Nobody wants to be left out by their peers. As social beings, many of us crave social interactions, and we want to fit in among people we identify as friends.
For women in her twenties like me, this is even truer. You see women’s friendships in movies and find them adorable, and you wish you could have something as beautiful too. In real life, beautiful women’s friendship exist too, but for every deep and meaningful ones, there are ugly and unhealthy friendships as well. In fact, you may be in one.
So what is an ugly and unhealthy friendship like? It’s one that makes you feel stifled and is built on negativity – usually mutual hating of someone – with the most favored activity being bad mouthing common enemies. If your group of friends seems to be most lively when someone is doing something wrong, then you are in a toxic friendship, because finding someone else’s fault makes perfect negative conversation and feeds into the whole fake friendship. When you need to deliberately search for new gossips or scandals in order to start a conversation or so you can fit in in the group, or when you need to hate people in order to gain trust among friends – that’s a toxic friendship.
In this friendship being left out is lonely and even if you pretend that you are okay with it, deep inside you may blame yourself for not fitting in. You will wonder what you did wrong, and you will desperately look for others’ faults to criticize or gossip about, so you, too, will fit in. Because only by degrading yourself can you stay as part of the group.
Once you’ve reached adulthood, making real friends gets harder, and sometimes it can be a bother to start a new friendship with others. Building a friendship is exhausting. It is not easy to find someone who can take you as a real friend. But, for me, being in an unhealthy women’s friendship is the least I want, so I try to stay away from this type of friends. But, sometimes if I find that I can benefit from the group, I may reconsider. After all being an adult is all about compromise and benefiting from each other.
Anggi Widyastuti is an International Relations student at Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta. She is being realistic about not pursuing a diplomatic career as she is trying her best to have a proper job in order to maintain her “berhala” collections.