I had an actual lump in my throat watching the latest episode of Girls. It’s not as dramatic as it sounds, it’s just that there are times when I really feel the show conveys the ups and downs of female friendship so uncannily well, and it’s SO REFRESHING.
Girls ARE mean. Sorry but they are. If you say that your closest friends have never once been mean to you then I don’t think they are as good a friend as you think they are. And it’s totally not a completely bad thing, either.
The whole reason the show has been such a success is because it is in keeping with this new generation of truth-tellers. Well, as much as we can be without revealing too much about ourselves that would make appear too vulnerable to socialise (there’s a line). By and large, we have improved at casually showing our bad sides, writing opinion pieces, posting ugly selfies and saying to the world “go on judge me – I’ll post it anyway”. We let people in to the ‘real us’ a bit more now, and admit silly things on Twitter like that we have ordered pizza because we can’t be bothered to cook and tell people stuff that isn’t particularly classy or chic, but it’s nice because we don’t feel pressured to lie or keep up too many appearances. Facebook is still a bit too fake and playground-y for my liking, hence why I deleted it personally, but that’s a different story.
Honest writing sites like the ThoughtCatalog are booming growing to nearly 400,000 followers on Twitter and some massive advertising deals with a host of writers who are admitting to all sorts of relatable things about themselves: about broken hearts, estranged family members, weird eating habits, spending Valentine’s Day alone, fundamental flaws in their personalities etc. They’ve tapped into a human truth that it is healing to know someone else feel as shit, or shitter than you do.
So this Girls episode, like many of them, struck a chord with me, because it was real.
In a nutshell, the girls go away to a house in the country, get drunk and don’t hold back in telling each other what they really of their friendship group: and the truth really hurts. It clearly hit a chord with many others as lots of journalists and also one Sarah Jessica Parker have had opinions on this episode too, agreeing or disagreeing that girls are/aren’t mean to each other. Most of them are shocked, that girls can be mean sometimes. It’s not that shocking really, I mean Lindsay Lohan told us how it was ten years ago (feeling old) in the original Mean Girls. We laughed it off, but it was based on non-fictional events you guys.
Sarah Jessica Parker told Harper’s Bazaar this: “I like to remember that Carrie and the other women in Sex and the City were really nice to each other” and that it was “more of an innocent time”. The thing is, Sex and the City, for me was simply perfect escapism.
Yes, SATC did remind me of times where my friends and I were having the best experiences, or holidays, or cocktail nights ever. On payday, having some posh beverages, laughing, reminiscing about the good old days and telling each other everything. I have girl friends that I call my best friends who I have known for over half my life and for that I am so grateful to have them – they know everything there is to know. They are amazing and yes we have brilliant times together like lots of girl groups often do. When we’re all out together, we feel like a million dollars.
However, Girls talks about the times on the flip-side of the coin when it isn’t all so perfect. These painful times come with any relationship where you bare all to someone. Your best friends know the ins and outs of ever nook and cranny of your personality, and when everything is stripped back on display: there is no hiding. If you are being a dick, they will tell you very directly that you are being a dick, in between delicate sips of their Pinot Grigio.
And these are the times that you can’t see on Facebook or behind that perfectly filtered Instagram picture. It’s the times where you get too drunk and everything that is bottled up inside comes crashing out. People take sides, people say things that cut to your core, people go too far, and things spiral quickly and ferociously out of control. It’s awkward, and you may have to sit in a taxi in silence and sheepishly climb into bed next to each other and mutter a “goodnight”, before saying a delayed and embarrassed sorry over breakfast.
That is why I loved this episode so much. The spitefulness of the moment when your best friend has done something so unforgivable at the time, or the inward bitterness that comes spitting out, or snide words brewing into a verbal storm is a real thing that exists. It is unpleasant, and often not something that happens regularly, but there is a reason that it happens: friends have to be honest, and these arguments are actually an effort to save the relationship.
Usually you are saying horrible things to try and hurt them because actually you love them so bloody much and you want things to be fixed and you don’t really know how. You also know deep deep down that these words won’t kill the relationship because you know it can survive. But unfortunately things can’t be fixed or change unless something has risen to the surface and is dealt with. True, real friendships are often painful, you will go through times where they will bail on you, see their boyfriend more than you, leave you out by accident, get you a rubbish birthday present or tell you that your outfit sucks. But a friend, a real friend will probably be able to quite easily tear my heart into two, is also the very same friend would do absolutely anything for me. If I wanted to only have a handful of friends who I only saw on nights out or in the most perfect swanky shallow scenarios I could easily do that: but I enjoy the responsibility of having the closest friends in the world who occasionally piss me off to the moon and back, as do I, to them. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.