I like to watch grown woman fight on TV. I love it, actually. I’m talking about The Real Housewives franchise, of course, where the arguments are verbal battles of wit and no one actually gets physically hurt. While people sometimes think my reality TV addiction is weird, I know it’s not. At its core, this franchise is about female friendships – the petty fights, the actual fights, the misunderstandings, the loyalty and the love. These crazy wealthy (and sometimes just plain crazy) ladies have taught me more about being a good friend than anything else.
Your twenties are a pretty trying time and nothing illustrates this more than the way your friendships change. At 26, my best friends are not the same people I would give that title to at 20. When I think about the people that I’ve loved and lost over the course of this insane decade, it’s not the boys that I focus on (although there have been some of those, too). It’s the girls in my life, the ones who are there to talk TV obsessions and, okay, boy problems over glasses of wine at hipster bars. The housewives do the exact same thing, although in their case, having more money really does mean having more problems, so their conversations are a little different.
What the housewives do so well is calling out each other when they’ve been a tiny bit hurt or full-on betrayed. Recently, I told a good friend that she had really hurt me. She started a nonsensical fight and I followed in my beloved housewives’ footsteps and told her exactly how I felt. It didn’t change anything – we’re not on speaking terms anymore – but it did feel like the right thing to do. Who knew that women on a reality show were on to something?
No matter what city these ladies live in – the O.C., Beverly Hills, NYC – they can be BFFs with someone one day and total enemies the next. The recent BH season finds once so-close-they-were-like-sisters Kyle Richards and Lisa Vanderpump meeting for lunch once again.
These women know that sometimes, you can forget the tension and just have fun. Sometimes you can forgive each other and stay friends. Other times you need to move on. They’ve taught me when to walk away and what friendships are worth fighting for. It’s a lesson that I’ll have to learn again and again as the years pass and our lives become even more complicated than they are now. All friends have little hiccups that are merely annoying, like rescheduled dinner dates, or bigger problems that are insulting, like always missing your birthday party. The Real Housewives have taught me the difference between a good enough friend and a friend that you would consider family. So I’ll keep watching, reading between the lines of the designer shopping sprees and lavish Vegas vacations, waiting for the wisdom that is always there, if you look close enough.