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Why Talking About Your Friends Is Actually Normal

The Case For Talking About Your Friends Behind Their Back

What About Your Friends?

Your girlfriends, sisters, ride or dies. Your circle. The intimate group of people you've chosen as family. On the surface, especially on social media, we see these tight-knit groupings of women all the time. They're at brunch, on vacation, shopping together, or posing it up for the 'gram. Beyond that, they are the group of friends that are unequivocally there for each other, the highlight reel on social media doesn't touch the depths of this kind of friendship.


These circles are not peaches and cream. Being in a close circle, I've experienced the ebbs and flows that occur within friend groups. The real moments that cannot be captured in a TV show, although the depictions in Insecure come close. Adult female friendships are complicated, especially within a group. While everyone is friends all together, each person has their relationship with one another. The dynamic of each bond will vary. We see this in shows like Insecure. Molly, Tiffany, and Kelli are Issa's girls, but Molly is her BFF. She's going to her first when it's time to stalk her new guy who's ghosted her, just like you'd go to your best friend with a ridiculous endeavor that she'll hastily oblige.

I think many women know where they stand within their circle. It's not to say that there is a pecking order, it means that you understand how everyone feels about you. While it's all love, like you'd turn to a particular friend for one thing, the same goes for your girls. Everyone is close, but there are levels of closeness.

This intermixture is not a bad thing because every person in your life has their place.

Women are discursive. We like to talk a lot. The growth of blooming friendships rested on many verbal exchanges as you realize how much you have in common. I can recall spending countless hours on the phone talking to my gal-pals about any and everything as a teenager. Today when we meet up, the room is full of love and laughter centered around discourse. As we get older though, the nature of our conversations speaks on the friendship's foundation and growth, but one thing that remains the same is the lighthearted chats and belly laughs.

The saying is true, "We all have that one friend," however not in the same context. But we do have that one friend to call as soon as we get good news, that one friend whose house we can show up unannounced, that one friend who is down to put on all black and roll up with you on your man when he acting different. And even that one friend that we vent to, even about our other friends.

There is this unspoken custom that is hardly brought up but does occur. We talk about our friends.

Most people's minds will go to the negative, however there is a thin line between venting and gossiping. At times our friends annoy us. Maybe there was a misunderstanding or something they said. Talking about it with a mutual friend will help you blow off little frustration before you address the matter. Then the big blow ups can affect everyone. The ones not seeing eye to eye are going to talk about the problem, sometimes to the same friend. Getting that person's perspective can be healthy because they know you and the other friend, so they'll assess the situation from a neutral ground and be able to offer personal advice.

This isn't a case of you throwing your friend in the dirt, but expressing how you feel, your anger or disappointment.

Some things you don't mean come up but that comes from a place of hurt. In an ideal world, we'd be able to confront the issue as soon as possible, that is the better option, but it's not realistic. We like to think that these situations should only remain with those involved and sometimes it should. Not everyone in the group has to be brought in, because as grown women, we are capable of settling things ourselves. However, we work off emotion, and when you mix that with connection and history, sometimes it means taking a step back to evaluate how to move forward. Discussing it outside of that person but within your circle can help you realize if you want to rectify or not.

We talk about those close to us not in a deceptive way but because of frustration.

It's a no shade, no foul. If you find yourself continually talking about the same friend, are you their friend? Some important questions need to be addressed about why they're your frequent topic of discussion. To the outsider it's shady, which is it is. But it's also a revelation that frequencies aren't aligning or that there is a toxic person in the group (sometimes that person is you).

One rule many expect of their friends is that what is discussed stays between those a part of the conversation. This secrecy is crucial for trust. Your friend should not doubt that personal things they've confided in you will be talked about with your other gals. Secrets are meant to be kept between who they're shared with. Sometimes we can get carried away in conversation and say something we shouldn't. It's not intentional, maybe you assume the friend knows already, or you're used to sharing on a regular basis and keeping them in the loop. But just because everyone is close doesn't mean everything is known between each other.

Knowing what to share and what is off limits is essential.

Don't deny that this doesn't happen within your circle. Everyone can be as tight as double-knit rope but talking about one another is inescapable of any friendship. It's the nature of these conversations that determine what is right or wrong. It isn't shit talking or lousy speech, it's discussion that will not be taken seriously or held against your friend.

It's comical - Your friend kissed a total stranger at the bar after one too many cocktails.

It's not serious - Your friend isn't the best cook.

It's exciting news - Your friend just landed a new job.

It's necessary - Your friend is having a hard time with a family matter.

If you're someone who thinks this is a form of betrayal or shade, then you don't understand how circles work. As a friend, your expectations may be too high. These people are your tribe, the people you know and trust the most. What they say about you when you're not there is either light, funny, or a matter that needs to be discussed. It happens. You should have the confidence and understanding for what comes out their mouth is not of ill intent.

A rule of thumb: to receive sincerity is to practice what you expect from your friends.

As we get older, the bonds of your circle are tested more than when everyone was schoolgirls still figuring themselves out. Now is where the validity of friendships shows its true colors. If you have to question the closest people to you or vice versa, then maybe it is telling you something you didn't know before. One thing to remember is with solid friendships there should be no doubt.

Featured image by Getty Images

xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have a personal essay that you'd like to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at submissions@xonecole.com.

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