I've been thinking about my girlfriends ever since watching the latest Real Housewives of New York (RHONY) episode. In the show, there was talk of a girl's weekend in St. Barths, and Aviva was hesitant to go without her husband. The rest of the gang gasped in horror, but I nodded in agreement.
Don't get me wrong, I've been on lots of girl's trips over the years. By the time you get to midlife, you've generally spent a good deal of time hanging out with your female friends, who have gotten you through everything from bad boyfriends to 80s hair. So when did it all change for me?
Introversion and Work Over Girlfriends and Wine
It's hard to pinpoint it, but I'd say the last few trips I finally realized that spending a precious weekend with six or eight women was not fun. It might be because I am an introvert. I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of talking. I enjoy hanging out with each of them individually, or in small groups.
A large group kind of makes me want to go for a long walk on the beach while I gather my energy back, as any introvert will tell you is necessary to do. Of course, if I'm on a girl's weekend, one of my pals would probably follow me out for that walk thinking I wanted company. (Our friends are good that way.)
Another problem? My husband and I work a lot, and we rarely take vacations. So naturally, if I was going to take one at this point, I'd rather do it with him than with my gal pals. In the past, I liked nothing better than hanging out with my girlfriends, a glass of wine in my hand as I listened to them chat about life.
Vacation Time Doesn't Always Equal Bonding
I champion female friendships, and think that women need to continually nurture the relationships they have with their gal pals. But I don't think vacations are necessarily the way to do that. The subject does come up, though, as it did on RHONY whenever there is a group of girls together. "Let do a trip! We should all go somewhere and get away!"
I think women especially need time away from the routine because, let's face it, we're so busy it's ridiculous. A vacation sounds like heaven when you're discussing it with your girlfriends. But when you actually go on the vacation, there can be issues. Here are some I've encountered on past trips:
- Sitting between two friends in a fight where they wanted me to be their messenger. "Tell K I said..." and then K would respond to me with "Tell D I said..." Of course they could both hear each other, but talked through me because they "weren't speaking" to each other.
- A friend who insisted we all go to the beach because she wanted a tan. Did I mention that it was raining? Can you guess that we were laying out while raindrops poured down on us, all in an effort to "keep the peace"?
- A friend who drove off after a fight with another friend, leaving five girls to take a cab back to the hotel.
- A friend who thought that pizza place was still there... except she didn't call ahead of time... and it had been 20 years since she was there. Did I mention that the place was now a crime haven and cabbies wouldn't even drive there?
Enjoying Your Husband's Company
Then there's this crazy thought that sometimes your husband is your best friend. Oh sure, you've got girlfriends. You love seeing your girlfriends and having dinner, coffee, or even just talking on the phone. But vacations? It's not always good for women's friendships.
I suspect this is the real reason Aviva on RHOHY said that she'd like to take her husband Reid along. The rest of the group looked at her like she was crazy, but I get this. Maybe a nice dinner out instead of an entire vacation. What say you, girls?