wanderlust

Why I Prefer Female Friends Instead Of Men

Painting by Mary Jane Ansell

Painting by Mary Jane Ansell

I call myself a Feminist because I am one, and I’m ready for all the criticism building up in your head, from the moment you read the title, because I’m really being good at discriminating against men.

But well, I’m just going to talk about my personal experiences, and I strongly believe, that despite fighting for and voicing the concerns of one and all as aware citizens, human beings as complex beings always have the license to have their personal favourites, to have their personal biases and choices, because we can’t incorporate everyone equally into our lives.

Well, no, I’m not generalising men and women as friends, I’m merely talking about the number of limited people that I’ve run into in my even more limited life span.

I had always lived in an environment which didn’t discriminate between the numbers of testosterone and estrogen. But an year back, I entered the all girls college that I had always dreamed of being a significant part of, and since then, female companionship has been a constant theme for me.

These companions of mine, noticed every single thing about me, from the way I put on my eyeliner, to the way I’d burst into an idiosyncratic laughter that would bubble up the entire room. This somehow made me notice myself more, and take conscious deliberate action, instead of merely doing anything “in the heat of the moment”, which my guy friends had often insisted on.

Not that, these girls, couldn’t be spontaneous and carefree, infact their care was as natural and as effortless as the water of a spring, that it didn’t require conscious, planned efforts. It’s not as if they are reacting to people’s needs, or doing things because they are compelled to, but rather, as if they’re so connected to the people they love and admire, that they can detect those needs without them being visibly voiced.

If I turned up for ten meetings that we planned and didn’t turn up for one, I would be taken to the road to guilt for days to come. But you know what? This actually taught me that human connections like plants need to be watered and nurtured regularly, and every little seed sown now, can grow up to become a beautiful tree, in the times to come. Everything is getting noticed. Everything matters.

Guy friends mostly need to do something in order to pass time. But female friends will just look at each other’s faces, sit, talk, catch up on each other’s lives and problems, offer an ear or a solution or healing hugs, and that’s it.

It’s like your escape from the detachment and the carelessness of the world, it’s like your safe little world where you can pour everything out and know that it will be kept with utmost care and love. And this unknowingly increases reliability, as you feel that the other person, just needs, to be with you, not “something to do” with you.

Now the painful part, the judgement that comes with it, showing you the reality of your problem, and deciding your possible course of action, will make you feel shitty, when all you’re craving for, is for the other person to tell you, how right you are and what absolute jerks the other people in your life are, all you need to hear to be comforted is how you two will go together to knock the living shit out of them. But the path that you always knew you should’ve taken but didn’t have the strength to take, will only come with the pain of thinking things through, judging, facing, analysing, and planning.

While I sometimes crave being with my guy friends because of absolutely how easy going they are and because of how little they actually demand from me, they don’t really seek my attention or my time or the tiny details of my life regularly, I get scared of turning into the person who applies the same approach not only to her friends but also to her own life.

Female friendships are definitely demanding, downright exhausting, require emotional nurturing and explanations for things done and things not done, involve venting and ranting sessions, and “what the hell are you doing?” reprimanding sessions, but trust me, they completely transform you as a person, and this change is hard in the middle, but gorgeous when it reaches the end. It’s the kind of love affair that you can criticise all you want, even want to run away from, but you know, that’s the only thing you can run to when you actually need something.

This transformation will walk down to the little areas of your life. You might notice this change, from how you’re not as lazy as you used to be about helping your mother with chores, you’re a little less shamed of crying and accepting your emotions in public, you can always hug and emotionally nurture other people without wondering what they are thinking about you, and you can live your life in a planned deliberate manner, you can make things happen instead of merely letting things happen to you. And yes, you’re no longer just an escapist, as you can face your problems head on, no matter how hard it sounds.

Avnika Gupta is a 19 year old female writer based in New Delhi, studying Sociology and Psychology at Lady Shri Ram College For Women. She believes in unleashing our hidden human potential by connecting to our raw nature through art and promotes using theatre, poetry and dance to heal the world, as these are those fireworks that fill our damp eyes with the reassurance of shared existence, which break our romanticized idea of wandering as solitary beings.