Tuesday, February 03, 2009

women and friendship

One of the things I have been thinking about a lot lately is the fact that I don't have friends here in WY. This leads to the general subject of women and our generally social nature. Yes, even those of us who feign disdain of society and such in general.

Women are not like men in their need for friends. You will never see a man complaining that his BFF broke up with him. No. Men seem blissfully unaware of the status of their friendships and can pick up and leave off with other male friends without a thought. Unless a friend really crosses some line (and even then sometimes) men don't stop being friends. And it seems that men don't obsess about things like not having a social life outside of work. They go with the flow. They are fine as a lone hunter.

Women, on the other hand are more symbiotic. They NEED friends. Having friends keeps them going. Having friends is the reason that they care about their wardrobe and their home decor. Think about it for a minute? Does your DH notice your new bag (before he sees the bank statement)? Are you impressing him with your new shoes? No. Women are constantly working within the female half of our social structure.

So, being left out of it for any significant period leaves us floundering. And I am so there right now. I need a friend to go places with. To have tea with. To swap hijabs with. **sigh** But I just don't fit in with women here in WY. I could blame the bias they have against Muslims... But it goes deeper than that. I'm just different fundamentally. I don't fit in here. WY is a very closed social structure, and I know that other people not from here must experience it too.

I guess I just I'm just saying think about it. I hope you are all grateful for the friends you have, because being cut off is a struggle.

16 comments:

Mona said...

I know how you feel. When I first got here, the first 2 years were so lonely. I had no girl friends. :(

Umm Nassim said...

Let me tell you...friendships are a curious thing indeed. When I came to the US ten years ago I was disillusioned...but now I truly found a handful of nice friends I can count on in good and in bad times...mostly in food times :-) And I have a great cyber friend. I must admit, I live in an open, multi-cultural community...today I had coffee with a Serbian, a Canadian/Jewish, a Japanese mom and my "bestest" American friend - truly a blessing. I don't think my children even realize that they live in such a great community - to them it's just "normal" and I hate to break it to them that it could just be a little different!

Ruqayyah said...

Asalaam Alaikum Sis,

I am sorry to hear that you are having a rough time. I was for many year without any really close friends. I think it was for a combination of reasons, my untreated bipolar disorder, a lot of moving around, and just in general isolating myself. Alhamdulilah, I now have a close circle of girl friends who have been there for me in the good and the bad. THank you for the reminder to thank Allah for this blessing. Insha'Allah you will at find some friendships of your own, and if not at least online acquaintances are something.

Ruqayyah

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about this same thing last night and the lyrics of the song "LOnesome Looser" came to mind. Only difference is I've stopped trying. I don't like that I've become this way. As a muslim mother I feel I have a great responsibility to represent the community and to make things better for my children. The area I live in is very clickish and it's hard to get to know people. My family and I went through a very difficult experience. Things have turned out wonderfully, Alhamdulilah, but I feel even more disconnected now. I'm going to be really judgemental but people are so shallow and the suburban obsession with perfection blows my mind. Well here I am ranting on your blog. My apologies - maybe we just have to find ways to belong on our own terms. The lonliness is killing me. Too bad we live a time zone apart. We would probably be great friends.

always in the kitchen said...

I hear you! In this part of the country I always hear the "you're not from around here,are you" conversation killer if there ever was such a statement......

Bastawisi said...

the say women involved in inter-relationships are socially out casted, that's why in the first place they inter marry.

Umm Seif 'n Ali said...

I like this article a lot..Let me admit first that I’m impressed by your analysis to men’s concept of friendship. YOU ARE 100% RIGHT ..but trust me if men’s friendship did happen its much stronger than that of women and last A LOT longer.No wonder why the one singing”I’ll be there for you when the rain starts to fall”is a male singer ..LOL.and I guess that the reason behind this is the absence of these two terms in men’s world that is “envy ‘n jealousy” ..Men’s are much kinder I think “believe it or not ,the one stating this is a woman herself”;)..Actually you rarely find a man hating or disliking another for no reason but coz that other man looks more alluring or superior in social or financial status…but unfortunately you find this do happen A LOT in women’s communities .In eastern societies,let me be more precise and say “Egyptian” societies..If a woman is struggling with a personal issue she would better dig a tunnel , hide in it and never show up again till she s done with that issue” LOL. Seriously a woman in distress better not talk about her sufferings even to her closest friend coz 99 % this so called friend will try to sooth her with phrases of sympathy like”ya haraaam….ya 3eeeeeeny”which is equivalent to “ohhh poor”,then not long after this she ‘ll search for the nearest opportunity to press hard on her wound and enjoy mercilessly the look of pain on the woman’s face. Sometimes a question like”How is this issue?!!”hurts especially when you are already over that issue and don’t want even to remember it .Men rarely act that mean .Besides women quarrels last for ages “most probably from cradle to grave”LOL .Men tends to forget ‘n forgive more easily.I’m saying this and I ‘m often described as a sociable , friendly person and I get used to people SOOO easily.But infact I’m very picky and cautious regarding whom I can call “REAL FRIENDS”.I don’t want to make the picture so gloomy.still good women friends do exist .I read a lot for some Muslim women bloggers here and i kept saying"oh..this wonderful woman makes one hell of a good friend."..And still I can proudly say that I have friendships as old as the pyramids.I have a lots of friends to visit, do shopping with, laugh for hours on the phone and recall the sweet memories .but in time of distress “that’s another issue” the one I can really "trust" is my only sister “though she s 7 years younger “but she is so mature ,broad minded and makes one hell of a “REAL”good friend at least I can say that she ' ll never rub my already healed wounds and brings it back to bleeding..good sisters are a bless.I bet you don’t have a sis.But anyways loneliness is sometimes a bless if nobody around you is really trustworthy.Its the quality of friends which matters not the quantity. So enjoy your life the way it is now and find your relief “even temporarily” in your hubby and kids.soon your eldest gal will make a real true friend for you Inshallah.Years just fly dun worry.;) ..Poor me,I don’t have a baby girl…now rolling on the floor weeping…LOL
BTW I care a lot for my home d├ęcor but not necessarily for friends coming by..I do it for my hubby ‘n kids to enjoy a nice , clutter free ,cozy home and for myself coz I’m a stay at home mom and having a messy home all the time makes the one really prone to depression. I care also for my looks,my weight ‘n my wardrobe but for my own self esteem.Besides,(IMHO)I think that “Look what I have bought !!“somehow isn’t an Islamic behavior,that what my dad taught me ages ago. So if I ‘m living all alone like Robinson Crusoe ,I’ll act the same way I guess ;). LOL..

Hope everything is doing great with you Inshallah…God bless you and your family..:)

Yomna

The Cairo Wife said...

I am so out of the loop--what is a BFF? I read it everywhere and have NO idea what it is...sigh

Anonymous said...

Salaam Alaikum,

I live down the street from you and feel the same way - funny how we don't hang. I think in smaller communities like ours people stick to their own ethnic cliques. I know for myself, I find it too hard to organize time to hang with people between work and family, but it is a bummer my only socialization comes from non-muslims. Most Muslim ladies are restricted when they can go out and such, so getting together with the Muslims can be a challenge. Plus I don't jive with them either for the most part.

You are the busiest person I know, and you blog too. You never cease to amaze me. I would think you wouldn't have time for friends. I am overwhelmed with one job and two kids! I am glad I tripped across your blog. I was wondering how you were doing.

Hijabi Apprentice said...

@ Cairo Wife: BFF = best friend forever.

Umm Layla: I don't have a ton of friends in the city I live in either. I usually have to go visiting in Seattle which is about 23 miles away to hang with someone. I don't have anyone here I feel comfortable enough with just to call and say hey let's go shopping/movies/bookstore. Well I have my sister in laws but they are busy with school and work. I'm making baby steps at being more social. I'm a bit shy. Alhamdulillah for my friends I've made through blogging and different online communities.

Umm_Ibraheem said...

I hear you. I moved to CT in 2007 and I have yet to make any Muslim friends. They hide or something. I tried going to the masjid hoping to meet someone and NADA. The sisters only appear on friday and during Ramadan. During the few times I have started a conversation the moment they realize I am hispanic they stop talking to me. Why you may ask? Because they assumed that I was a non -muslim dating a muslim man and then married him and later converted.

Reality. Became Muslim in April 06. Started looking to get married September 06 (its hard being the only muslim in your LIFE, i had no muslim friends either). MEt and married the hubby within 5 days of meeting the man in December. Any who am glad I found your blog its awesome!

Anonymous said...

Hello,
Interesting blog. I am a girl living in England and too think that friends (real ones-hard to find i know) but make life worth living, we are social beings so need frieNds as you said. I grew up as an only child so friendships are always important to me. They have let me down in the past i won't deny but whatever happens i look for new and (better) ones and always have a glow when i think of my friends. You share things, spend time together, swop ideas, maybe travel and are there for each other in good times and in bad. Feel free to email me if you want, you or any other woman out there who needs a friend.

Bye!!

Shameme

Anonymous said...

Ohh some potential friend i am...i never left my email address!!. It's shameme.adams@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I have actually noticed the opposite with my Egyptian husband his friends is his life.... and becomes very depressed when he has none. He spends almost everyday with them...

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Anonymous said...

Oh I am so glad to know that I am not the only one feeling so lonely... Do not get me wrong it just that I am not the only one with this problem... I am polish revert married to Egyptian man and I feel so bad because of Egyptian women and Arab in general because they r polite only in the face of their husbands or men in general. We live in Dubai and here Muslim Arab women they do not care about that I become Muslim but they always ask from where I am what is my edycation what is my husband education and if I like Dubai. Of course I do not like Dubai we r here because of money not anything else and for sure not for community here... And we visit Egypt every year and I hate Egyptian women too they are so arrogant I said one time to one who seemed openminded and who said that she knows that Arabs acting badly that I feel that I so different from one Egyptian sister from my husband I said it to wife of brother of my husband and I said that I hate old fashioned thinking so next day just before I left Egypt she send to me her two daughters and they said that everyone likes to talk with this sis of my husband about life. It was like attac without anything just came to say that. So stupid... I really do not want to be involved with any borned Muslims