Women scare me!
November 5, 2010 12:16 PM   Subscribe

Dear metafilter. I am a girl who doesn't like women, and has always been most comfortable around men. Help me to make female friends!

I'm a heterosexual female that is usually pretty uncomfortable around women. I've always really despised things I found "girly", like small talk, gossip, and other "girly" things. I've always taken an interest in things that are more male-oriented, and have always been most comfortable around men.

As far back as kindergarten I can remember having more long-term male friends. Now, almost all the people I talk to now are men and I find they're the friends I care about the most. I have a few female friends but they never get as deep and it's almost like they matter less to me (I know, horrible).

Female-dominated settings kinda even scare me a little- I feel like I'm constantly being judged and that I don't fit in. When I'm around men I feel like I can relax and be confident. I've never been all that talkative and I feel like with men I don't always have to be chattering about something. I don't know, male settings are just inherently more relaxing for me.

Recently, I've gone off to college and live in a female dorm and don't really know how to cope. I feel like all my social skills are futile- like the ones I used to make male friends don't apply to girls and I don't know how to start.

How do I start liking hanging around my female counterparts? How do I make long-term female friendships, and value them like I value my male friends?

It's getting lonely metafilter, help!
posted by pyrom to Human Relations (34 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
There are other women, probably even in your dorm, who are like you and do not fulfill the stereotype you've described. Maybe try setting up a dorm group to do some of your favorite "male-oriented" activities - that will probably smoke out any like-minded ladies.
posted by janell at 12:24 PM on November 5, 2010 [10 favorites]

Honestly, the way I learned to have female friends was when I went off to college, and they stuck me on an all -female floor. Totally against my will. I was miserable for several months. I complained bitterly about how on the housing preference form there was no way to exclude being on an all-female floor- I would have if I could have.

And then-- I got over it. I still get together with several of the awesome women I lived with that year. And I've made bunches of other female friends since! Note that I never liked most of the people on that floor, but the ones I did like are friends for life.

So, I think this problem will fix itself in due time. You're capable of being social, and you will find women who want to socialize the way you like to. Just make sure you keep seeking them out. Do activities you enjoy, do them publicly in the dorm, invite your dormmates to come along. You probably always will have more male friends than female, but well, women are people too and your skillset for talking to them really shouldn't be significantly different. You just need to build your confidence about it, and you're in a situation where you really have no choice.
posted by nat at 12:25 PM on November 5, 2010

I've always been the girl in the garage with the blokes at parties, tinkering under the bonnet of a car. Sitting inside with the women discussing mascara brands bored me to tears.

My best friends are like me. They too are the ones likely to be under the bonnet, sorry, hood of a car instead of inside with the girly girls.

You need to find women who are like you. HOW you do that, I have no idea. Start a club of some sort?
posted by malibustacey9999 at 12:25 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

First stop thinking of women as "girls."

I've never liked "girly" things either; wedding/baby showers, babies, relationship talk, wedding plans, "crafting", shopping comparisons, etc. The best way I found to avoid that brain-erasing crap was to associate with women; that is, the adult version of the XX chromosome.

Maybe your female counterparts are still girls. Find the XXers who are interested in what's going on in the word, who vote, who are gainfully employed or self-employed, who have interesting and thought-provoking things to say. They're out there. Hell, I'm out there, but I'm way over here.
Start hanging out with brainier people. You do women in general a disservice by thinking "they're" not as interesting as men. Oh, lord....
posted by BostonTerrier at 12:27 PM on November 5, 2010 [10 favorites]

You can start by not thinking of yourself as unique in 'disliking girly things.' There are many women like you in that regard, and many more who enjoy a mix of activities that are portrayed as femine, masculine or rlatively gender-neutral. There women who enjoy mostly 'girly' activities, and they can still be plenty of fun.

However, women who are fun to be with will avoid you because you radiate contempt for them, and who needs that? They will notice you preferring male company and talking about how you are special and different from them.

I can't figure out links on my smartphone, but there have been a couple of questions on these lines in the archives. Those answers should help you, too. But start with not thinking of yourself as so incredibly different from all of the 3 billion plus girls and women on this planet, including your dormmates, and that will be a good start.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 12:30 PM on November 5, 2010 [31 favorites]

Men and women are not different species. The skills you learned to make friends with men will also work with women -- unless the primarily skill you use to make friends with men is, "Women suck! Ha ha! I'm not like those other bitches!"

I expect you will get dozens of answers from women on metafilter who say, "I had that problem too," and the truth is that high school, in particular, can be difficult for intelligent and passionate women, because popular in high school tends to reward superficial, "mean-girl" qualities and punish qualities that stand you in better stead the rest of your life. This, for instance: "I feel like I'm constantly being judged and that I don't fit in." was probably true in high school. It's a very judgy place and almost nobody feels like they fit in. (What a horrible thing, though, to "fit in" to a group of immature, emotional, hormonal adolescents ... it's really not a group we should aspire to fit in with. Those new commercials that say, "Just because you're a parent doesn't mean you have to be lame" or whatever are ALL ABOUT convincing full grown adults with children of their own that they should try to "fit in" to a high school conception of life -- horrifying!)

Let go of your preconceptions of what women like -- many women do like at least some "girly" things, whatever you think those are (apparently pettiness, from your example -- do you really think men don't engage in small talk and gossip?), but many of those same women are shouting obscenities at the football refs every Sunday. It's okay to like pretty shoes AND extreme kayaking. In fact, a women's-only dorm is an excellent place to learn these lessons, where you will meet many other women who are focused on academics, many women in leadership roles within the dorm, many women in awesome extracurriculars, and you will almost be forced to come to know them as PEOPLE, not scary creatures with boobs.

As for small talk. My theory is that 90% of humanity feels stupid at it and it's the 10% of humanity who are good at it that make the rest of us feel dumb. I found that over time I got "initiated" in to new small talk. Until I got married wedding small talk made me feel dumb and out-of-it; after I got married I was like, "ooooohhhhhhh!" and now I can do that one. Ditto with having a kid. The more experiences you have, the easier small talk will get.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:33 PM on November 5, 2010 [14 favorites]

The activity you should propose to your dormmates is a walk (~a mile) to a body of water (cold and possibly muddy) to "explore the area" (possibly get muddy). I hate to stereotype, but yeah, this is going to weed out the extra-girly ones.

And once you have that group of people formed, you don't even have to go trough with the initial plan (except you should, because exploring is fun!) you can go get coffee or burritos or something and get to know each other better. (This is how I found the tire in Lake Michigan.)
posted by phunniemee at 12:33 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

What is your usual approach for making friends?
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:33 PM on November 5, 2010

All of your interests can't be entirely for men only, and I say this as a female programmer who enjoys watching football, playing video games and classic cars. Follow your interests and you are bound to run into a least a few other women who share them. One of my (female) best friends to this day was in my undergraduate CS program - there were 6 women in the program, total. Not all women enjoy only "girly" things, small talk, gossip, etc.

It sounds to me that you're trying to befriend the wrong women out of some sense of obligation. Follow your interests, keep an open mind and you're bound to make new friends, some of which will be female.

Also try to keep in mind that just because one woman might enjoy some of the things you don't - small talk, "girly things" - it doesn't mean she isn't worth befriending. Even if you share similar interests with your male friends, you must have some differences, some things you like that they don't, and vice versa. Try to put more emphasis on finding friendly, open, warm, and accepting people, and not so much on people who only share your interests. Ultimately the strongest friendships have more in common than hobbies and interests.
posted by geeky at 12:44 PM on November 5, 2010

Most people I know who think they're bring judged are, on fact, the ones doing all the judging.
posted by fshgrl at 12:44 PM on November 5, 2010 [13 favorites]

I've always really despised things I found "girly", like small talk, gossip, and other "girly" things. I've always taken an interest in things that are more male-oriented, and have always been most comfortable around men.

Why do you despise things that are "girly"? Do you think that liking those things makes you weak? Less interesting? Less intelligent? You may have overstated your case there--I'm not trying to play "gotcha," just consider that the way you feel about traditionally feminine things may come across when you meet them. If I "despised" everything associated with a group, I bet I'd have trouble making friends there too.

I have close groups of women friends from every stage in my life, and we've talked about "girly" things a fair bit, but we spend a lot more time talking about books, politics, food, music, and family and relationships. Women are more multi-dimensional that you've experienced so far, but I'm afraid your defensive walls will prevent you from finding that out unless you're willing to be more open-minded about other women.
posted by gladly at 12:44 PM on November 5, 2010 [9 favorites]

I was the same way - then I went to college. Girls get way more interesting and intelligent after high-school, I promise.

Also, don't be such a sexist ;p Just because she has a vagina doesn't mean she needs to gossip non stop about "girly" stuff. Talk to more girls, you'll find more girls that are like you, and that maybe you could be friends with. Don't be so judgmental, you don't like it when girls do that to you, they probably don't either.
posted by LZel at 1:00 PM on November 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

Other people have picked up on this, but I think the first thing to do is cut out the contempt. You don't have to like or participate in the activities that other people like, but it's not nice to be judgmental of them if they're not hurting anyone, and it will make it harder for you to make friends in general because others will pick up on it.

If someone is interested in makeup and celebrity gossip, those are not necessarily "useful" interests, but neither are football, Howard Stern, and beer, and it sounds like you might not have as strong an aversion to someone who was interested in those things.

Our society generally has less respect for things associated with women or femaleness than it does for similar/equivalent things associated with maleness, so I do understand the aversion, growing up, to being associated with one of "those" kinds of women. It is natural to want to be respected.

But in reality, there are frivolous activities associated with both men and women, plenty of very intelligent people like to engage with frivolous activities to unwind, and it's not very cool to be judgmental of someone who is doing what they want with their free time and not hurting anyone. Bottom line, if you can let go of that a little bit, you might find this a lot easier. Is it possible that you judge/are contemptuous of women but don't generally judge/hold contempt for men?

All that said ... not all women are interested in those sorts of things, and you don't have to restrict yourself to hanging out with women who are! Do you play sports? I think it might help a lot to join a female sports league.

Whatever your interests are, you will often find at least a few women who share them if you join a relevant group. There might only be one or two women there, but I think it'll be good to start with them, because many of them will also have female friends of their own, and you can branch out from there.
posted by Ashley801 at 1:07 PM on November 5, 2010 [11 favorites]

This thread has A LOT of relevant advice. I'm not sure if you would describe yourself (or if I would describe you) as a female misogynist, but I would encourage you to think critically about your own gender biases -- you are thinking so little of other women right now!

I've been on the "Oh, I only like hanging out with men" train...once you have a friend group that includes ALL genders, you'll be shocked by how much fun you have.
posted by superlibby at 1:25 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I had this problem for a long, long time. Like you, I didn't realize or wasn't bothered by my lack of female friends until I went away to college. Maybe because I was living around all these women, and I wanted to have something to say to them. I made a few friends, but nothing really stuck. I was still friends with mostly men.

I would say that my lack of female friends was a result of my upbringing, but also of my interests/personality. I'm pretty aggressive. I am, at times, hyper-competitive and my work is male dominated. I have to play with the boys, so to speak. I am now doing my part to try to change this, but I am also older and wiser now. And, I have a little girl.

As far as friends go, things have changed for me. As I've hit my thirties, I've developed an amazing group of female friends. We get together once a month in an organized fashion, and several other times a month in social settings. What I've found is that most of these women are very similar to me. And we all share unique experiences that are gender specific.

But, some of my closest friends are male. And I think that's okay. You connect with who you connect with. Just try not to cut out half of the population from your list. There are awesome people all over. The great thing about college is that you get to start all over and build new friendships.
posted by fyrebelley at 1:30 PM on November 5, 2010

I've always taken an interest in things that are more male-oriented, and have always been most comfortable around men.

What sort of "male-oriented things" are of more interest to you?

I am an unapologetic girly girl. I will happily discuss searching for the perfect mascara, George Clooney's bum, my triumphs in pastry, or my utter disappointment with how Sex & The City series ended. I also drink good Scotch, scuba dive with sharks, hitchhike through Tibet, report from Iraq, and I will cut you if you block my view during the NBA championships. Especially if that candy-ass Kobe Bryant is losing, because I hates me some Kobe.

The problem is not other women. Women contain multitudes. The problem is your contempt, which even the "dumb blondes" are doubtless picking up on. Dial that back, open your mind, and cut the "girls" the same slack you undoubtedly cut the boys. Good luck to you!
posted by cyndigo at 1:33 PM on November 5, 2010 [8 favorites]

I was very much like you at your age (though I did and still do have several, lifelong female friends.)

From my very early years, I was surrounded by girls who called me names, gossiped about me behind my back, ridiculed my interest in books, etc. Needless to say, junior high and high school sucked (For the record, I happen to know that a lot of those women are just as miserable now as they were back then.)

I'm going to agree with LZel that you'll find much more diversity of personality among college-age women. Simply leave yourself open to it. Be friendly with classmates who express opinions that appear similar to yours. Look around for other women who are participating in activities you're interested in.

I understand the fear of the cattiness/gossipy/judgmental stuff some women enjoy ... but remember you can't possibly be the only woman who finds that off-putting.

My female friendships have saved my life more times than I care to mention. I'm glad I didn't let my own insecurity (and in some cases, immaturity) get in the way of finding some truly amazing women.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 1:41 PM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've always really despised things I found "girly", like small talk, gossip, and other "girly" things. I've always taken an interest in things that are more male-oriented, and have always been most comfortable around men.

Seconding superlibby, Ashley80, gladly, geeky and cyndigo.

Examine where this attitude is coming from if you are serious about developing relationships with other women. What is reinforcing this viewpoint? You admit you don't have that much experience with female friendship. Are you really your male friends' only female friend? I think you'll discover this attitude is the true problem, not the lack of women who possess common interests with you.
posted by sacapuntas at 1:43 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Why do you need female friends? (I'm a "man". Most of my friends are women.)
posted by madcaptenor at 1:50 PM on November 5, 2010

I was exactly like you (except I was attracted to women too which made everything even more confusing). And I got the fuck over it by talking with more women. Talk with women in your classes, in your major, in clubs you join. Pretend the person you're talking to doesn't even know what mascara is and talk to them. You'll find even women who like all that girly stuff have far more depth and complexity than you'll ever give them credit for, and I say this as a pretty damn butch girl who competes in weightlifting, has yet to figure out how to dress herself in anything but novelty t-shirts, and has worn a dress once in fifteen years.

One of my female friends loves Lady Gaga and could survive in the wilderness with a t-shirt and a pointed stick. Another welds, builds theater sets, loves studying horrendous diseases, and sews and knits as a hobby. A third is getting her doctorate in physics, has multiple equations tattooed on her body, and is one of the biggest fashion hounds I've ever met. And a fourth is constantly putting up cutesy status messages about her man all over Facebook and her profile picture is a rotation of the over-the-top adorable pictures of the two of them, and she's sarcastic and witty and is a member of a honest-to-God motorcycle gang (not a crazy one like Hell's Angels though).

These women I know are not unique in the diversity of their interests across gender lines. In fact, once I actually talked to women and made female friends I found the women who fit the stereotype you're speaking about to the "T" are a serious minority. You see, the same way you evaluate each dude on his interests and personality when forming friendships, so should you evaluate women. I'm guessing that you are thinking of men as "people," yourself as "people", and women as "a monolithic group of scary subhuman creatures." Get over it.
posted by schroedinger at 2:12 PM on November 5, 2010 [12 favorites]

College girls are SO much more chill than high school girls, and there are most definitely other women just like you in college. Take a good look at the co-ed student organizations on campus - there are bound to be things that are pretty dude-ly but have a few female members (outdoors club? sportsmen's club?), or are pretty gender-neutral (newspaper? humor magazine? political activism of some sort?), or are all-women but not traditionally girly (I had a roommate who was a women's rugby player - she was slightly terrifying). Pursue your interests, whatever they may be, take note that you are in all likelihood not the only woman in room, and make friends with those people.
posted by naoko at 2:26 PM on November 5, 2010

There are women's groups for pretty much everything you can think of. You don't mention what your interests/hobbies are, but I assure you, you can find a women's club for that, if only online. But hey, online is a great place to start!

For example, you mention you're into things that are "male-oriented." Off the top of my head, I recently read about ESPN's launch of a sports website aimed at women. Turns out 42% of sports fans are women.

I have also been a past member of several female-only Open Source Software and Linux/Unix user's groups. I'm not into that stuff so much anymore, but I belong to a number of gaming groups for women.

Odds are, if you look around, you'll find there are more women who are into those "male-oriented" things than you might think!
posted by ErikaB at 2:49 PM on November 5, 2010

I feel like all my social skills are futile- like the ones I used to make male friends don't apply to girls and I don't know how to start.

What are those skills? In what ways would they not apply?

Imagine for a moment that you're at a party with a bunch of your friends. There are a couple of guys there that you don't know, but they seem nice. How do you approach them? How do you start talking to them?

Do that with women. We're really not a different species. If you wanted to be friends with me and tried to start an awkward conversation about mascara because you think that's what "women" talk about, I'd look at you like you had two heads, because I don't know a damn thing about mascara.

Leave your dorm room door open when you're home and not trying to get Some Serious Work Done. If someone down the hall has her door open and you like the music she's playing, go say "Hey, I like that - who is that?" or "I love that song! Have you heard their album [blah]?"

A woman in my dorm freshman year became a close friend, despite the fact that by all appearances we didn't have anything in common. A little bit of hanging out dispelled that notion, and I tried to stop judging books by their covers.
posted by rtha at 3:25 PM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

You need to find other women who enjoy the activities that you do and you also need to make sure that you don't judge them if at first they appear girly. My boyfriend's brother's girlfriend is a tall beautiful blonde with georgeous hair (that she always colors and styles herself) whose main interests are car repair, muddin, 4 wheeling, dirtbiking... pretty much anything with motors.

I myself dress professionally and kinda girly for my job, have an affinity for red lipstick, but am becoming a welder, hoping to join the ironworker's union, spend a lot of time thinking about home repair projects that i can do myself. I also like off color humor.

Since you are at the beginning of your college career, now is a great time to make female friends. I found that in college I almost had to try to make female friends because a lot of new males I would meet kinda assumed things would tend towards dating or nothing and weren't really interested in making new female "just friends".
posted by WeekendJen at 3:35 PM on November 5, 2010

I'm going to join in with the people who are telling you to cut out the contempt. Just because someone enjoys something you don't like, or even actively dislike, that doesn't mean they are unworthy of friendship. Friends are difficult enough to make without adding arbitrary reasons (such as a vagina) to exclude them.

Here's a simple example from my own life. It took me until 42 years old to learn this one.

For most of my life, I've hated college and pro sports. Can't stand them. Can't stand talking about them. I still couldn't tell you which (insert local team name here) team plays football, soccer or baseball, much less their chance of winning.

Part of this hatred of sports fandom turned into scorn of "sportos". Usually men, these "sportos" seemed to talk endlessly about something I simply hated. So I avoided them, sometimes mocked them behind their backs. That didn't lead to a lot of male friendships.

Just recently, this summer, I got to thinking that "sportos" are just geeks. They are geeks about something I dislike, but they are geeks in much the same way that I am a geek. They love all the minute details about their chosen-area-of-geekiness, they love one-upping each other with knowledge or prediction ability. And so on.

Thing is, I love geeks. I love geeks, and sports-lovers are geeks, so ...

That was all it took. I suddenly dropped the scorn, and my friendship life has benefited tremendously. No one really likes a scornful person, and I hadn't realized just how limiting my scorn was. These people weren't hurting me by their geeky love of sports, it was just an excuse to judge them. I still won't participate in sports conversations, I probably never will, but at least I can appreciate that others do and it is no reflection on them as quality people.
posted by Invoke at 3:51 PM on November 5, 2010 [9 favorites]

Yep, cut the contempt and get over your own perceptions of what women are and what women do and who you are.

I'm a geek (obviously!) and for the longest time hated my gender. Then I got the fuck over myself and now I have an amazing array of friends, male and female. I have male friends who love to cook and discuss food and media. I have female friends who talk code. I have male friends who talk sport. I have female friends who talk craft. I love them all for their strengths and their personalities. Limiting that because "OMG all girlz talk about is bullshit" is unfair on yourself and ridiculously sexist. Even with the girliest of girly friends, our talk is not limited to what one of us finds fascinating. And even when that's what they're talking about, I listen because friendship isn't just about me and my needs and my interests. I don't give a flying fuck about wine but several of my best friends in the entire universe are wine buffs. In turn, they don't care about the internet but that makes up a large part of my life, so they listen to me talking about that.

Here's another aspect too - men who hear you hating on your own gender tend not to be the ones who love women. They might like having sex with them but they often dislike women for the same reasons you've said. Cutting out the hate talk meant I ended up with a fantastic array of male friends as well, not just a bunch of guys.
posted by geek anachronism at 4:00 PM on November 5, 2010 [10 favorites]

Odds are, if you look around, you'll find there are more women who are into those "male-oriented" things than you might think!

Absolutely! Women are just people, and people can be all kinds. If you put aside your judgments about women and actually get to know a few, you might find it easier to think of women as individuals instead of a gender.

I'm a woman who rides motorcycles, plays drums, and loves to watch hockey. But you would probably write me off because I look like a "typical" woman who wears makeup, paints her nails, and loves dresses and heels.

It's funny that you consider small talk to be in the realm of "girly." It's not not a female thing at all. Small talk is actually a handy networking skill, and as much as I hated it at first, the better I get at it the less painful it is. And many men I know love to gossip!
posted by keep it under cover at 4:02 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Whoops, excuse the double negative there. It's a typo. Small talk is NOT a female thing.
posted by keep it under cover at 4:12 PM on November 5, 2010

You need to detach the stereotype of femininity from actual women. I can't stand "feminine" marketing, and I may have ranted about it on Metafilter or AskMe somewhere, but the individual women who consume feminine marketing may have very different reasons for doing so -- one really is a sheltered sorority girl, another is a brilliant, hyper-ironic feminist, another is a hard-ass business executive kicking back off duty.

I still don't like wacky '50s fonts, Cinderella, French Script, etc.; pink and green in licorice-candy combinations; "I'm Spending Hubby's/Daddy's Money" slogans; Cosmo martini glass motifs; chick lit; the Sex and the City phenomenon; the assumption that if I like shoes, I like high heels. Women who un-ironically immersed themselves in this stuff would annoy me.

Less crappy, but more substantially irritating: stores and brands where all the cool stuff is men's, and the female shoppers are expected to buy only pastel colors. Unfortunately, I am quite small, so I can't buy men's clothes and shoes.
posted by bad grammar at 4:21 PM on November 5, 2010

Here's another aspect too - men who hear you hating on your own gender tend not to be the ones who love women. They might like having sex with them but they often dislike women for the same reasons you've said. Cutting out the hate talk meant I ended up with a fantastic array of male friends as well, not just a bunch of guys.


The one adult woman I know who goes all out bragging about hating women and being one of the guys, does not have good male friends or lovers. She has a lot of belching video game-obsessed elderly adolescents whom she invariably develops crushes on. They will occasionally sleep with her, treat her like a dude and then fall head over heels for a "girly" girl. (Experience has shown that the girly girls dump them in short orde.r) This reinforces her hatred of women, and the cycle continues.

Don't be that woman.
posted by cyndigo at 5:05 PM on November 5, 2010 [11 favorites]

There are plenty of women like you, and there are also plenty of women who like traditionally male things but also like traditional "girl" stuff as well. Either category will contain folks you can be friends with.

Truly, it will help you if you can start thinking of women as simply individuals. Honestly, back when I was in bible college, it always bemused me when the women I thought of as the ultimate girly girls tended to be the ones who were, for instance, fascinated by the spider I found in my room whilst all I could do is scream "Kill it, kill it!!!!!!!!"

Go forth, be yourself, and you will make friends.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:32 PM on November 5, 2010

As a woman who finds difficulty relating to women, my best female friends are:

- A stay-at-home mum with 3 children who also happens to be a talented *nix systems administrator
- A tech writer who is geeky about all sorts of things, but gets nervous about her boyfriend seeing her without makeup, knits, and writes creatively
- A total girly girl, who is an excellent cook and all around interesting person, who knows more about fashion, style, makeup and such than I ever will, and I am in awe. She also plays wow.
- A jock, who knows everything about sport, is a gamer, and loves cats.

Yes, well. I know nothing about sport except that it usually happens outside, at the age of 29 have finally learnt how to apply mascara (kind of, anyway), default to nerdy tshirts with math jokes, play games, knit pretty well, and programs. Hmm.

If you saw a lineup of these women and myself, you really wouldn't pick us as a group of friends. We have majorly different interests, life experiences, the directions in which we're travelling are all different, and the age span is about a decade. What brings us together, and why I consider these women to be close friends, is that they are all geeks who love to learn new things. Their areas of geekery and mine differ, but it's the attitude and driving force that collectively, define us. I met all these women through male friends, because frankly, there are more guy geeks than girl geeks.

So; find your geek. Find where those geeks gather, and join in. Make friends of the women there - they tend to be really awesome people (although sometimes, really awesome people you don't get along with).
posted by ysabet at 6:51 PM on November 5, 2010

Best answer: I work with some fucking awesome women. Some of the most effective, powerful, personable and tough people in my professional field are women. These females are literally changing the world, sorry to be cheesy, bĂșt their work does amaze me. Some of the meetings of high-powered strategists and decision-makers, the ones that I don't get invited to, have gender ratios of something like 4 men to 7 women. I bet you would not consider them "girly," though they are also not asexual or androgynous. So, assuming you are like me and respect people who are smart, no-nonsense, ethical, hoping to make the world better, able to cut through BS and get shit done, and so forth, then just figure out what you like doing, get good at it, and notice the other women who are good at it as well. Or actually, if you're not like me and you prefer super-slacker-stoners who chill all day quietly, or whatever it is that you're into, I bet that there are a bunch of women like that as well.

I think you have a different problem at the moment, which is that you're surrounded by people you happen not to relate to. Early college is notorious for this sense of being lost and not fitting in. You just got thrown into an enormous unsorted pool of people. So now the geeks and jocks and punk rockers and hippies etc. etc. have to find one another in the crowd. By random chance, you may have ended up in the Sex In The City quad when you belong in the Daria quad. So don't blame your social skills ("I feel like all my social skills are futile") or worry about fitting in ("I feel like I'm constantly being judged and that I don't fit in"). This time of life provokes total anxiety, alienation, loneliness, and sense of being lost. To guide yourself through, just accept yourself and your differences, think things like "I am a person who is like ___ (e.g., who doesn't wear mascara) and that's fine," try to imagine that your real crew is elsewhere and you just haven't found one another yet, and otherwise just hang in there without sinking into self examination or anxiety. Early college sucks, but it's temporary.

Then, just try to do stuff you think is cool. That way, you will end up connected to other people who do cool stuff. Doing cool stuff is the fastest way out of a dorm situation you don't belong in, because it's the easiest way to find other people you relate to, and they will introduce you to others you relate to. Eventually, some will be women. Then even if you have to pick female dormmates for next year, you can room with the Enid & Rebecca (Ghost World) women (or whatever you prefer) and not with the Desperate Housewives women (or whatever your current roommates are like). Just have fun and work hard finding things you like to do. You'll naturally connect with others who like that stuff. Now I feel like your mom. "Don't worry, dear, it'll all work itself out in the end." But the truth is, it can work out slowly or quickly, and it will work out faster the less you focus on "omg why am I different do I fit in?" or "where am I going to find friends?" and the more you focus on what would be fun and interesting to do, and how you can do that. Create imaginary friends (I'm serious) or call your friends at home to get the kind of social support you need to be the most proactive and functional version of yourself in the meantime.
posted by salvia at 8:44 PM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

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