Whenever I go out to lunch or dinner with my group of girlfriends, they talk and gossip about others. It makes me uncomfortable. I feel that the competitiveness between the women gets in the way of friendships. How can I find real friendships?
Great question, thank you for posting!
A former client of mine worked through a very similar issue and turned it into a surprisingly neat “win-win” for herself and others. (I checked with her before typing this, by the way, and she happily gave permission to share her story.)
Negativity sucks more out of us than we realize, doesn’t it? Although the greatest spiritual sages have warned us about their toxicity for thousands of years, gossip and complaining still seem to be not just a habit but a default setting in western culture, from our cafe conversations to the public discourse of politicians and national news media.
What at least one other fabulous and successful woman discovered was that once she really identified that crummy feeling that negativity sparked in herself, she was able to quickly choose to NOT be a part of those conversations. She just did not “bite” when the toxic bait was presented, and simply changed the subject or offered a more compassionate or productive perspective. She also led conversations with more positive –or personal — original subject matter.
Apart from her feeling so much better in general, a very fun surprise was how some friends noticed the change and privately asked her what “had she been doing” and how they might join in that shift. A conscientious “no B.S.” diet and a dose of honest, vulnerable sharing seemed to make some existing friendships more “real” than ever before.
I must imagine that “uncomfortable” feeling you experience is not yours alone, although your girlfriends may not be as aware of it yet. How can you help lead them out of it?
If you don’t enjoy the company of these women, then I would begin to distance myself from them and fill your social time with finding things you love to do. In doing this you will naturally come adross like minded people and eventually open yourself up to new relationships. If you have things in common with these friends and like aspects of the relationship, I would focus on those things and maybe introduce to them another way of “relating” rather than gossiping. Make a rule to not talk about others, especially in their absence. Every day is a great day to become a Leader for Good.
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