We want the best for our girlfriends. And when we see someone we love going down a path we “know” is not the right one for them, we generally want to jump in and save them from themselves.
However, as Girlfriend Guru JENNIFER HALL points out, that is the last thing we should do. We are girlfriends, not life police. Our friends need our support and friendship most when they make dramatic changes. How do you keep from being judgmental about your friends’ choices?
I’m going to try very hard to impart some well-meaning Girlfriend advice without sounding preachy. I hope you will bear with me.
We’ve all heard the horror stories about how spiteful and vindictive women can be, unfortunately, to their fellow women. Perhaps you’ve even been a victim of, or participated in, such behavior.
These things are not OK.
I feel inspired to write about this during this festive time of year in the hopes that your hearts will be open to it.
We women can gain either strength OR weakness from each other. It should ONLY be strength. A very important component of friendship is acceptance. This means we should not judge one another.
Your girlfriend doesn’t parent the same way you do? So what? The new friend you made in PTA isn’t a good housekeeper? Big deal. Your best friend from high school loves tattoos and you don’t? To each their own. Your college roommate has decided to quit her job in order to “find herself”? Good for her!
Something bigger than mere personality or temperament differences? Perhaps fundamental value, moral, religious or political views? Still, no judgment is necessary.
The thing is, we can all learn from each other. In fact, we’re meant to. Being exposed to different ideas, lifestyles and beliefs is good for us. And you can love a friend who is vastly different from you just as much as one with whom you have a myriad things in common.
This should also be extended to major life changes—even when a friend makes questionable choices. You can feel how you feel about those things, but your number one job as a good girlfriend is to simply be there. Listen, support, encourage, and advise when asked. But even when giving advice to your friend, it should not be laced with judgment.
This is so hard to do! It takes practice. Keeping in mind that no one is perfect and each of us has issues and reasons for the way we are and the things we do will help.
Do you want to be judged? My guess is no. So don’t do it. On the other hand, don’t beat yourself up if you slip and find yourself wearing your judgey pants. Shake it off and tweek your perspective, reminding yourself of the kind of friend you want to be.
I guarantee you will become a better friend if you can set your judgments aside.
JENNIFER HALL is a SAHM of a daughter and a son, married to a diabetic on dialysis. She enjoys knitting, scrapbooking, reading, and TV. She’s visually impaired and describes herself as anxious, traumatized, dorky, funny, real, and says her “life is a roller coaster and I’m blogging my way through it all!” As an only child, her Girlfriends are like sisters to her. She believes in learning, growing, living, loving, and laughing. She is grateful.
What choices have you found easy to accept? What decisions have your friends made that were much more difficult to think about in a bias-free way? How do you support your girlfriends even when they make choices you’re not sure are the right ones?
Jennifer is one of our gorgeous, great Girlfriend Gurus – which means she shares her girlfriend insights and inspiration here on Girlfriendology every month. Want to join her and the dozens of other Girlfriend Gurus who we love to feature on Girlfriendology? (Visit Girlfriend Gurus.) Here’s another great blog post by Jennifer: Finding Mom Friends and Make time for YOU, Plan a GNO / Girl’s Night Out!
Other friendship girlfriend advice:
- Supporting girlfriends through unconventional decisions
- Are your social media girlfriends real friends?
- Girlfriend advice for Step-Moms
- It takes a village – women supporting women