I’m just going to come right out and say it. I suck at female friendships.
I’m a woman. I went to school for a male-dominated career. I worked in a male-dominated field. I tend to act more like a guy. I have talked about this extensively with my therapist. She’s concluded that I tend to have a more masculine personality, at least with respect to what’s typical in relationships. All of my close friends are men, and women who tend to be friends with men and don’t have a lot of female friends.
Obviously, that’s fine, except sometimes you want to discuss things with people who are like you. So I’ve had to make close girlfriends who don’t quite fit that mold. And boy does that make me uncomfortable. They say things like, “I was thinking about you.” and “How are you feeling?”
a lot more than I do and I don’t. They get mad when you don’t spend time with them, don’t call them, don’t ask them how they’re feeling. They’re needy. They’re emotional. I can’t handle it.
My closest girlfriends who I haven’t totally alienated are all science-y, techie robots like me. This has been totally fine, for the most part, for a really long time. But then, my kid got really sick a few years ago.
I wrote about priorities and life when my friends’ kid got really sick and ended up in the hospital. It made me really think about my relationships, the choices I make, and my health. But just thinking about it today, I realized that I and a bunch of my friends really stepped up and reached out to those friends of mine with the sick kid. I reached out and said “when can I come by?!” I live almost an hour north of that hospital, even though that’s where my kid had to stay for over a week once. It’s a pain in the ass and I hate traffic but I would have been there immediately if they hadn’t said, “No. It’s too soon. We don’t want visitors, yet.” No one offered to come by and visit us when we were in the hospital. Lots of people said “I’m sorry” or “Thinking of you” or “Prayers”, but no visitors. It makes me mad. It makes me sad.
Now that I’m friends with a ton of folks with the same disease my son has, obviously, that wouldn’t be the case. I’d have visitors even if I didn’t want them! But at the time…I just don’t remember any outpouring. No one offered to set up a meal delivery service or calendar for people to come by and drop off food. Shit, if someone had said, “Want us to order a pizza for you guys?” I’m sure we’d have appreciated it. But I just don’t recall anyone saying or doing that. In fact, one of our good friends was in from out of town, and we left the hospital to visit with her. It was a nice break, but damn. Come on people, be better friends.
I raise money for a charity for the disease my son has. And every year, my one friend who is super warm and really great at connecting (the perfect female friend, basically), raises the minimum (roughly $3000) within a few weeks. I love her and have no animosity toward her, so this isn’t me complaining about her. She usually ends up with $7000 or $8000 going toward our charity, which is amazing and awesome! But I’m usually one of the last folks to my minimum, right up to the wire. And I just don’t get it.
Is it because I project a certain image and personality and that’s what I get in return? Do I get back what I put out there? I don’t understand why people “love” me, but I’m, like, the “fun times” friend, not the good friend you’d sacrifice shit for. And my friends who do feel they’d sacrifice stuff for me are kind of toxic and awful in a lot of ways. Well, not all of them, obviously, but some of them. I feel like maybe I’m a shitty person and have shitty friends? I know that isn’t it, that can’t be it. But…I’m really struggling with this.
I don’t know how to connect with people well. This gets back to me and Belinda, the coach from hell. She told me I was a bad person for trying to connect through the one thing I know how to: Science. Facts. Things. Not things that people typically connect over: Feelings. People. Relationships. I try to help. I try to be a good person. But I feel emotionally stunted in that way. It feels bad. I want more F in my Myers Briggs. I’m a T, all of the way.
From that link:
- I believe telling the truth is more important than being tactful.
- Sometimes I miss or don’t value the “people” part of a situation.
- I can be seen as too task-oriented, uncaring, or indifferent.
I hope people don’t see me as uncaring or indifferent. How can I be so good with dealing with people in an audience, but seen as a robot? People LOVE me in an speaker-audience situation, it’s why I’m so great at teaching. Why this weird disconnect? I am struggling so hard with this and just hate it.