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    An ode to female friendships

    By  Roanna Fernandes

    “All my close friends are guys.” - Does this sound familiar and/or bother you, for good reason?

    I don’t mean to discount the close friendships women share with men. What I take offence with is this being cited as the reason why men make better friends – that women are the definition of emotional drama and high maintenance, therefore making friendships with them stressful. Can we just respect the fact that good friends are good friends, no matter what?

    There are more women in my circle than men, yes; I don’t share as much with them – as I do, with my womenfolk. Some of this owes to the fact that I studied in a girls’ school further to living in a hostel for women during my college years.

    Female friendships are powerful, particularly for a girl growing up in this world. Having a circle at home within your family or at work with your colleagues can be encouraging and inspiring. There is much to exchange and learn, especially in your formative years.

    Image: Instagram.com/jasminedowling

    Of course, you will make friends with or encounter women whom you violently clash with. That’s okay. Toxic friendships are not uncommon, but experienced for reasons you understand better - later. Occasionally, a particularly disturbing, stressful relationship may form an interesting friendship given time (and nurturing). Whatever the reasons, let’s not make presumptions nor discount what good female friendships give us.

    EXHIBIT A: A TALL ORDER OF TEENAGE

    Image: www.livelifehappy.com

    When you’re a young girl, especially introverted and shy – you would like to have friends. Your body and mind are evolving; you’re falling in love; you’re curious about sex, your sexuality. You want someone to talk to.

    Circa 1997, there were two girls I was especially close to. We were best friends that shared creative passions (drawing, making greeting cards and puzzles, reading books etc.), discussed some rather ‘taboo’ sex scenes from books our peers had begun reading (We were all of 10, ACK!), talked about the scary movies we dug and more. It was a pity I had to transfer schools a quarter into the eighth grade because it caused our friendship to phase out (we were some years away from discovering the joys of the interwebz).

    EXHIBIT B: TALES OF THE TWENTIES

    I spent the remainder of my teenage years in Bombay – living in a girls’ hostel (toldja) and then, a rented apartment. Female roommates are an experience in itself. Give yourselves a hostel, you’re spoiled for choice; you get exposed to unusual mind-sets/ideas and perhaps experience some cultural shocks along the way.

    Come the twenties - your sisterhood continues to evolve, and you might go over friendships. As an adult, you want more than conversations that graze the surface. How come we’re still friends with so-and-so? Why are we friends? What makes us tick? I thought all this, and more – this was for the most part, to do with the person I was growing into, or becoming. The friendships I felt like discarding, the solitude I yearned for. I was retracting into my inherent introverted self yet couldn’t understand nor communicate it to my friends.

    Around this time, I broke up with a girlfriend who thought the world of me. I wasn’t happy – Who tells their best mate they need a break? I didn’t know how to tell her how I felt, all I bottled up over the years. To give you the condensed version; some teary e-mails, months of not-talking-to-each-other and an illness later, we became friends again. It wasn’t as instantaneous as it sounds; even so, I missed her!

    The late twenties treated me to internet friendships – I know some beautiful folks, online and offline. (It’s how I struck a friendship with Lady Sreesha herself!)

    EXHIBIT C: TOTTERING INTO THE THIRTIES

    Image: The Cut

    I’ve been 30 for close to seven months now. This excerpt is from a post I wrote on my Tumblr blog, some weeks ago:

    There are some wondrous women in my life. I do not have many ‘guy friends’; why is ‘that’ supposedly a thing? I have not had many romantic, sexual relationships - but I have had and continue to have some pretty fulfilling ‘female friendships’.

    Of course, there are ups and downs but I think now at 30 - it feels good to know friends you love unconditionally, and those who feel the same way about you. And what is strange is how complex and equally fulfilling these friendships can be. They are as intense, no matter if they are all but platonic. They are toxic too - some unfriendships; the results of painful break-ups, and a few that I have not figured out, yet.

    I am beginning to believe that this is what ‘finding your soulmate’ means. Only they fibbed a little. Soulmates; in the plural. 

    Roanna Fernandes likes to write and draw, above all; deeming herself a lover of learning, she is currently on a path to immerse her brain in educational, encouraging experiences.