My daughter is now a teenager. Many people assume I'm dreading all the boyfriend issues that come with the territory. Those people are wrong. What I fear for her (really, the main thing that's always worried me her whole life) are the girlfriend issues.
Girlfriends, the wrong sort of girlfriends mind you, create more pain and devastation than a string of bad boyfriends. And this is coming from a woman who has had a couple of the worst boyfriends around. Think back on your school years. If you are anything like me, there were a couple of girls in your life who were just plain mean. In my case, I lacked what my late grandfather would have called "gumption." If someone pushed me, it rarely dawned on me to push back or walk away. So the girlfriend thing never came very easily to me. I preferred to hang out with the guys, until they got all weird on me - but that was a different kind of weird and an entirely different blog topic.
So for whatever reason, the girlfriend issue is an ISSUE for me. Well...let's be honest since it's just the three of us. I share a lot of the blame for my friendship issues because I'm a bit of a flake. Flakes lack essential friendship skills.Flakes forget birthdays, flakes don't call people on the phone, and flakes aren't really that great at keeping up with the details of their friends' lives. So I'm here to say right here and now that I am eternally grateful to the women who are willing to tolerate my flakiness and maintain a friendship with me. (Thank you. Really. I mean it.)
Here's the good news: my daughter has gumption. Buckets of it, from what I can tell. Elementary school girlfriend experiences were sometimes pretty rough, but she seems to have found girlfriend stability in middle school. (Which is a heck of a lot more than I can say for myself since my seventh grade girlfriend literally BROKE UP with me no fewer than three times that year. That was a bit tough considering our kid brothers, moms, and dads were all best friends. Awkward.)
I told my firstborn she seems to have picked a good group of friends since I don't pick up on any unnecessary drama in her life. She agreed and said she's glad they aren't like some of the groups she's observed on the periphery of her life, where girls are falling in and out of each other's favor all the time.
I'm not anti-girl. I did find some good friends in my life and I wouldn't trade them (i.e. - you guys) for anything. I'm also a proud feminist and believe in sisterhood. (Power up, sisters!) But....it took me a long time to figure out that I needed to protect myself from mean girls just as much (if not more) than I needed to protect myself from those guys.
Thank goodness my daughter seems to have the girlfriend situation down.
Maybe I should be worried about the boyfriend issues after all. Or is that just me seeing the glass as half empty?