Mean Girls, Gossip, & the Female Friend Struggle

Mean girls aren’t always the ones who are snobby to your face.

Sometimes, it’s a whole lot more subtle than that.

I can count on one hand the amount of female friends I’ve had that have NOT broken my trust.

I’ve been so burned by female friendships in the past that I started doing 2 things:

1. Keeping all women at surface level and not cultivating deeper friendship with anyone

2. Giving up on pursuing friends at all

I’d meet someone who I genuinely enjoyed as a person, and who I thought enjoyed me as well. We’d hang out, develop inside jokes, and ultimately build a friendship, and then it would all fall apart. I would overhear her gossiping about me, or about anyone. It wasn’t always about me. But the second I heard that she was talking about other people, I’d shut down and the friendship would be over, because I knew I couldn’t trust her.

Why is it so hard to find women who don’t gossip about each other? Why is it so rare for women to be loyal friends? CHRISTIAN women?

I couldn’t understand it, because being a good friend came naturally to me. I don’t say this to brag, but because it’s genuinely the truth.

If you were my friend, I had 2 unbreakable friendship rules I’d follow subconsciously:

1. I would never talk bad about you.

2. I would never act one way around you and a different way when other people were around

I started getting very frustrated because it felt like I was the only person interested in doing these 2 things. I truly felt like no one understood the basic principles of what being a good friend looked like.

So I grew bitter, and I shut down. I stopped pursuing friendships with other women. I kept the friendships I did have at surface level and no further. I was afraid to go deeper with anyone, because I assumed I couldn’t trust them.

There was a period of about 3 years where I had zero close girl friends. I had one or two surfacey relationships with girls, but my close friends were only guys. I had about 7 guy friends and that was it, even though I desperately craved female friends.

I did this intentionally.

I was so sick of feeling like the good friend and never having that same level returned to me. I was tired of going through the same experience over and over with girls who acted like besties in person and even on social media—and then completely broke my trust by gossiping.

I’ve realized that my responses to unhealthy friends were also unhealthy. My refusing to go past the surface with women, and refusal to pursue any friendships whatsoever—were only keeping me trapped in this endless cycle, and hurting others too.

So, what’s the answer then?

KEEP BEING A GOOD FRIEND. DONT STOOP DOWN TO THE LEVEL OF INSECURE, selfish people. Keep the bar high, and keep doing what’s right.

And in my personal case, confront.

I am extremely non-confrontational, and I hate conflict. This results in me simply disappearing when someone hurts me or hurts others, rather than giving my feelings a voice and giving the other person a chance to respond, and apologize.

Don’t let gossip have a place when I’m in the room. Speak up and say “I don’t think that talking about this person is helping anyone.” Or straight up “Hey guys, let’s stop gossiping.”

I will never be able to have close friendships with people that gossip. It’s just not possible for me. I’ll also never be close with people who act differently when different people are around. Women like this are unhealthy. They’re not my people, and I’ve come to accept that. It’s actually a relief. It doesn’t mean I’m not kind, it just means I have boundaries.

I don’t have time to waste on fake crap and shallow charades and backstabbing.

I dread watching my daughter go through the friendship drama. The years when she hasn’t yet discovered that lots of girls don’t care about being loyal and trustworthy and good. The years when she gets a rude awakening to the fact that mean girls are all around her—literally in her closest circle.

I dread the pain she will face in these years. I pray so hard that she won’t have the same struggles I did, that she will be surrounded by genuinely good friends and never know the disappointment and hurt of being stabbed in the back by someone she loved and thought was a great friend.

But even if she does, I’ll point her to Jesus. Because He knows so deeply this pain of being betrayed, abandoned, and let down by his dearest friends. He even knew that all of it would happen, and still pursued them. He still lived life with them, had inside jokes with them, laughed & cried with them—all the while knowing that one day every single one would betray him.

I won’t let disappointments and frustrations lower my standards or stop me from being the absolute best friend I can be, and I will raise my daughter to do the same.

We have Jesus as our example—not flawed, insecure human beings who need to be taught what friendship even is.

And I sure as hell am going to raise my daughter to be a good friend, even when it feels like every single girl around her is not interested in doing the same. Because even though good friends are as rare as diamonds, they do exist, and all you really need is one or two of them.

Jesus is our standard for what friendship looks like. So as long as we are aiming for that, we have done our part.

But for real, it’s high time to put an end to mean girl politics. Ladies, I’m talking to you: let’s be better human beings.

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