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BFFs: Why are women so bad at friendship?

76069562 SO WHAT if a good man is hard to find? No one seems to be looking anymore. The real search -- as any woman knows -- is for the ultimate and loyal BFF.

Recently, Victoria Beckham caused a froth among tabloids and gossip blogs when she celebrated her 34th birthday over dinner with Eva Longoria Parker and Kate Beckinsale. Why didn't she invite Katie Holmes, a nation wondered. The absence of Holmes -- Posh's BFF with matching bob and gargantuan sunglasses for the last year or so -- was widely reported and analyzed and over-analyzed. It was the snub heard around the world. Forever just isn't forever anymore.

"In society, women's friendships are always thought to be steadfast and impervious," says Liz76145040 Pryor, author of "What Did I Do Wrong: When Women Don't Tell Each Other the Friendship is Over." "We have these images of great girlfriends like Lucy and Ethel and Thelma and Louise."

Nowadays, the notion of link-armed Laverne and Shirley has been replaced by Paris glaring at Nicole. Or Heidi Montag refusing to be photographed within spitting distance of ex-BFF Lauren Conrad. Lindsay Lohan reportedly snapped at Ashley Olsen with the ferocity of a lioness last week in New York, when the starlet approached Lohan's new BFF, Samantha Ronson. But perhaps it's all for the better. Maybe these feuding and fiercely protective friends make more accurate role models than those musty, bygone tokens of sisterhood.

Haven't you ever bickered with a bestie? Or felt the sting of a friendship ulcer when you introduce two pals and later find out that they're planning a road trip to Baja and forgot to include you? ¿Qué?

Whatdidi Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned -- for another woman. Why else would there be dozens of soothing, pastel pink and purse-sized books geared to keeping BFFs from becoming BEEs (bitter eternal enemies)? Last year saw the publication of "The Friend Who Got Away: Twenty Women's True-Life Tales of Friendships that Blew Up, Burned Out, or Faded Away." Add that to the arsenal of self-help manuals like "Secrets and Confidences: The Complicated Truth About Women's Friendships" and "Between Women: Love, Envy, and Competition in Women's Friendships." There's even a "The Friendships of Women" workbook. What's next: "Gal Pals for Dummies"?

Oh, and apparently, men don't need to read up on making nice with their friends. They get angry at each other, throw a kidney punch and call it a day. Compared with the plethora of literature for women, only one somewhat recent book -- "The Company You Keep: The Transforming Power of Male Friendship" -- explores why dudes need dudes. (Interestingly enough, a 2005 study by the Pew Internet Project found that men tend to use the Internet mostly for news and jobs, while women are more apt to rely on it to maintain friendships and form new ones.)

"Women go into relationships too fast and too furiously with other women," says Pryor. "They need to slow down."

But slowing down could have its consequences. A study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends a women has, the less likely are her chances of developing physical impairments as she ages.

Oh, dear. That means Paris Hilton could live forever. Right now on, thousands of people are vying to befriend the socialite and land a role on her upcoming reality series, "Paris Hilton's My New BFF." Got great listening skills or a knack for bolstering a pal with the blues? Forget it. Casting directors at MTV are seeking "hot" babes and "Fabulously Fierce Guys" who are "at least the age of 21 and appear under 30" for the show. Well, so much for friendship.

That's OK. We'll always have the upcoming "Sex and the City" movie. Watch Carrie and Miranda coo over wedding dresses. See Samantha make Charlotte choke on her frittata with her dirty talk. Girlfriends! Who's ready for another round of Cosmos? Wait. Could it be true that these actresses squabble like hungry chinchillas behind the scenes?

She who is without fault can cast the first Choo.

photos: Holmes and Beckham, Wire Image; Book cover, Free Press.

Comments () | Archives (13)

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Are we really going to form an opinion on women's friendships based on Posh and Katie's friendship? Our idea of their friendship is based on an image created by media. It does not show the true nature of their friendship and is in no way a representation of women's friendships in general.

We live in a society that's dominated by the male viewpoint. The viewpoint is shaped by writers, producers and directors who are predominantly male. Women's friendships are often portrayed as trivial. This is not the case in real life. Real life friendships amongst women are stronger, more genuine and often unbreakable. And until we have more shows created by women (i.e. Shonda Rhimes and Grey's Anatomy), the representation of women's friendship will remain portrayed from the male viewpoint.

Sounds like Eliza is still hanging around with friends from high school. Are they dropping off yet or are you still at the SATC stage? Have some faded away as they marry or take off in thier careers? They will. Mine did. They all do eventually.

After many years of life that includes marriages, child rearing, work, blah, blah, my experience and my personal opinion is that you can't trust women. They are competetive with one another, resentful, jealous and two faced. Women are great friends until you look better than they do, are skinnier, have a better looking boyfriend, smarter kid, husband who makes more money than thiers - fill in the blank. As long as you don't threaten a woman they can be a great friend.

Many women use one another too. They use less attractive women to feel better about themselves. They use women as props appropriate to the setting or for a longer term goal. Women, particularly attractive women, seem to consider themselves exempt from accountability. Thier problems are always worse than yours. They expect you to drop everything for them but tend to be busy when the situation is reversed. Women also seem to have a personal purpose for having anyone in thier lives and when that purpose is expired or used up, that person is out - no explanation.

We won't even get into women in the work place. That seems to be where women really show the right side of thier face.

I personally have learned to keep women at arm's length. They are dangerous. I like them, I just don't trust them. My life is full of women. But my personal approach is to know thy enemy and proceed accordingly. Sad, I know but life teaches.

This is my own personal opinion from years of observation and experience. I don't consider it to be a universal truth. And before some 26 year old tells me that I have a personality flaw (which I freely admit) see me in 20 years and we will compare notes.

It's too bad women don't support each other but we just don't. For the most part, the best approach to women is about the same as petting a snake.

Again, I know all about the exceptions. And before you throw out some Beaches story, watch that movie and tell me if it doesn't have an example of all of the above.

I don't think women are bad at friendship, I just think women's friendships can be complicated and occasionally brutal.

There was a great novel by Megan Crane about this last year, called Frenemies. Anyone interested in this topic--but not interested in reading about the so-called relationships between celebrities-- should give it a read.

To Kat:

"Sounds like Eliza is still hanging around with friends from high school. Are they dropping off yet or are you still at the SATC stage? Have some faded away as they marry or take off in thier careers? They will. Mine did. They all do eventually."

Wow. That's a lot of assumptions you're making about me based on my blog comment. Here's some insight. I have not kept in touch with anyone from high school. I've made a great group of friends from college and from every stage of my life. Many of my friendships are with women and many are with men. None of my friends of dumped me for their significant other... whether they're married or single.

I think your tone is very bitter and judgmental when my blog comment was about the very opposite. Perhaps you should pick your friends better. I've been in the workplace for about 10 years and I haven't encountered what you have. Sure, I've seen women that have been competitive with other women and men, but more often than not I've encountered women that support each other. But perhaps your attitude is the reason that friends have left you. Considering how you responded to my blog post by making negative assumptions about me and my lifestyle.

I wish you the best of luck making and keeping friends. Looks like you'll need it.

Wow Eliza, you've changed my life.

Actually the best relationships and friendships I've ever had have been with men. I like women and have had plenty of good relationships with them because there are many good ones. People just drift apart in life.

I just personally prefer men because so many women are like you (you illustrated every point I have about women, thanks) It's just the way it is and I don't have strong feelings either way.

Like I said. Good luck to you Kat. You could use a few good friends. Male or female.

Um, come on! tabloid friendship's should never gauge the art of real life friendship. Come on scoop Corcoran you seem like you'd be maybe a descent some hapless flacks around town... Eliza's right and from what it sounds like educated and astute which I realize are liabilities in the dumbing down of America. Monica you must have some bff's that are Guinness book of world record friendships, no? Or are you a love them leave them kinda friend...Hmmmm.

I agree with Kat. It's not that I don't trust women, but many of my girl friends have let me down.

I feel like I am the only one who actually makes an effort to keep my friends. They are very bad about calling, emailing, etc.

Although, I do feel that it's even worse here in LA than in other places.

And yes, it makes me bitter. Kat is just being honest.

I worked for a female dentist, who would say mean things about my physical appearance, things that I had no control over, like the fact that I was skinny. I came into work one day with some pre-menstrual acne on my face, and she asked me what happened to my face, as if she had never seen acne before. Another time I cut my hair into a sleek face framing bob, that went well with the shape of my face, and she made a point of telling me that I looked "more feminine with longer hair." I didn't know that chin length bobs made women look masculine. Gee. I was just never going to be pretty enough for this woman, even though I was well groomed and wore makeup. Everytime she had a patient who was really good looking she would tell the patient over and over again how good-looking they were, whether they were male or female. She was so superficial. The dentist, by the way, had crooked yellow teeth, from drinking tea, and wore her hair short like a man. When she applied her red lipstick it was always crooked. The dentist was also really cheap, if my co-worked called in sick, which was often, I would do twice the work for the same amount of pay, and no appreciation.

Again, there are bad seeds in all genders. Bad, superficial dentist and a bad boss doesn't mean ALL women are bad bosses. I've worked for a great male boss and a horrible male boss. And I wouldn't generalize on the entire gender based on a bad experience. I've also worked with women, who became like extended family to me.

I think that men and women have different expectations about friendships. Some friendships run their course, things change in life making it tough to keep up with all friends. But that doesn't mean women are bad friends.

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This is why I like my knitting circle. Friendship without the pettiness and you get something done too.

Women continuously tell me that they flat out refuse to be friends with women as they are catty, drama causing slutballoons.


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