Women need other women in their lives. We need friends, confidantes and shoulders to cry on. While men are wonderful companions, there is nothing quite like a best girlfriend. Girlfriends can relate to you where men can’t — that "time of month," the latest romantic comedy, how rough it is to buy a swimsuit. But being friends with women doesn’t come without its challenges. Sometimes women don’t think before they speak, and sometimes their words are enough to bring out a different side of you — the side you try never to let escape.
Here are five phrases that women should rethink before saying — or shouldn’t even say at all.
“Here are some clothes that are WAY too big for me.”
It's no secret that women are conscious of their weight (up to 24 million peoplesuffer from eating disorders in the United States alone). Many women compare themselves to what they see in the media and do all they can to achieve that "perfect body." However, statistics show that only 5 percent of American females naturally possess the body type shown in the media. So, when someone takes a jab at your weight, it is normal for you to be affected by it.
Whatever you do, don’t take those comments personally. You never know what mental battle your offender is fighting. She may be battling an eating disorder or depression. She may have self-confidence issues that are affecting her marriage or family life. If an individual says something about your appearance, brush it off. You never know what might be going on behind the scenes.
“When are you having kids?”
After suffering a miscarriage and trying for months to get pregnant, I had a friend excitedly tell me she was pregnant. I was thrilled for her because I knew the joy of carrying a baby, even if it wasn’t for long. However, she then proceeded to tell me God only gives children to those He trusts. I was appalled. I was sick. I wanted to jump on her and pound her face in. I was never so hurt by someone’s comment as I was then.
You never know what a couple is going through when it comes to children. You never know how many times a wife has cried over a negative pregnancy test or another trip to the doctor with no good news. It isn’t anyone's place to ask when a couple is planning on having children.
This is a decision between husband and wife, and others' input shouldn’t matter.
“Oh, so you don’t work?”
Many moms choose to work outside of the home which is wonderful. Many other moms choose to stay at home with their children which is also fabulous. But there seems to be a hidden competition between these two types of moms which is absolutely ridiculous. It doesn’t matter what type of mom you are. If your child is cared for, protected, loved, fed and safe, it doesn’t matter. Don’t make this into an unnecessary competition.
“Your child should be …”
Women compare themselves to one another. Even though most of us try not to, there is always someone we want to be more like. We want to be less stressed like Mary, a better housekeeper like Sue and make cute crafts like Betty. When one woman tells you that, "By now, your child should be talking better, potty trained or able to fold his own clothes," whatever it may be, it can be hurtful. You may put excessive pressure on your child to help him reach that stage.
We often forget that our children are individuals. Your child will do things at his own pace. We need to be accepting of who our children are and give them the means to develop and learn. If you are worried about your child’s development or notice red flags, talk to your pediatrician who can help calm your fears and help you choose the right path for your individual child.
“I’m glad I’m not married to your husband.”
There is a reason you are married to your husband, but he is not perfect, and neither is anyone else's spouse. If another woman says something like this to you, it may be time to evaluate yourself — not be upset with your friend. Have you been complaining to friends and family about your husband? If you are frustrated and upset with your husband, talk to him about it. Complaining about your husband only gives your loved ones a negative portrayal of your spouse, and there is never any reason to talk negatively behind your spouse’s back. Talking negatively about your husband to others may actually cause you to lose trust in your husband, leading you to question his motives or "what he really thinks of you."
If and when you find yourself in a situation where another woman has said something you aren't happy with, don’t let it completely ruin the relationship. Always remember to forgive and forget. Never dwell on the negative.
Courtnie Erickson is a Utah State University graduate and a technology guru.