Friendships often resemble relationships. But have you ever broken up with a girlfriend? Danielle has. After years of friendships that just never seemed to work out, Danielle learned that she needed to begin treating her friendships as if relationships. Friendships take time and effort. Don’t let a girlfriend take advantage of a friendship and surround yourself with those who will help you achieve your true identity.
By Danielle Sepulveres
Girl on girl. The phrase usually drums up the salacious image of a drunken college kiss between two female coeds designed to shock and awe inebriated members of the male species. I think of it in an entirely different capacity. Most women my age have spent their days trying to decipher the behavior of the men in their lives or launch a search for the right man. And I can’t say that I haven’t looked for the right guy myself or been caught off guard by some of those Y-chromosome freaks. But I instead have spent so much more of my time trying to decode the behavior of the women in my life. Because women are devious. And smart. And not to be trifled with. Making my girl-on-girl interactions a mystifying experience even from my earliest memory.
What are Friendships?
In middle school it was as simple and petty as lunchtime talk about a weekend gathering to which I’d never receive an invite. And then on Monday back at the lunch table, I’d face feigned confusion as to why no one had remembered to call (or call me back) and give me the details of when and where. This extended partially into high school until I developed the confidence to sever ties from these types of girls and form new friendships and relationships. I continued along through college in the same manner, judiciously avoiding the girl-on-girl red flags, but fell into the trap again post graduation.
Relationships in college exist in a different time bubble. They form so much faster than in the outside world. College world is living together, eating together, studying together and going out together. A week of college relationships – whether platonic or romantic – is equal to about a month and a half of regular world getting to know someone time. After college, what happens when you don’t live down the hall from one another, or share World Religions on Wednesdays from 7-10 p.m. anymore, and you actually have to plan and drive to see that other person? You realize which people were friends due to the convenience of the lifestyle and who are the real friends whom you’ll rehash the college stories with over and over.
Take for example one college friend of mine, let’s call her Lana. For at least five years after college, Lana and I lived no more than twenty minutes apart. And I barely saw her. I would see friends in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. with much more frequency but for some reason, Lana could just not make plans stick. But because of it being a same sex friendship, I didn’t question all the times that she cancelled or said she wanted to make plans but in the same breath announced that she was JUST. SO. BUSY that it probably wouldn’t work out. I was even working on the same block where she lived one day, called to see if she wanted to grab a drink and catch up and she claimed she “would love to, but was just really tired.” I called at 4:30 in the afternoon.
Friendships and Break Ups
If Lana had been a guy? I would have given up on her long ago because it would have been clear that he did not want to expend any time or effort to see me. And then it hit me. Shouldn’t we treat all relationships as if we’re dating the other person? Utilize that saying that’s become a mantra for all women, “he’s just not that into you?” What if…SHE’S just not that into you? And you continue to overlook that truth because of some misguided sense of history that the two of you share? It had been almost five years and I couldn’t even get her to walk outside her apartment to meet me for a coffee. What was I doing? All of a sudden, all of the girl-on-girl action in my life made perfect sense.
The fact is that we all have jobs. And personal lives. Family obligations. And things to attend to unexpectedly at any given
moment. But I begin a friendship with someone because I enjoy his or her company and the friendship continues to develop as we discover common interests and have shared experiences. Just like a romantic relationship. And I like spending time with my friends because otherwise I would not be friends with them, the same way I would not keep dating someone if I was not enjoying the time we spent together.
We all find a way to make time for the people in our lives who matter to us. So it stands to reason that logically it had come time to
“break up” with Lana.
A girl-on-girl breakup is not your traditional breakup and cannot be treated as such. No woman in the world ever wants to be dumped.
(Although Lana’s behavior seemed to indicate otherwise.) In my mind, I had become the partner in the relationship that she was taking advantage of due to my continued understanding of her cancelled plans and paltry excuses. Was I willing to accept being unimportant enough in the friendship that she could always reserve the right to bail if something she deemed better came along? No, I decided I wasn’t. And because I believe the majority of that kind of behavior stems from a self-centered nature, I didn’t make a scene or call her up to dramatically end the friendship. I simply broke up with her in my own mind.
Months and months passed after my revelation. One day her usual round of emails popped up, stating how life was “crazy busy” and she really just had no time for anything, but hoped we could get together for dinner one of these days. I found that I just didn’t have the time to respond. My life is crazy busy too. But don’t get me wrong. I’m still into girl on girl. Just always looking for it to be the right girl.
In keeping with the theme, Danielle answers the Identity 5:
1. What have you accepted in your life that took time, physically or mentally?
I’ve learned that you can’t plan life. Even when you think you’re playing by the rules, life could throw you a big fat curveball and it’s how you react to the unexpected that defines your true character. It takes more than a few curveballs to accept this but once you do, it makes it easier to rise to each challenge.
2. What do you appreciate about yourself and within your life?
I appreciate that I know how to roll with the punches. I live by the philosophy that there is a solution to every problem. I don’t
necessarily have to like the solution but it is always there. And I have the courage to implement the solution even if it’s difficult.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What goals do you still have?
Completely re-inventing my career to make a living after the economic implosion in 2008. Unemployment when you’re smart and capable is a terrifying and frustrating experience. I wallowed briefly, then dusted myself off and began again as the low man on the totem pole in a completely foreign industry. I’m scrappy like that. I still have so many goals to accomplish, high on the list is writing an award-winning screenplay.
4. What is your not-so-perfect way? What imperfections and quirks create your Identity?
I set very high-sometimes too high-expectations for myself and always feel that there’s room for improvement instead of recognizing my achievements. I really need to learn to take time to sit still for a minute here and there. I can be a total control freak about my
5. How would you complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
Ability to appreciate even the simplest moment and be grateful for the experience.
Danielle Sepulveres is the author of LOSING IT: The Semi Scandalous Story of an Ex-Virgin. She currently works on the crew for CBS’s hit show The Good Wife. Her first play HOLD, PLEASE is premiering this summer in New York City’s annual Strawberry One-Act Festival.
www.facebook.com/LOSINGITthebook Twitter handle: @ellesep
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