Everything is a competition and about her. She has many male friends but is prickly among women.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Girlfriends share a special kind of relationship. If you have one, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

When we’re with our girls, all our deepest fears, dreams and mistakes are heard. We’re validated.

They listen to us, call us out on bad behaviour and embrace who and what we are. Their words leave us comforted and, at times, completely transformed.

That bond between women is uplifting and almost spiritual.

I subscribe wholeheartedly to the concept of girls supporting one another. But not all women think alike.

I met a woman who, on social media, encourages women to support other women at work. She describes herself as someone who champions women’s causes. I followed her posts up until the point I met her.

I was disappointed when we met in person. She made no effort to befriend other women at a gathering, as some observed, and our interaction (despite my keenness) was lacklustre.

It got me thinking: Which women would really be the best ambassadors of girl power?

I figured it would be the ones with female friends, because it takes one to understand one. These are the only women I would want to be friends with.

It goes back to my distrust of women without girlfriends.

Now, I’m not talking about those who choose solitude, but women with a surplus of guy friends. The ones who share much closer friendships with men than with women.

It’s easy to spot them.

They’re often the only woman in a group of guys.

Ask them about their choices, and the stock response is: “I don’t like to deal with girl drama, and guys are easier to get along with”.  Their reasons leave me dumbfounded.

Girlfriend-less gals are a special breed. I feel I can never trust a woman with no female buddies, simply because making any genuine connection with you isn’t her priority – and will never be. Underneath the girlfriendless woman is often a selfabsorbed spirit.

Everything is a competition. Everything is about her.

While I’ve bonded and forged new friendships with many women in the entertainment circle in the course of my work, a minority resemble characters straight out of Mean Girls. They aren’t keen to befriend women, keeping a distance. Getting ahead  is top of their list.

Girlfriend-less women tend to bring on rivalry in the presence of the opposite sex. They can turn catty when a new girl is introduced to her group of guys.

Picture this: the sideeye, the unwelcoming vibes, and getting bulldozed by her when she feels that her territory is threatened. She’s the queen bee (without the honey).


In positive relationships between women, we invest in one another and take real interest in one another’s lives. I’m blessed to have a circle of girlfriends whom I can count on. My bestie and I have known each other for more than two decades.

She’s the one whom this damsel in distress called for help when my car couldn’t start; she dropped everything to buy cables from a petrol station to jump-start the vehicle – even though neither of us knew what we were doing!

My girlfriends have seen me through my break-ups – the endless nights of crying and despair. They support me wholeheartedly, as I would them – any time.

Sometimes, it takes another woman to intuitively recognise what needs to be done or said, or help us make sense of things when we’re lost.

Girlfriends are with us for the long haul, and we need them more as we grow through the different stages in our lives.

If you long for a close girlfriend (or a close group of women friends), perhaps you have not had the good fortune to meet the right ones.

Maybe you need to be proactive in making connections. This could be with someone whom you get to know on a whim – which was what happened with a woman who is now one of my closest friends.

We were attending the same conference, and she seemed warm and genuine, so I asked if she wanted to join me for a drink.

We ended up hanging out at the bar until it was late. Then we went home to doll up and met (again) to party until the sun came up!

So if you come across a girls’ girl whose company you think you might enjoy, ask her out. Get into a conversation with her (no small talk, please!) and maybe even have a drink – or three.
My Reading Room


The Big Sister

She keeps you grounded and honest. She’s the one who takes care of your broken heart, and holds your hair when you puke into the toilet bowl after you’ve had too much to drink at a party.


No one knows you better than the childhood friend. She’s the cherished one who holds a special place in your heart even though you may be far apart.

The Rebel

She doesn’t care about your feelings when she speaks, but she means well. Fiercely independent and loyal, she encourages you to stand up for yourself and tells you when to kick a**.

The Office
Buddy She’s the girl at work you lunch with, the one who saves you a seat at meetings. You may not socialise much out of the office, but she knows enough of what’s going on in your life to give you a good perspective from an “outsider”.