This is something I call that thing where a woman does not believe that women and men can be just “friends.” A woman who does the *“girl thing” will become increasingly unhappy if her boyfriend, husband or significant other has friends who are women. A woman who does the “girl thing” will also display varying degrees of hostility toward other women to the point where she is not actually able to form a lasting friendship with members of her own gender due to being in a state of perceived competition with every other woman out there. (Paradoxically, or perhaps hypocritically, the woman who does the girl thing will often declare that she prefers having male friends. Logically, you would think that the woman who does this would avoid having male friendships to avoid “poaching,” someone else’s boyfriend, but no.)
When I was much younger, I very much assumed that this was the default setting! My mother falls into the category of women who do the “girl thing” and as a result would offer “girl thing” social advice which generally indicates that women cannot have female friends (competition!) or male friends (their girlfriend will think you’re trying to steal their boyfriend). Since I am not by nature a social person, and this is something I have to force myself to do because I miss social cues and have trouble presenting myself, this caused me to develop the following social rules:
- If there is a boyfriend/girlfriend binary system, completely ignore the male half of the pair. (This is really easy for me to do as I tend to focus on one person at a time anyway!)
- If a male acquaintance you associate with acquires a girlfriend, immediately cease associating with that person. (This is also not hard to do because more often than not, “the boy thing” is to assume that “the girl thing” is a standard operating procedure due to cultural memes.)
- If a female acquaintance suddenly acquires a boyfriend, reduce contact with that person while also following the first rule. (Again, not hard to do as women with “the girl problem” do not want to really be your friend anyway!)
I have since been told that this is actually a really freaking stupid social strategy!
(If you try to follow this social strategy to avoid “the girl problem,” you basically do not have any friends. You may also be mistaken for someone who has "the girl problem" and you will avoided by women who find "the girl problem" socially immature and kind of freaking stupid. Though this may or may not actually be a problem if you are asocial for one reason or another.)
The woman in question who informed me that I was Doing It Wrong had apparently never perceived or experienced "the girl thing," and informed me that I was actually being kind of a bad friend! Unfortunately, anecdotal evidence seems to support the “girl thing” theory, except in those cases where the woman in question is not a catty twit. As a case example, I have had several male acquaintances who completely stopped associating with me because they now had girlfriends. I am not currently certain if they had done it because they really had had girlfriends with “the girl problem” or if they had simply assumed that “the girl problem” was a general rule/establish fact.
As a result of “the girl thing,” as I’ve observed it, I have been kind of tempted to write some kind of YA dystopian science fiction story about it. In this story, men and women are kind of isolated from each other from birth. They are raised by robots and/or other AI computers, who having misunderstood something pretty essential and as a result believe that humans are by nature almost completely asocial. In this story-society, the only face to face human contact any one person would have for their entire lives would be exactly one live human--their boyfriend or girlfriend. The robots would carefully police every social interaction to ensure that no human interacted with more than one human at a time.
*I call it the girl thing mostly because I think it is really immature and annoying. Also, "that thing where a woman goes apeshit bananas because her significant other has a woman who is his friend," is too long.