Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The poison in friendships between women

    There are subtle ways that supposed friends one up each other, and I've observed two. I'll talk about the first one. Do you have people like these in your life?
    One woman found my vulnerable spot and gave me a lot of unsolicited advice. Take action now, she urged, it will only get worse as time goes on. I felt myself lose hope whenever I listened to her paint my situation in terms more dire than they really were. I told her, "If I woke up looking at my life the way you see it, I wouldn't get out of bed." She was generous with little gifts. I thought she was being thoughtful until it started to feel like every time we hung out I was her personal social work project. Some people get off on being indispensable. But first they have to convince you you're weak.
    Once, she even answered for me, as though I was a child incapable of speaking for myself. I'd been encouraged to get an app by the owner of a fitness studio, and she piped up, "Oh, she doesn't have a smart phone." I said, "But I do have an iPad." Another time, someone asked me to assess her alignment in a yoga pose. This "friend" jumped right in and gave her critique before I could say a word. She is without any training as a teacher whatsoever.
    I might've stayed blind to the deterioration of our friendship had she not started comparing herself aloud to me. We happened to be in front of a full-length mirror in the bathroom of a dance studio, and she noted how her thighs were double the size of mine. Now, OK, maybe this is a common thing among women friends? Not for me. Even jokingly, I don't relish being set up against anyone, least of all by someone I consider a friend. I had a flashback to the time decades ago when someone told me that women's friendships are done in when competitiveness becomes a wedge.
    And you know how competitiveness starts? It starts with comparisons. Which sometimes leads to copying. Which later reveals its ugly self as competitiveness.
    See, the revelation for me in all this is why I minded when another supposed friend kept copying me. No, it wasn't flattering. Despite the cliché about that. It was one upwomanship. "Anything you can do I can do better." But if we were really friends, why would you feel a need to prove I'm less? All that proves is that you feel so inadequate when you compare yourself to me that you have to one-up me to overcompensate for it.