Q: What in your research surprised you?
A: Regardless of age, ethnicity, or location, women are deeply invested in their female friends and hard-pressed to give them up.
Q: What is the #1 complaint of women about their friendships?
A: Time and availability are big issues for friendships; women of all ages complain that their friends are “not there” for them. Thus the biggest problem is expectations. Women expect so much of their friends, rather than accepting what their friends’ limitations are.
Q: Why do women have close female friends, but most men say that their best friend is their wife?
A: Women appreciate the company of other women and this satisfies needs that the husband can’t satisfy. Men, who give less energy to their male friends and expect less in return, are loners. Thus, they find that their wives suit them when they want companionship.
Q: Can you change how your friends (or Frenemies) treat you?
A: In many cases you can’t actually change how your friends treat you but you can change your behavior in the relationship. If a woman can establish better boundaries and communicate her needs and frustrations—women don’t often do this because they are fearful of losing the friend if they speak their mind–the friendship can take on another hue. This requires self-esteem and confidence to take a stand with a friend in a suboptimal friendship.
Q: Can you really change you role in friendships, such as Doormat to Leader?
A: I interviewed several women who did change their roles as friends. For example, a Leader who lost her group and realized she didn’t want the responsibility and instead sought out a Trophy Friend who would organize events for her. I interviewed a Doormat who decided she’d had enough and became so strong and independent that she became a Leader. A Frenemy rarely changes her tune, nor does the Misery Lover, and the Authentic Friend can remain that, but sometimes even she loses patience with her friends. The Sacrificer also hits her threshold, and can ditch her pattern, becoming a Sharer instead.