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I am a retired English teacher and department head, the mother of three, grand mother of three, and have been married to the same man for 42 years. I subscribe to Dr. PM Forni's concept of Civility. I was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in the 'burbs. I love soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Phillies, the Eagles, and San Diego. I love being Mom, Aunt Kathy, Nona Kathy, and Teacher. I spend a lot of time in my gardens in the spring and summer, and in the winter I plan what I'm going to plant. I also am an avid reader and photographer.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Maybe It's More Like Mary and Rhoda?

Using Lucy and Ethel as a benchmark may not be the wisest act.  Their friendship on  the set is legend.  We've all seen the disagreements in the various episodes, the out and out fights, and the emotional make ups.

Is this what having a girl friend is all about?  A knock-down-dragout with a girl friend is foreign to me. (There was one friend about 20 years ago who got angry and did a lot of yelling, but that pretty successfully ended any friendship; I just couldn't trust her.) 

I had 'squabbles' with girlfriends growing up, but we always settled our differences before it got ugly.  And so  I'm wondering if my concept of friendship is skewed.   Having women friends is totally different from having men friends. After all, we're all from Venus, right?   I think my hub and I are best friends and we argue, but that relationship just can't be compared to one between  women.  And so I ask...

Do friends argue? I would think so.
Does a friend always take your side when you've felt slighted?  I say yes.
Does she always have your back even when she doesn't agree with you?  Affirmative to this, too.
Does one always have to tell a friend the truth, even when it hurts (e.g. "you're gaining too much weight, that outfit is hideous, your husband/boyfriend is a moron, you're drinking too much, et cetera).  Not so sure.

I realize that 'couching' is everything.  One can gently pose a question about many things without being hurtful -- there's always subtlety -- although being subtle is a skill I've had to learn.  

I'm just asking...

10 comments:

George said...

I'm obviously not qualified to answer the questions you raise, but I do think the questions are valid for any friendship.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Interesting post, Kathy... All through the years, I have found that I get along with males more than females... Guess I don't always like the 'truth-telling-time' which females seem to have to be involved with... George is definitely my best friend --and he is there for me, no matter what.

That being said, I have 3 childhood friends whom I am VERY good friends with. I can say most anything in the world to them and they are there for me. However, there are differences ---and sometimes those differences pop out. Then, there is hurt...

I have another great friend --whom I guess is my BEST girlfriend now... Judy and I are great friends and we do love each other. However, we are as different as two women can be. AND --we are both strong, independent, opinionated women... We BOTH say things which we shouldn't I guess --and the friendship is on a day-to-day basis. It's not the healthiest of friendships for sure --but I do love her...

Overall though, I'm the most happy with George--as my very best friend.
Hugs,
Betsy

Purple Flowers said...

I agree w/all of your answers except for the first question. My good friends and I may have a difference of opinions on something, however, we have never argued.
This is a very good topic.

Lena said...

Hmmmm,great post.

I have never had an argument with a friend as an adult, but I think that is because am a people pleaser at heart.

I don't give an opinion unless asked.( if an outfit works or not, etc.) I never say anything negative about a husband or boyfriend!!! Even if my friend is.

If want my friends to tell me if I am wrong in a situation, but I know some of my friends want me to take their side no matter what.

I will have my friends back.

Being a friend is a lot of work when I see all there is to it!! LOL

You have inspired me to write a post about a falling out with my best friend. I will get to it sometime!

Maggie said...

No, yes, yes, and no...friends are to be cherished.

Deb said...

This is a tricky topic, for sure. I will admit that I am not a great friend "cultivator" (for lack of a better word). I tend to be a pleaser, and can't ever see myself giving advice unless really pressed for an opinion. I have one terrific friend I know I can call on and always has my back, and I hers. We unfortunately don't live near each other, but have maintained our friendship since 1975, through moves to many states.

I don't see us as Lucy and Ethel; maybe Mary and Rhoda, with a touch of Lavern and Shirely!

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

I have never argued with a friend We may not agree on a subject, but we respect the right of the other to their opinion.
I believe friends will take your side and have your back.
As for telling the truth - I will tell the truth, but I will try to be diplomatic about it. Of course, my friends know that I tend to be brutally honest, so that won't ask if they're not prepared for the truth.

A Slice of My Life said...

I can't think of any friend arguments...disagreements, but not arguing. Then again, I tend to internalize things and it drives my husband nuts that I won't argue with him, so what do I know.

I wouldn't volunteer hurtful information. If asked, I'm honest. (Well, OK, I finally told my "BFF" she need to get some better bras. I guess that's brutally honest!)

Friendship is tricky and different for everyone.

20th Century Woman said...

I don't know who Lucy and Ethel are, but your post is interesting. (I got here from Maggie's postcards.) I have never found it was useful to tell people truths like "you need to lose weight, you are drinking too much wine, your husband is a jerk". It just makes them mad, it doesn't make them change. I agree with you that arguing with friends is a bad idea.

Linda Reeder said...

I don't think I have any friend with whom I have a deep enough relationship that would allow us to agrue and disagree openly very often. For that the freindship has to be based on a lifetime of shared experiences. There has to be love deep enough to forgive.
I am not a good cultivator of friends, either. My friendships are more casual. I can't say that I have ever had a "best friend".