Please Clue Me In On How You Make and Sustain Your Lady-Friendships

Because sometimes I think I might be doing it wrong. Either that, or all this annoying flaky friend-fade-out business is just a California thing.

Sep 29, 2013 at 3:00pm | Leave a comment

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Look, my cats act like BFFs sometimes. (And they are not the fade-out variety.)

I've always been a girl's girl -- though I date and am attracted to dudes, I've always gravitated toward women as my main source of camaraderie and emotional support. Why? Because I just relate to women so much better than men, for some crazy complicated unknown reason. Erm, just kidding -- I think the reason is that I UNDERSTAND women so much better than men, being female myself.

What this means: I've always had -- and intensely valued -- my tight friendships with fellow ladies (not fellow ladies like FELLA ladies, but ... yeah, you get it).

What this does not mean: that all my friendships with women have been … healthy, or happy, or, in the end, sustainable. Sure, I've had my share of toxic friendships. But as I've gotten older, a pattern seems to have emerged -- I seem to be, increasingly, amassing flaky-ass friendships that started out amazing but ended up pretty much floating, on their backs, all sad and listless and tepid in the water. For no discernable reason. 

I've been ruminating on these flail-y friendships lately. Why do some friends run so hot and cold? Why's it so hard for so many of us to find and, more importantly, KEEP female friends? Why are some women so weird about even having or building female friendships in the first place? (We all know -- and judge -- those women who say foul things like "I just don't trust women -- sorry, but I've always mainly had guy friends because women and jealousy and competition and they clearly all hate me and urghhhh.")

I'm still close with my best friends from college, and I'm still in touch with most of the friends I met upon moving to New York after I graduated, too. It's the friendships I made later that have proven to be more tremulous. Since moving to San Francisco in 2005, I made a bunch of new women friends, but only a few of them are still in my life in any perceptible way today. Most of them just kind of ... dried up. Faded out. No bad blood, really -- nothing explosive or dramatic happened. They just fizzled out. Sometimes I kept trying to sustain the friendship; sometimes I just kind of watched them go.

But it makes me sad. Because now I'm 36, and single, and sometimes I feel super-weird and disconnected, like I have very few people in my day-to-day life that I can actually count on, or even just call for support, or meet for coffee, or whatever.  This is one of the main reasons I've been considering moving back to the East Coast (and I've been considering it for the past few years) -- because I felt like my friendships there were so much more grounded, and more genuine, and less flaky (fakey?). Maybe it really is a California thing.

Whatever it is, it feels crappy. I guess I always (mistakenly) figured that, by a certain age, the whole friendship thing would just kind of ... take care of itself. But apparently not.

Anyhow, a few questions for you people: What do you do to make and sustain friendships with other women? Does anyone else out there share my sad fading-friend woes? And do you think there's a difference in friendship quality based on where you live? (I.e., IS THIS FLAKY SH*T A WEST-COAST THING and will all my problems be solved by returning to the nice, blunt, solid coast I came from?) Please share your thoughts below.

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