In her new book, Kelly Valen dives takes a look at why for some women "friends" can actually do terrible damage and leave only hurtful memories.
From high school to the work force, Valen researched why well over half of women enter into friendships with other women with distrust and what effect that can have on their life.
Read an excerpt of the book below, and head to the "GMA" Library for more good reads.
There is a kind of quilt called a friendship quilt, but I imagine all of mine, no matter what their pattern, are emblems of female friendship, that essential thread that has so often kept the pieces of my own life together, and from time to time kept me from falling apart.
Before we sully ourselves with the darker aspects of our relationships, I want to make sure we're keeping our eye on the prize by underscoring a fundamental but critical point: Most of us appear to value and adore our women like nothing else.
And that would include me. By far, the most unsettling bits of criticism hurled my way have stemmed from accusations that I must hate women or hate myself, probably suffered an intimacy-starved childhood, or never experienced females at their best. None of that is true. The joys of female intimacy swaddled me straight out of the gate, actually, and have always remained apparent. Amazing men have touched my life, and I often have an easier initial rapport with guys, but my most compelling ties, notwithstanding the struggles, have been with women.
Take my grandmothers, two of whom lived in the house next door to me throughout my entire Minnesota childhood. For a developing girl to have enjoyed such supportive, generous, and low-drama role models—well, we should all be so lucky. These were women of strength, authenticity, and grace, the real McCoys. Part of their gift to me growing up was about blood ties, sure, but much of it was plain old gender. They lifted, pushed, and pulled all the girls and women in their orbit up, maybe because it's just what women did back then. Through years of nothing more extraordinary than random chitchat, heated games of gin rummy and hide the thimble, intense baking and jam-making sessions, and quiet reading side by side, they drew me in and showed me that, ultimately, we could count on our women. They were my safety zone, my go-to counsel, my Giving Trees, always available with a patient ear and unilateral no questions asked, no strings attached, no guilt involved brand of support—the kind a lot of developing girls out there could use. I had loving parents, four siblings, an attention-starved dog on a chain, a true saint for a grandpa, and plenty of kids in the neighborhood to draw on, but as anyone from that era can attest, you could usually find me next door with the ladies.