18 October 2010

Friends: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Ugly

This month a friend of mine, Kelly Valen, will enjoy the debut of her book, The Twisted Sisterhood: Unraveling the Dark Legacy of Female Friendships (Random House). This nonfiction is about relationships women have with one another. Her research was based on a survey of more than 3,000 women and comes complete with some interesting surprises. The Twisted Sisterhood is receiving lots of acclaim already and I wish Kelly the best.

Kelly’s book got me thinking about the girlfriends I’ve had over the years. Mostly good, others kind of bad, and some were, let’s just say ugly.

At age ten, my “best friend” convinced the fifth-grade class to ostracize me. I was teased for being a goody-two-shoes and teacher’s pet. I will never forget the day I walked into the classroom, sat down, and all the kids picked up their desks and moved away from me. I was left sitting at the lone desk in the middle of the room.

At the age of twelve, my two best-friends decided not to be friends with me anymore. Their reasoning? I was “too nice”.

Three different girls tried to snag my boyfriend from my arms. Although, to be fair, only one of them was my friend at the time.

In high school two “friends” ditched me when we were supposed to walk to lunch together. Once again I was left alone. No idea why. But it did force me to make a conscious decision--

I wasn't going to put up with mean girls anymore.

I searched out the nicest girl I could find, introduced myself and asked if I could eat lunch with her. When she said, “Sure.” Lisa became a dear friend that I have cherished for the past thirty years.

My point to this walk down memory lane? I can still remember the mean girls and what they did to me. They taught me important lessons about not hurting people’s feelings, standing up to harassment, and hanging on to true friendship. But honestly? They were not THAT important in the whole scheme of things. Barely a blip on the screen of all the friends I have had in my life.

Seriously, it would take weeks to even begin to discuss all the beautiful sisters, mothers, and readers who love me. And even then I'd only be scratching the surface. My life has been full of women who have brought me joy, companionship, hugs, shared tears, great food, shelter, smiles and laughter.

The mean girls are a few drops in a bucket. My true friends fill it up.

How about you?

Kimberley Troutte
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