When you tend to be the primary driver of a group of several women, you start to learn things about women that you may not normally know. One of the things I have discovered is a phenomenon known as “Girl Talk.”
What Girls Think Girl Talk Is
Women are proud of girl talk. They think girl talk is something that guys can’t understand. Girl talk involves talking about traditionally feminine topics (shopping, men, etc.) with other women and talking about them like only women can. Women think girl talk is the following:
A chance for women to bond.
A chance for women to talk about girl issues.
A chance for women to get advice about girl issues from a fellow girl.
That final point is extremely important. When women think they are having “girl talk” they are under the impression that they are getting real, insightful advice from someone that understands their specific needs.
As a male, I guarantee you this is not the case. I’ve listened in on girl talk between women of all walks of life. I’ve heard women provide their friends with their “insightful advice from the female perspective” and I can tell you that “girl talk” may actually be damaging to women. That is because all of the girl talk I have heard has the following in common:
Women are rigidly supportive when another woman is passionate about something.
Women try to imagine what the other woman thinks is best before answering.
Women answer based on what they see as the qualities of the other woman.
This sounds a little complicated, but essentially girl talk is the opposite of objective advice/support/analysis. When a woman asks advice in a girl talk type of way, the response she gets is almost always supportive, even if the choice itself is a bad choice.
When the woman thinks it’s a bad idea, the closest she’ll come to disagreeing is to say “Yeah, that’s a great idea. Although this idea is okay, but that idea you just said is great too!” That’s not good advice. That’s bad advice. That’s being afraid to give advice and supporting anyway.
Examples of Girl Talk
My favorite example comes from a close friend of mine. She has a wonderful body but grew up with a conservative family and dressed like a poor hippie. All of her clothes were trashy, dirty and oversized. They made her look overweight and masculine. Whenever she would go shopping with her girlfriends, she would hold up a bunch of clothes, and her friends would always point out the clothes that looked like the style she already wore the most. She came to believe that those clothes were the ones that looked best on her.
She and I bet on a baseball game. She lost. As punishment for losing she had to try on clothes that I picked out for her. I picked out regular clothes in a size small (she’s a size small, but wore a size M or L). She claimed they wouldn’t fit. They fit perfectly. She truly believed she was a size medium because that’s the size her friends used to support. She also always believed that hippie clothes were the only ones that looked good on her. I was picking out regular clothes from Aeropostle. She looked amazing, and she could tell she looked amazing. The first thing she said to me:
“Wow, I can’t believe I’ve been wearing all of those clothes for the past 25 years. I feel like an idiot.” Her friends supporting her clothing choices had her regretting the first 25 years of her life.
Girl talk can actually be more dangerous to someone’s social life as well. I recall hearing one of my female friends discussing her relationship with another female friend. At one point she said “I have a good idea. Maybe I should start a MySpace account using another woman’s picture and flirt with him. Then if he flirts back I know he’s not the one.”
Dear ladies: That is a terrible idea.
Yet the other female friend – who you could visibly see thought it was a bad idea – could see how passionate the first friend was, and decided to support her anyway, because that’s what girls talk is. She started the MySpace account, got caught and dumped within one week. Had she asked me – or any other friend that doesn’t do “girl talk” with her – she wouldn’t have made such an obviously bad idea.
Girl Talk is not necessarily the act of one woman discussing female topics with another woman. Anyone can give good advice, just as anyone can give bad advice, and gender has nothing to do with it. However, when women decide to purposely have “girl talk” with each other, it is almost always unwaveringly supportive, no matter how bad an idea or poor a choice it is.
Women bonding with each other is important, but always remember that the advice you give is the advice they take. Try to look at everything your friends say as objectively as possible, and make sure that you are only supporting truly good ideas.