationships. As a little girl, I always had way more fun playing with boys rather than girls, and that tendency has followed me right up to this day; I just find it easier to talk to guys. Whenever I talk to girls, I find that there's so much going on between the lines, that I'm simply put off or rejected (for what reason I'm never quite sure) and I've often wondered if there's something wrong with me.
I'm in a long term-relationship, and there's no problem clicking with my boyfriend's friends. The problem is I sometimes miss going out with girls, since my boyfriend often goes out with his guy friends. I've tried a few times with my sister-in-law and her friends, but I really don't know how to relate to them. Is there something wrong with me? I'm normally fine, and I see my boyfriend's friends as my friends too. That probably sounds sad, but I really don't think it is — I feel genuinely connected with these guys, and things are great otherwise. What is your input here?
— Totally the Miranda
Dear Totally the Miranda,
This question hits home, because nearly every female friend I have has given me some variation on the phrase, "I don't have many girl friends — it's so much easier to talk to guys." (This is usually said while we we're working on our cars and gutting fish, natch. I can crush a beer can on my head!) Some of us just aren't cut out for Sex and the City-style pods of friendettes, and that is absolutely okay. It doesn't mean something is wrong with you or you won't make female friends; it just means you may want to shift your goals a bit.
It doesn't sound like you're a girl-on-girl hater, given that you've tried to make female friends before. That's a great start. Now comes the trickier business of finding the girls who click with you. Think of it kind of like dating: a good number of guys you chat up aren't going to hold your attention, which is neither a flaw of yours nor of theirs; it's just a chemistry thing. Friendships aren't much different. To that end, increase your odds of finding cool girls who share your values. Pick a thing you care deeply about, and do that. Are you really into animals? Fantastic, volunteer at an animal shelter. Are you passionate about gluten-free cooking? Take a class. Do you wish you actually knew how to gut a fish? Take a number, sister.
Choose activities that will put you in contact with a self-selecting population. This is why "at a trendy yoga studio" or "at a bar" could be hit-or-miss locales for friendmaking — if a place appeals to a wide range of people, your odds of finding ones who share your values may be lower. A meditation group or a creative writing class or a wilderness club, on the other hand, will more likely attract the kind of people you want to get to know. Getting involved in an activity has the added bonus of giving you a common interest and history with anyone you meet, which is like Duraflame for friendships.
Low-key, accessible girls are out there. (I have can marks on my forehead to prove it.) Follow your interests and keep an open mind. You'll be sipping Flirtinis with your girl-pod before you know it.
Dear Miss Information,
My best friend and I are extremely close, and she recently opened up to me about something that's been bugging her. Lately she's been feeling ostracised and demeaned by her friends because she's a virgin and they're "more experienced." These friends in particular are boy-crazy and really uninhibited, which is not my BFF's style. They've also been belittling her, saying things like, "Don't worry, I'm sure you'll find the chance to lose it soon." She confided in me because we have the same opinions on love and sex. She knows that I understand her, because I'm not boy-crazy, and because I'm also a virgin who's in no rush to sleep around.
Only problem: I'm not a virgin, and she doesn't know that.
I'm a private person and generally don't talk about things like that with other people. Furthermore, I didn't have any intention of telling my BFF about my lack of virginity because 1) she hates the guy I lost it to and have been sleeping with for almost a year, 2) I don't want her to think that I'm some kind of idiot or floozy for sleeping with "an asshole," and, 3) I understand how alienated she must feel and I don't want her to feel even more alone if I confess to her that I'm not a virgin.
I'm worried about what might happen if/when she finds out in the future and she realizes that I had lied to her or kept something from her. Is it better to just keep it to myself?
— Shitty BFF
Dear Shitty BFF,
Of all of the decrepit mores I wish would limp to a gutter to die, the concept of "virginity" is probably the worst. In its old-school sense, women who maintain their virtue fetch a higher bride-price at market (fifteen pence and a fine, fatted calf! A girl can dream!) But the faux-sexual-empowerment backlash against old-school virginity — the idea that having sex is a mark of how popular and/or well-adjusted you are — is no less damaging.
Having sex isn't about popularity; it isn't in itself a badge of pride if someone wants to fuck you and you say yes. Taking control of your actions and doing what is right for you, however, is a point of pride. This means holding out for a situation where you feel safe and comfortable, which may happen next week or may happen when you're thirty-seven. "Not having sex" does not equal "not being lovable," and rushing into anything that doesn't feel organic will likely do more harm than good.
As far as you're concerned, let your friend know that you are no longer a virgin, simply because lies compounded on lies will only lead her to distrust you. But break the news to her with a big "Who cares?" shrug. Your having had sex isn't a betrayal of your friend, just like her virginity isn't somehow an affront to you. It's just a thing, like you're a brunette and she's a blonde, or you're five-foot-four while she's five-foot-six. Who has had sex and when is thoroughly a non-issue.
It's unfortunate that she hates the guy you've been sleeping with. She may feel threatened by this information initially, but stay on-message: you care about her, you happen to have had sex, it is not a big deal, and you can still love and support her. This information alone will set you apart from her other friends, who don't sound like the "loving, supportive" type. As long as you're happy in your relationship with the guy, her opinion doesn't matter. You have nothing to apologize for.
If you really want to flip your moniker around (and, while we're at it, I highly doubt you are a "Shitty BFF"), hit home the message of "to each their own." Because it's true. There's a lot of strength in choosing when and under what circumstances you say yes. She should recognize and appreciate that power, rather than feel like she needs to get it over with to appease her oddly passive-aggressive friends.