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Part I: Red Flags In Female Friendships: Listening to Your ‘Spidy Senses’

Have you felt it before? The hair rising on your neck. A whisper in the back of your mind? A nagging feeling? Whatever you call it, however you experience it, it’s real.

In my house we’re big fans of the Marvel Universe. We’ve classified the term for this feeling in the super-hero category and refer to it as, ‘spidy senses.’ Some other terms that also describe it are, red flags, alarm bells or danger signals. A red flag is a literal warning of something dangerous; it’s a sign to get your attention or provoke alert. ‘Spidy senses’ are not as literal, they fall into ‘feelings of consciousness’ that are formed deep inside of us and often, are referred to as intuition.

When your brain makes decisions of any kind, it uses a combination of emotion and logic. This emotion, this intuition is hard-wired in all of us. The butterfly feeling in our stomachs is our nerve cells talking to us. This gut feeling is our ability to feel, know, and understand things without deliberately thinking about them. Our past experiences, the understanding we obtained from them and our existing awareness guides our intuition and is something we use every day.

⁉️So, how do ‘spidy senses’ relate to red flags in female friendships? Let me tell you. When I talk to groups about what positive female friendships, frequently women will tell me things like,

  • “I never know what she says about me when I’m not there.”

  • “I have to tiptoe around her because I just don’t feel like I’ll be accepted for being myself.”

  • “I feel so drained after spending time with her.”

😳 What the what?! TRUTH, baby!

Unfortunately, it can be very hard for women to walk away from female friendships even if they know “she” does not have her best intention.

They didn’t do anything about it because they had a history together or perhaps their kids were still friends. Their ‘spidy senses’ were talking but they weren’t listening or taking action because change is hard. People in romantic relationships break up all the time but to do that in a friendship? Well that’s completely absurd! Because people just don’t talk about that now, do they? 🤷🏻‍♀️

What types of friendship circles do you have? Do the conversations vary depending upon who you are with? No matter your circle, you shouldn’t have to tiptoe. EVER. If that is the case… you are not amongst true friends.

Of course not all friendships are like this. 🚩However, here are some red flags to look for in female friendships to know if you’re being manipulated,

  • She gives you the silent treatment or is passive aggressive if she doesn’t get her way

  • She finds joy in making you feel small by embarrassing you or pointing out your vulnerabilities

  • She’ll bring up old history (mistakes or dark secrets) to make you feel bad

  • She’ll back-track or lie about events that took place even though you both witnessed it together

  • She’ll tell you that you’re overreacting or diminishes your behavior when you tell her how you feel

Your intuition, or your ‘spidy senses’ guide you.

It’s that inner-voice, that you sometimes wish wasn’t there because you know deep in your gut, it’s usually spot on. Intuition is the ability to understand something immediately without the need for conscious reasoning. It’s about the present, not the future or past.

I think gut feelings are our guardian angels.

Are you listening to yours?

A true friend,

  • Respects boundaries

  • Doesn’t judge if you are doing something differently than she is

  • Accepts what you are doing because it’s the right decision for you

No explanation needed.

If you were to walk away from manipulative ‘friends,’ do you think you’d feel worse, or better, than you already do? If you constantly feel like you have to watch your back or don’t fit in... I’ll put it out there now, it’s not the right friendship for you. Walk on.

I’d rather have a smaller circle with fewer friends than a larger circle, surrounded by those who are inauthentic. Because that red flag sis, it’s not just waving to be hospitable. It’s there to save you from drowning.

You already are. It’s time To Be.

P.S. This was Part I, in a 3-post series. Stay tuned for my next blog about letting go of destructive friendship cycles.


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