All through life women have friends, nursery school, playgroups, senior school, in our workplaces and in the community. Women can be a wonderful comfort as we go through different stages of life, providing advice, support and love. The sort of friend who appears with a hot meal when you have flu; or drops off some eggs, or a cabbage, because she ‘had too many’. There are the angels; like those who take your children for an hour in a moment of kindness because they know you are stressed. I have had many beautiful women friends and still do. They are genuinely good, with more than generous ways; they also have generous hearts they give without a thought and try to help build up, not tear down.
Yet women can also be purely toxic too. The type of woman who stirs up trouble in a devious way is the worst. I call them the ‘acid droppers’, they give small but untrue snippets of information to others about you. Then they wait and see what the reaction is. If they can fan the flames they do it. So you find yourself suddenly on the ‘outer’ with friends shunning you due to the false information, and yes it happened to me, until I fought back tooth and nail.
This can be very hurtful. Sometimes women are unhappy with their lives, they feel inadequate or not as confident as you are. Even though the confidence we show may be just bravado. I fake it until I believe it myself, and frequently feel unsure of myself, but behave as if I am fine. Acting like I am without a care when in fact I am like a jelly shaking on the inside.
A group of women can be the most dangerous; they feed off the others like hungry sharks, a recipe for disaster. “Let’s show them how this should be run.” “Let’s take them down a peg or two”; they have battle cries that are chilling, and destructive. A committee is the most dangerous and lethal combination, women with some power, and power in the wrong hands is likely to inflict pain for someone. I have watched them and seen the results. A whisper campaign and some poor unsuspecting friends are left wounded. It is why I hate some committees, and other groups of women who band together.
Sports clubs, tennis clubs, social clubs, they all get their share of the good the bad and the toxic. The good are there to make it work, the bad are there merely to show how incompetent the others are! To put a spanner in the works, to drag out obscure rules and reasons to be rigidly abiding by them. I like real human beings, people who can laugh at life, and realise the rules can be gently eased sometimes.
The exception is a shining light though. Women who actively help other women, who take in battered wives, protect their children and fight battles against the worst type of bullies. They are the true heroines. One of my friends, visits a sick homebound invalid, helps at a school, and goes to a nursing home to assist each week, she does not tell anyone she just does it. I know who I would rather call a friend and it is not that committee member spouting endless rules and guidelines.