I’ll be honest with you: writing this text was a drag.
For some reason, I decided to blog about girl’s friendships a month ago and since then, I’ve been stuck in one of the lengthiest writer’s blocks in the history of Berlinkiddo (and boy, were there many). I wanted to talk about the complexity of female friendships, about their ambivalence and their emotional rollercoasters. Instead, I kept quiet.
There’s a lot to be discussed and I only know so much (read as: not much). The lack of answers inspired me to write in questions instead: so, maybe, you could write this article for me…?
My own inner Fragestellung escalated on a rainy Wednesday evening some time ago, after I finished a yet another shitty draft of the very text you’re reading right now.
I asked my flatmate for advice while fighting the desperate temptation to set my Mac on fire. “I have genuinely no idea,” he uttered “how am I supposed to know anything about female friendships when I’m not a girl?” Useless, huh.
But it made me think: Why did I feel the urge to ask a question like this? What made me believe that this question deserves an answer? I remember different voices, warning me to be careful around girls. Girl’s friendships are a mess. Side-eyes and pretty lies and silent disapproval and mind games. Petty fights turning into a vendetta so sophisticated that Marlon Brando’s Godfather could learn a lesson or two. As a bystander, this mostly makes you want to keep your distance, so you don’t accidentally get your head chopped off.
Is this true? Whose are these rules, really? I don’t remember setting them in stone; and neither did the girls around me, confused and slightly traumatized as we all were. Who keeps telling us that girls are more difficult to handle?
Sure, I’ve had my share. I’ve been a part of very hazardous friendship triangles; I’ve seen and experienced gossip, bullying, shallow sweetness and puppy eyes. But to be fair, I’ve also had late night talks over beer, unconditional support while embarking on numerous fuck-ups and very soft, flower-scented hugs.
So it’s 50-50, really. The pettiest gossip girls I’ve met were boys: the toughest guys I’ve met were girls. We all know that each friendship is unique: so why is there the need to generalize?
There was this article in Vogue CZ, which discussed the depiction of female friendships in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels. Its author was (quite rightfully) baffled: Ferrante chose to portray the darkest lows of two female souls, and received a lot of praise for “capturing the complexity of female friendship.” But is this truly how female friendships function? Can we have the highs without the darkness?
I refuse to believe this love-hate symptoms are encoded in our DNA. Are we really experiencing a troubled friendship that’s inevitably doomed, or is just either of us being a bitch?
Can two women be close without becoming each other’s Nemesis?
Do we always need to be juxtaposed to each other; compared, assessed, chased into competition? Can we build a friendship that is loud and clear and doesn’t hide any feelings in the shadow? Could it simply be a relationship between two human beings?
Can girls have more than Hassliebe?