Life seems incomplete without a best friend. A BFF is that anchor of life who not only supports you in your bad times but also pushes you to do better. They are the treasure trove of fun, amity, hope and secrets. Friendship, I believe, is a flare that provides the warmth of unconditional companionship. However, sometimes even the strong and pure bond of friendship fails to break the taboos we have internalised. We might value a BFF for their love and support but not trust them when it comes to problems for which we feel they might judge us.
The fear of being scrutinised, criticised and outcasted is so huge, especially women, that they have to think a hundred times before trusting a person. Friendship is considered a strong tool to build sisterhood and fight the patriarchy in our society. But can all women confirm that they trust their BFFs with good to worst secrets of their lives? Can women say that there is not a pinch of fear that makes them think twice before sharing something with their BFFs?
Unfortunately, no. I personally saw how a woman was deserted by her BFF after she shared about having pre-marital sex with a Muslim guy and even taking birth control pills. There are many such instances in which women are judged, even by their BFFs, for their choices. The reason is that the character of a woman takes precedence over her worth and the relationships she shares with others.
So when it comes to sharing secrets with best friends, here are 5 things women don’t open up about, even in front of their BFFs:
Some women might be open about sexual harassment without fearing the consequent victim-blaming and shaming. While speaking up should be the norm, many women do not feel free to do it. They fear the judgement and criticism of their character and validity. It is very common for women to not share incidents of sexual harassment with their parents. But if they share it with their BFFs, they always have this fear that their secret will be leaked and their parents will come to know about it.
Moreover, the stigma around sex further increases the hesitation among women to share something so intimate about themselves with others. Most of the time they don’t have the words to describe their experience and other times they fear being called as ‘vulgar’ for talking ‘dirty’.
Suggested Reading: Why Women Should Stop Taking Friendships For Granted
Sexual health related issues
Even though every woman understands the problems that their kind face due to their biology, no one wants to talk about it openly. Women must deal with many of their problems secretively, even if it costs them their safety or wellbeing. Sometimes, women refrain from explaining certain infections in intimate parts to their BFFs who are either have no knowledge about it or do not care enough. The hesitation in discussing common issues among women is because of the taboo around the intimate parts. Because rarely anyone of us have been taught to discuss our intimate parts openly even with the closest person in our lives.
The shame and lack of knowledge often leaves women feeling helpless as they do not know how to deal with such infections, or are too timid to ask their friends to accompany them to a doctor, does compromising their health.
Domestic violence at hands of parents, husband or in-laws
It is not shocking to say that many women in our society have faced domestic violence- either as a witness or a survivor. But rarely do they share about the ordeal with their BFFs. They firstly fear that if they speak up, they will put the family’s reputation in danger. Women are apprehensive of involving an outsider in a family issue because that might ricochet and give her more pain. Secondly, women are not sure about the reaction they will receive from their BFFs. Some might encourage them to oppose it while others might ask them to be quiet about it. In both cases, the woman facing domestic violence will not receive any kind of support because it is neither easy for her to speak nor be quiet.
Reuniting with a toxic ex
A BFF plays a vital role in warning a woman about the red flags in relationships. They make a woman understand that the person she is dating is toxic and that she deserves better. While some women comply with their BFFs and cut contact with the toxic ex, others continue to communicate behind the back of their BFFs. And when women are actually abused in those toxic relationships, they feel deprived of their BFFs’ support too as they feel guilty for the betrayal.
Certainly, BFFs are not wrong in warning women about toxic relationships, but then no woman should feel isolation due to poor judgements Friendship is all about staying put with each other through thick and thin, isn’t it?
Mental health issues
Friends and families can turn out to be the biggest support system for a person dealing with mental health issues. But this is possible only when a person speaks up and the friends comfort them without peddling taboos around mental health issues. Most of the time, a person dealing with mental health issues finds it difficult to confess. Firstly because their feelings cannot be summed up in a few words and secondly they always fear that their friend might judge or ridicule them. So they end up suffering in silence which later leads to unwanted consequences.
Dear women, try to trust your friendship, rather than being carried away by stereotypes and fear of being shamed. A good BFF will always understand or try to understand the problem or situation you are through and come up with the best solution for you. The forever in BFF has the power to defy any attempt at stereotyping and develop a space where care and support thrive.
Views expressed are the author’s own