A Lesson in Female Friendships

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Amanda and I met a few years back when we both decided to throw our inhibitions to the wind and pick up some classes at Second City in Chicago. She had just moved to the big ole city from her home state of Kansas to pursue her dream of comedy writing (and performing) and I was enrolled in sketch writing on a whim urged on by a friend.

On the first day of class, I remember making a list (with another friend whom you’ll meet later) and we knew, we knew, that the class would have one really cool gal that everyone envied – enter Amanda. She was always super chic – and this is on a Sunday morning aka hangover city for most 20 somethings –super witty, and of course, stomach ache hilarious. Basically, I had to be her friend.

Almost three years later and here we are! I’m ecstatic that I get to share a little bit of my dear gal pal with you. PS – She’s also single so if any readers know of any worthy single men (nearish 6 feet tall with great charm) please message me.dwp-22 (1).jpg

You and I have talked about the five love languages before. As a refresher, they’re: gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch. Do you think these love languages apply to friendship too or does friendship maybe have a different twist on how we show mad love for one another?

I 100% believe that the love languages cross over into non-romantic relationships. I haven’t read the book on love languages, but I don’t believe the author would have listed those as ways we as human interact with JUST romantic partners. I feel like sometimes we can put a lot of emphasis on romantic relationships and pull those to the forefront, but my relationships with my family and friends are some of the most important ones I have! I think the point of knowing the five love languages (and again… I’m guessing here because I haven’t read the book) is to understand people better in general. If you know a friend/family member/significant other is a Words of Affirmation person, you know you have to do a better job verbalizing your feelings and emotions to them, even if that isn’t one of your strongest suits. It’s all about learning the differences that we as individuals have, and loving those people for them.

We’re girls of the millennium – meaning we grew up in a time where the women before us showed us we can do whatever the guys can do – yet I feel like there’s still a lot of fierce, subconscious or conscious, competition between women. Maybe it’s jealously or projected self-doubt, but I feel like there’s more cattiness in the air between women than there needs to be. And yes, I think in recent years it has become much more of a mellow and supportive environment, but more can always be done. And I know you feel passionate about women lifting each other up too. What do you think we, as women, can do to help nurture and support one another?

 I love that you put to “nurture and support one another” because I think that’s huge! Not only should we be saying “yes, go for it!” to our fellow females, but we should be nurturing them as well. I feel like there’s a slight difference between the two, but like DJ Khaleed would say, they are both so key. Support means we are holding each other up. To be there for one another when things maybe aren’t going as planned or that obnoxious voice of self-doubt comes trickling into our subconscious. Nurture means we need to care for one another and encourage growth. Personally, spiritually, in the workplace, et. al. So what can we do for one another? Listen when we have frustrations, encourage when we have doubts, sustain when we want to give up, and understand that we are all going through this together. Tapping in here on the cattiness aspect posed above. We as women are out to prove that we are worthy of the same benefits, rights, and expectations as our male      counterparts, so I think acknowledging that is a big part of building each other up instead of tearing one another down.

One thing I’ve always envied about you is your bravery. You packed up your life after college and left your family and friends behind to pursue your dream in a whole new city. It’s something I always dream – distantly – about doing, but all of my things are here. I grew up in Chicago. All of my childhood, high school, and even college friends all live within an hour drive of me. But you survived and you’ve managed to foster some deep friendships here. And I think a lot of people find that it intimidating and challenging to make new friends after college. So, please tell me how to make friends and where to meet them. I’d like more.

 Making friends is REAL hard. It was much easier on the playground when you could become BFFs with someone just because they liked to play tetherball too. Moving to Chicago I knew two people. I knew them from college through friends of friends. I didn’t know what to expect moving to a new city with new people and no friends, but I do have to chalk up a lot of my experience to luck. Really, I think I just got really lucky. I got along          great with my new roommates. Outside of my that, I got involved in things that interested me, like Second City. Doing something that I know I love meant finding people who also love that thing. That’s how I met you after all! Sometimes I feel like making friends is kind of like dating. You aren’t going to find someone you’re interested in dating if you’re constantly doing activities you don’t really like. Do things for you first, then you will find people you get along with. Also, gotta shout out to my pops on this one, but he has constantly told me to “just be yourself.” He’s told me this countless times in reference to    me pursuing a writing/comedy career, but I apply it to all aspects of my life. If you are being your authentic self, you will find people who see that and enjoy it. Those who don’t stick around aren’t worth it, and those who do are the ones that do so indefinitely.

I feel like a lot of your friends – including myself – value your advice. It always seems to be just the right thing delivered in a perfect package tied up with a nice bow. How do you handle giving advice to friends? Do you wait for them to seek you out or do you hand it out for free when you feel like someone needs it?

 Well, thanks! (insert blushing face emoji here) I try really hard to not give unsolicited advice. When I think of people I go to for advice, it’s always people who I know will give me an unbiased opinion and not just take my side of things. It’s also people who don’t give me advice when I’m not asking for it. For some reason, I feel like I truly value and respect advice from people who seldom give it. So in that same vein, I wait for friends to come to me for advice and try to do the same to them as those who I trust do to me. Listen to the situation and let people get everything off their chests. I find that people will often come to a great conclusion on their own simply because they verbalized everything. I internalize SO much. Thoughts can get lost and jumbled up so quickly in my mind that a situation can seem so much worse than it really is. Seeking counsel with friends who will listen first whole heartedly and then offer their opinion is what gets me through tough decisions.

You’re a strong lady with some strong opinions. I’d like to think of myself in a similar light. But it makes me wonder how we both handle conflict. I’m so passive that unless something is really frosting me, I usually just let it go but make a mental note of how stupid I think the situation is. How do you handle it when you disagree with a friend? Are you forthright with your stance or do you back off, cool down, and let it roll on by?

I’m terrible at conflict, if I’m being frank. I grew up a very shy and reserved kid. I’ve always called myself easy going, but honestly that’s probably just a BS excuse. I usually don’t let things affect me and instead, let it “roll on by” like you said. I’ve always weighed confrontation on a scale of sorts. I ask myself, “Amanda, is this something worth rocking the boat over? Or, is it something that you can just sweep under the rug and not let it bother you?” Usually, I defer to the latter. I’ve learned recently that sweeping things under the rug, however, is not always the best solution. If you keep sweeping, eventually that pile will grow so big under that rug that it will start to seep out and become an even bigger mess. Is my analogy scaring you or hitting a little too close to home? Good! The biggest take away from that situation for me was learning that confronting something negatively and sticking up for yourself are two completely different things. You have to be willing to stick up for yourself and confront a situation gracefully instead. Remember, your happiness is important. And I don’t mean you should always look out for number one and be a selfish twat, but your contentment is also valid. Weighing confrontation on a level of importance and also self-happiness helps me keep a more level head when making tough decisions.

 

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