Trep7 female friends

24 Aug

I just felt so sad and envious that I’ve never had that relationship with one woman, let alone a whole group of women.

I feel like I’ve missed out on something really special.’Hayley is now having counselling and hopes she will eventually feel able to make friends.

Picked on for being pale, skinny and wearing braces, Lucille went out of her way to prove herself.‘My reaction was to be the best; to be in every sports team, the lead in every school play,’ she says.

But behind the guarded, confident exterior was a girl who shied away from friendships for fear of ridicule or rejection.

I find the thought of walking into a room full of women too frightening,’ she admits.‘I imagine it will be full of people in their cliques and I’ll be the outsider again.

I just don’t feel like I can do it.’But, set against this phobia of her own sex is a painful longing for female interaction.‘Recently, I went to the cinema with my husband, and we were standing behind a queue of women, all dressed up, laughing and joking, all close friends.‘I could have cried.

All the other kids were in hysterics and I was so embarrassed.’The torment continued at secondary school, where Hayley was shunned by other girls.‘One day, this girl who’d always had it in for me made a big scene about how she didn’t want to sit next to me.‘The teacher tried to intervene, which just drew attention to me.

Yet for a surprising number of women, the mere idea of being part of a big group of females can be enough to fill them with horror.

It’s more than possible, says psychotherapist Anna Pinkerton.‘You need to learn to like your own company and then you will be reaching out with a desire to be connected, rather than one of neediness,’ she says.

Lucille Howe, 44, an actress, can relate to Hayley’s fear of female friendship.

‘My view of women has been skewed both by school and the kind of work I’ve done,’ she says.‘I wish I could reverse the way my brain has been programmed.’Lucille was put off the idea of female friendships from the age of 11, when she was sent to the all-girl convent boarding school.‘In the first week, a group of girls barricaded part of the common room off with cushions.

The message was clear, it was “Them and us”,’ she says.