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The Rules of Girlfriend Friendship

by Ilana Angel

March 20, 2013 | 8:08 am

Everyone has their own set of rules when it comes to friendship, myself included.  Those rules can get complicated when you are in love with your best friend, but that is another blog for another day.  When it comes to a girlfriend, I have a very specific stance.  If trust is lost, the friendship is over.  I will and have walked away from people that I invested in, loved and trusted when they betrayed a confidence.  

If you can’t trust a girlfriend, who can you trust?  My best girlfriend Anjelica and me have been friends for 21 years.  We have been through marriage, divorce, babies, love, heartache, and a fight or two.  We have pissed each other off and needed to take a break, but we always come back together. That said, neither one of us has ever betrayed a confidence. Not one time.

The truth is that while I know a lot of people, and have many acquaintances, I don’t really have many friends.  It takes a lot for me to trust, so my friendships are selective.  I have trusted people too fast, shared with them, then had them betray me. I simply cannot get past it.  I am at a stage in my life where quality matters more than quantity so I stick close to people I have history with.

Something happened today that made me think of a former friend.  I would have loved to talk to her because I think she could have helped me, but I could not call her because she hurt me by sharing a secret I told her in confidence.  It got me to thinking about the rules of friendship and if I am too harsh in my unwillingness to forgive her.  I wonder if it is due to age or gender.

I decided to reach out to women I know and ask them what they thought the number one rule of a girlfriend friendship is. I spoke with J who is 16, S who is 25, T who is 37, B who is 46, and D who is 58.  I asked them all the same question: What is the one thing that you would make you end a girlfriend friendship? All five women, from all five age groups,  answered the same.

They used different vocabulary, but the bottom line is that for women, the breaking of a confidence is a deal breaker between girlfriends.   58 year old D dropped F bombs when saying how she would feel if her best friend told one of her secrets. 16 year old J was thoughtful in her response and I could hear hurt in her voice from just thinking of such a horrible thing happening.

Their answers were the same because at our core, women are the same.  We expect that a man may lie to us, but a girlfriend is never supposed to lie. There is an inherent belief we will stick together, so when that trust is broken, we cannot forgive.  I am amazed at things I have forgiven men in my life for in comparrison to things that have ended girlfriend friendships.

In speaking with these women I don't necessarily feel justified in ending this particular friendship, but I do feel more comfortable with my decision and the thought of contacting her is gone.  I am a loyal friend who will always keep a secret so if my friends can't do the same, I will let them know, with a very colorful vocabulary, that we are done. They will be out and I will be keeping the faith.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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