Let me guess: women talk too much. Right? And everyone knows they are responsible for all of the drama in the world. Right again? Plus, you just don’t get along with them, probably because they are so jealous of your beauty, your accomplishments, and your shoe collection. Puhleez!

You do realize that you, too, are a woman don’t you?

You should also realize that there are scores of other misguided women ascribing those traits to you as well. The truth of the matter is that individuals, men and women, have their own personalities. Some people are vain, some people are jealous, some people are nosy. What is so special and different about you that you can not only be distinguished from your entire sex but that you also have an uncanny ability to make enduring, platonic connections with men and only men?

To be fair, many of us women, myself included, have had horrible experiences with female “friends.” We’ve all been stabbed in the back at some point, and it may feel safer just to avoid trusting or interacting with women to spare ourselves the pain, hurt, and humiliation we’ve suffered. Consider this: most, if not all, of us have been deceived and hurt in our romantic relationships, but it typically does not result in exclusively dating members of the “non-preferred” sex (yes, I know that some people are bisexual). Instead, we bitch and moan about how men or women can’t be faithful and vow, jokingly, to switch sides just to avoid the headaches. But we don’t. We dust ourselves off and continue to date, hoping that one day the right one will come along.

Why can’t we apply this same cognitive dissonance to our friendships with women? Grown people tend not to like 98% of the people they meet. Why should we expect that it won’t be as difficult to connect with a female friend as it is with an intimate partner? Why are we not willing to put in the same amount of work? Ask a woman out for coffee. If you don’t dig her, don’t hang out with her again. Keep your eyes open. We will scour the grocery store, the gym, and, God forbid, even go to church to find a mate, but we won’t approach one another in social situations unless there are very specific parameters in place.

One of my best friends, of over 5 years, is a woman with whom I engaged in mutual internet chatroom wars for several weeks. It was clear that we were evenly matched and both, quite frankly, impressed with the other’s ability to keep up. We decided to meet for coffee and have been friends ever since. Were we besties right away? Absolutely not. It has taken us years to get to where we are, and we continue to work on our relationship because it is worth it.

Basically, many of us need to let go of the need to feel so distinct from other women. If you are not comfortable with women, perhaps you are not comfortable with yourself. If you regard women as unworthy, perhaps you have problems with your own self-worth. You are a woman, after all. Just consider that you are cheating yourself out of potentially life-enriching and lifelong relationships that you may not find anywhere else.

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