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5 Tips For Keeping Girl Time Positive—Even When Dating Stinks

Your friends (and your own health) will thank you!


Art Credit: Taylor McCutchan

Few things are as therapeutic as a good venting session with your girlfriends, especially when it comes to grievances inflicted by the male sex. Tempting as it is to list the things he did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say, was or wasn’t—when do we just let it go and talk about something else?

As a single-and-begrudgingly-ready-to-mingle woman in the dating pool, my female friendships have been veritable lifesavers. In fact, research tells us that the health benefits of female friendship can literally keep you alive longer.

But if the girl time is mostly spent commiserating, allowing yourself to brood on the negative subject, it can make things worse and can often bring your empathetic friends down as well. Dr. Jan Yager, sociologist and author of When Friendship Hurts, suggests that there are 21 types of potentially negative friendships; type #12 is the The Downer. According to Dr. Yager The Downer is always negative, critical, and sad, and makes others feel that way too. Sound like anyone you know? If it does, here are 5 tips for keeping girl time positive.

01. Don’t Shut it Down, Redirect.

After you have heard the same complaints over and over, it can be tempting to end the conversation with an abrupt diversion or by disengaging completely. Instead, hear your friend out and when you can, redirect the same conversation toward something more positive and constructive. An example could be, “I’m sorry, but you know what? Now we can focus on getting to know some nice men together! Which reminds me, we haven't signed up for that softball team yet...”

02. Share Your New “Anti-Boy Bashing” Policy.

Keeping the conversation away from brooding or man-hating is easier when everyone is in the loop. One way to avoid calling your friends out is to put it on you. Tell them that talking negatively has really been bringing you down and you want to try and stay positive and constructive about dating. If you have been feeling the drag, most likely your friends have been too and will be happy to join your cause!

03. Take the Happy Hour Challenge.

Next time you and the girls meet for Happy Hour, set a rule: The first person to complain about men, the misery of dating, or hint toward dating despair buys the person on their right a cocktail—even if they don’t know them.

04. Think Outside the Box.

It’s tempting to constantly slip back into the comfort zone of talking about men, probably because it’s fun to try and solve the mystery of why they do the things they do! But there are so many other more productive things to talk about with your girlfriends. Use your time together to tell stories from your week, make weekend plans, ask about one another's family, or daydream about travel.

05. Don't Loiter.

There are few things more depressing then meeting a girlfriend at a bar or party, only to stand there and swap disparaging comments about the men in the room or dating in general. Have fun! Send each other on a mission to start a conversation with the first person you see standing alone.