I was at lunch one lazy Sunday when my male friend exclaimed: “See! Women are such weird creatures, difficult to understand, hard to please.” I laughed it off and couldn’t help but agree with him — despite me belonging to that criterion of gender. I didn’t bother to justify otherwise.
I spent 11 years in a convent school, suffering under the whims and fancies of the unsaid PMS and girls meaning another and saying another. After some time (and multiple times of getting burned or stabbed in the back), you master the art of deciphering the unsaid but understood rules amongst women to avoid unnecessary conflict and deflect unresolved anger which results in best friends becoming good friends, to distant friends and eventual strangers. With the many years of exposure, here are a few unsaid ethics among good girlfriends to be aware of so as to maintain a good friendship.
1. Sharing is (contrary to popular belief) NOT caring.
It has been noted that women speak at least 13,000 more words on average than males. Women love to talk. And even better, we love to talk amongst girls, because we assume we are like minded by gender and that gives us the sense of reliability amongst ourselves. We like to share our emotions of real vulnerability, personal memorabilia and sometimes even intimate details of our love lives. When we share, we maintain a level of trust among the group or the person it is shared with. To us women, this trust does not die out even when the friendship has slowed down or withered away.
I had a friend who once excitedly shared to me that a mutual friend was suffering from depression and had stopped eating for weeks because of a break up, but heard from others it was because she had lost her V-card to him. When I asked why she shared something so personal to me, she chided me and said that I was making a mountain out of a molehill. “What’s the harm in telling you? “You’re not even close to her anyway!”
2. Avoid dating a girl’s close male friends.
There are only two exceptions to that rule:
a) If you were introduced by your friend with the intention of matchmaking you both
b) If you constantly update your friend about your interest in her male friend, and your friend seems to be favorable to the change in status
Platonic male and female friends do exist! In my context, however, they exist more often as groups. When you choose to avoid exception a) and b), you are indirectly telling your female friend that she is not included or told of the progress or decision, especially when it concerns her close male friend.
You are also not acknowledging the fact that you are bringing a lot of change to the group (be it a change in dynamics or inconvenience) to her relationship with her close male friend. When you disregard a girl who regards you as her close friend, you bring unwanted anger into your friendship, and your actions will hint of a lack of thoughtfulness.
3. Dibs are Dibs!
In this paragraph, I refer to dibs being dibs for physical items. They are usually exotic or expensive items, sometimes with attached meanings to them. Women are generally sentimental creatures; we like to hoard things and bond them with emotional attachments to them and remember memories and keep them close to our hearts. This brings me to explain why dibs are meant to be dibs to us!
Women don’t care if you decide to buy the same generic items as them. We don’t care if another girlfriend of ours has bought the same pen we use at work, the same type of branded comb we use or brand of sanitary pads. We care about the items we hold close to our hearts with certain specificity. For example, the red Vespa pendant from Pandora that my boyfriend bought for my 21st birthday. There are no exceptions to this rule. If I’ve Instagrammed it, I get dibs on it.
4. Ex-Boyfriends are off limits.
Ex-Boyfriends hold a special place in a woman’s heart no matter how badly it ended. Sometimes, it matters even how badly it ended to understand the amount of baggage and loose strings we women carry with us, unknowingly or silently in our hearts. To better understand this, F. Scott Fitzgerald once said: “There are all kinds of love, but never the same kind of love twice.”
No matter how long it’s been, ex-boyfriends are untouchable. And god, can you imagine how awkward it’d be if you three decide to hang out together?
5. Don’t cry when there’s lightning, and disappear in good weather.
There’s a Chinese saying that is shared very much by the Christian community in Singapore, (I will apologize for not being able to put out the Chinese characters, for my Chinese has never been good. However, I would provide the hanyu Pinyin for it: Tian Bao Ye Shu Jiao). When directly translated, it means to say, “Only when lightning strikes do we choose to call for help”.
Women hate it when their girlfriends appear at the beginning of their new found relationship, and disappear throughout only to reappear at the end. This implies to them that the friendship becomes less significant than the significant (new) other (boyfriend). Women are not necessarily demanding. They do not wish to be of higher importance, they however dislike to be devalued, especially in terms of friendship. If it’s anything, women highly value one factor in having a good girl friend, and that is loyalty — through the good times and the bad.