According to [clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake], a lot of women have been hurt by other women, and a lot of our mistrust represents a learned behavior. “I tell people trust is earned. Therefore it’s best to ease into relationships—people should have to show you who they are over a period of time in order to have your trust,” she says. There are also different levels of trust. My mother taught us that someone who brings you a bone will carry one as well—in other words, if someone brings you another person’s business, they’ll share yours as well. So while you can trust a talebearer with the diet plan that enabled you to lose ten pounds, common sense says you can’t trust her with the fact that you’re having financial problems. She has an agenda, so let wisdom direct you so your emotions don’t become collateral damage. Just know that anyone who costs you your peace doesn’t deserve to be in your life, so don’t embrace dysfunction!
According to Lake, there are so many issues that have fractured our ability to establish strong trusting relationships with each other—from low self-esteem and misplaced competitiveness, fearing others are going to advance further than we are, to how we handle the various challenges of life that have provoked us to mistrust one another. “We hear about women talking about other women and not wanting other women to succeed, and I think that comes from a place of low self-esteem, but there’s also issues where there’s some man that’s been in the middle or some tense degree of separation because of a blended family,” Lake observes. But as this advocate of limitless possibilities teaches, in every situation there lies an extraordinary approach. “Oftentimes the way another woman treats you has nothing to do with you but everything to do with herself. Now you can make her feel disenfranchised or less worthy because she doesn’t have the right behaviors, or you can love her and lift her up, even if it’s from afar,” Lake concludes. Dr. Sherry also feels that we haven’t been taught to trust and we haven’t been taught what real trust is about. To me these insights represent an opportunity for change.
On the Flip Side…
There are two sides to every story, and I know that in order to have a good friend, you have to know how to be one. This calls for us to possess the same set of values that we expect from others. “One of the traits you have to develop is the honesty to ask yourself: Am I the kind of friend I’d want for someone else? Am I there only when it’s convenient for me? How consistent am I? Am I the person I’d want as a friend during the tough times?” Dr. Sherry says. Clearly there’s a need for us to check ourselves as the best relationships are reciprocal. This is where character is put to the test. “You have to possess the courage to be the friend you need and not fall prey to the mediocrity that exists,” Lake points out. Experts like Dr. Sherry and others also believe that a lot of time we get in our own way because we’re not only afraid of getting to know people; we’re also afraid of people getting to know us—“because there’s a fear of rejection and issues that may emerge, so we wear the mask, too,” she concludes. Again, herein lies another opportunity to know your value and not audition for the approval of others. Moreover, it should encourage you to hold yourself accountable for all the qualities you desire in others.
Still looking for your group of girlfriends? Here are 7 qualities that you must keep in mind.