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161: Adult Female Friendships & The Marsha Brady Effect

By November 2, 2021November 8th, 2023Mastermind Parenting Podcast

In this episode, I talk about adult female friendships and why figuring out who is a friend for a season, a reason or a lifetime has a direct impact on how you show up as a parent.

As always, thanks for listening, and be sure and head over to Facebook and you can join my free group Mastermind Parenting Community, where we post tips and tools and do pop up Live conversations where I do extra teaching and coaching to support you in helping your strong-willed children so that they can FEEL better and DO better. If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it!

About Randi Rubenstein

Randi Rubenstein helps parents with a strong-willed kiddo become a happier family and enjoy the simple things again like bike rides and beach vacays.

She’s the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap. Randi works with parents across the U.S.

At Mastermind Parenting, we believe every human deserves to have a family that gets along.

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0 (1s):
My name is Randi Rubenstein, and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast at Mastermind Parenting, we’re on a mission to support strong-willed kids and the families that love them. You’re listening to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast with Randi Rubenstein episode 1 61. Hi guys, I have a topic today about female friendships, and we’re talking about this because it’s been coming up a lot in my private groups. We’ve just been talking a lot about mom Friendships. And I talked with a mom recently who we were, you know, we were just talking about things and it came up in, you know, just this pandemic time, I think has had many of us reevaluate many of our Friendships and just realizing that, you know, we’re not really missing, hanging out with lots of the people we used to spend lots of our time with or talk to quite often.

0 (1m 9s):
And so there’s pin parts of the pandemic that have made many of us realize that we have less friends than we thought we did, or we kind of want to have less friends than we thought we needed because less, a lot of times can be more. And so I was talking to this mom and she was just saying, you know, I don’t know how to have enough time for all the things in my life. There’s just, you know, from my work to my family. And now you’re telling me really, I need to spend more time with the girls and, and, and doing all the things.

0 (1m 50s):
And we were just talking about just female friendships and how so often it is, you know, it’s, it, there’s a, there’s a pruning away that happens. And it’s usually mutual. Like when we change. So often the friendships that have been in our lives for a long time, they don’t always change with us. And they say friendship is for a season, a reason or a lifetime. And quite often we think that a friendship is like, this is a lifer for me. And it turns out like a pandemic happens and you realize that person isn’t your life for.

0 (2m 34s):
And so how do you handle that? You know, how do you handle it when hanging out with certain people that you have been close to, but it sort of fills your body with a little bit of dread hanging out with them or after you’ve hung out with them, you’re like, okay, it’s like, you’re taking something off the list. Like, okay, this, this be good. Like, I don’t have to feel guilty for not hanging out with this person for at least another month. I like your body’s been whispering that this is a person that isn’t energizing. You isn’t nourishing you. The friendship is not, it was probably for a season or a reason.

0 (3m 17s):
And it’s time to, to go your separate ways. And it usually goes both ways because if you change and you’re interested in doing new and different things like that, other person, you know, as humans, we all seek the familiar, we all seek the familiar. So if that person is exactly who they are and who they always have been an interested in the same things you guys were interested in 10 years ago, like they don’t want to change. Right. They don’t want to join you on the path. So you changing quite often as triggering for them.

0 (3m 60s):
Cause they’re like, who asked you to change? You know, it’s like, they’re not saying this, but it’s really like, who asked you? I was perfectly happy where we are and I’m not changing. I want things to continue and be the same. But if you’re changing, like you don’t really work for them anymore. And unlike like a romantic relationship where we clearly will break up with someone, you don’t really break up with a friend. So a lot of times it’s just, you know, it’s, it’s harder to figure out, but it can take up a lot of our bandwidth. And, and so we were talking about this and, and, and afterwards, you know, we brought it back to listening to your body, whispers, anything that feels like a straight jacket that feels constricted.

0 (4m 47s):
That feels like I just hung out with this person and I’m taking it off the list. Doesn’t feel energizing. I like to say min in my book, the parent gap doesn’t feel like skinny dipping freedom. If it feels like a straight jacket, that’s your body saying, <inaudible> this is not taking you closer to your north star. This is taking you away from it. Okay. So listening to our body, whispers learning to have boundaries, what does self-care really look like? You know, I said to this mom, I said for you, self-care might look like if you take your daughter to an activity and there’s a bunch of moms around and you start listening to your body and the conversations are, you know, just like those conversations that most of us are like, it’s hard to turn away from when the conversations are happening, because maybe it’s like the dirt on people you guys know in common or whatever.

0 (5m 43s):
But afterwards you feel drained and exhausted and depleted, like, that’s your body saying? Those conversations might seem sort of fun in the moment, but they’re not serving you. They’re actually draining your bandwidth and zapping you. And when your kid is done with the activity, now, all of a sudden, like you’re exhausted. And so you’re not going to show up the same way for your kid. You know, as it as, as you would, if you were actually listening to your body, having boundaries and putting yourself care first. So what would self care look like I said, do you know, self care could look like if you start to pay attention next time when you’re sitting with those moms, maybe talking with one mom, one-on-one about a real conversation that might energize you.

0 (6m 30s):
But if you find that, like it’s not happening for you, it’s not working for you. It might look like putting in some AirPods and saying, I got to just take a mental health break. I just want to watch my daughter do her thing. And I’m going to listen to this thing. I really want it. I just want to relax my brain for a little bit, love y’all and putting in the, the, you know, the AirPods. And she was like, Ooh, that would send a bad message. And I’m like, but that’s what self-care looks like, like me saying to the development director at my kid’s school, who I love and is amazing at her job, we don’t go to galas or things like that during the week.

0 (7m 17s):
Like, we don’t do that. It’s not our thing. We’re we try to be home in our beds by nine o’clock at night. Like, we don’t like going out during the week and that’s, that’s us. That’s our thing. Like that’s a boundary. And the first time I said it, she was like, oh wow. Like it maybe felt a little weird. Off-putting maybe even rude to her, but I just owned it. Like we just don’t, you know, we don’t want to go out during the week. And so at first, when you’re kind of direct like that, it does, sometimes people are like, oh, hello. Okay.

0 (7m 57s):
And it might be weird for them, but so what, when you own it, they get used to it and they realize like, we’re also kind of egocentric. Once you realize it’s not about you. Like when you’re there amongst the moms and you are listening to something, you have the messages going into your ears. So you’re not hearing the neighborhood gossip. That is something you wanted to learn or something that’s relaxing to you. Something that you’ve been meaning to listen to, or an, a book on audio book that is going to teach you a new thing that you’ve really been dying to read or listen to. And now you have a whole hour of your kid being in an activity, being able to watch with your eyes while you listen to the right messages, coming into your ears, that’s going to fulfill you and your soul, you know?

0 (8m 41s):
And at the very end five minutes before it’s over, you take out your earbuds and you’re like, huh, you know, and you smile at the people and you maybe ask a question like, oh, didn’t, so-and-so just come in. How you know, was that fun? Did you have a good time? Didn’t you go to town and you engage in a little light conversation, but on your terms, like, you’re not an asshole. You just put yourself first in that moment, which is counterintuitive for most women. Because as I’ve talked about in a, in a prior podcast episode, we’re conditioned with the disease to please and to think about everyone else before ourselves. But what if you did that for yourself?

0 (9m 23s):
Right. Like, I, you know, it’s interesting when you start to look at your friendships and really reevaluate, and it doesn’t need to be dramatic. It’s just that you’re changing people change. It’s like what we’re meant to do as humans. And some friendships were for a season or a reason, and you can wish them well, and you can regard them with pleasantries when you see them and you don’t have to continue being best friends with everyone. It’s okay. Like, what if you had permission to do that?

0 (10m 4s):
You know, one of the other things that I have taught I’ve taught my moms lately that they loved was I was telling them about something that I came up with, that I called The Marsha Brady Effect. And, and it was a mom that, you know, was in my private mastermind group who was having an issue with an old friend who she’s grown apart from, and, and she’s, and it’s really taking a lot of her bandwidth, just this friendship that has changed. And she’s, it’s weird and it’s awkward and there’s tension between the two of them. And so we’ve been, you know, really, you know, we’ve been using the tools that I teach to get what I call getting fessed up in your brain, telling the truth in your brain.

0 (10m 53s):
So you really find what, you know, what is really bothering me here, what sentence do I have in my head? And usually it seems to always go back to our sense of belonging, right? Like we all just want to know that, like we are not alone. We have people that we go with, you know, that there’s a primal need to belong. And what, you know, I love how Bernay brown says it because she says the opposite of belonging is fitting in. Hey. And then she says, fitting in is becoming who you think you need to be in order to be accepted.

0 (11m 38s):
Belonging is being your authentic self and knowing that no matter what happens, you belong to you. Okay. So fitting in is becoming who you think you need to be in order to be accepted. So like, you don’t want to engage in the mom chatter at your kids activity, but to put in your, your AirPods, you’re worried. It might be perceived as rude as off pit, as off pudding. And it might be at the beginning. So you don’t, and you go along with the conversation, even though it drains and depletes you because you want to fit in because that belonging need is so strong.

0 (12m 18s):
Okay. So if you think about how much of your bandwidth, how much of your energy are you giving away to fit in with people that are actually not really your people anymore? Right. Like it’s okay. It’s okay. And chances are, they know they’re not, and they know you’ve changed and y’all don’t really have that much in common anymore. Okay. So like, you know, when I taught them about The Marsha Brady Effect, what I said was when years ago, obviously, like I grew up watching TV.

0 (13m 0s):
They were my best friends and like many other people that grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, we watch a whole lot of Brady bunch. And there was an episode where Marsha befriends the girl, the new girl in school, who is kind of like the super awkward nerdy girl and Marsha like takes her under her wing and gives her a make-over teaches her how to like, you know, part her hair down the middle and put on purple eye shadow. And by just the right super short, groovy dress and, and, and introduces her to all her friends and is building her up and pumping her up.

0 (13m 43s):
And she’s like, you know, you are so great. You know, the girl really has stars and her eyes for Marsha like, oh, Marsha, you’re the best, what would I be doing here without you? You’ve introduced me to everyone. You’re so LA you’re so kind, you’re so generous, yada, yada yada. And so that friendship started on an equal footing. Okay. Where Marsha is befriending the girl who looks up to her. And what I said to this group of moms was, I said, I’m always very wary of anyone that puts me on a pedestal because of The Marsha Brady Effect, because what happens in that episode, if any of you remember, is the girl ultimately becomes sort of an egomaniac and then runs against Marsha for student president or whatever, and steals all Marsha’s friends and steals Marcia’s boyfriend and beats her, you know, and wins class president and, and ultimately wants to defeat her.

0 (14m 53s):
And I think there’s something I think there’s, it’s, it’s something in our human nature where it’s like, when you look up to someone ultimately it’s because you’re sort of imagining what it would be like to be them. And then when that person is, you know, kind and generous and loving and wonderful, what often happens is the person who was super insecure before and really was like, I would, it must be amazing to be her, to be Marsha when that insecure person starts to get some superficial self-esteem with just the right hairdo and dress and friends accepting them.

0 (15m 38s):
And boys starting to like, like, like she doesn’t really have that self-confidence inside that she has this kind of superficial self-esteem that insecure person ultimately wants to take down the person that they used to put on a pedestal. They want to be that person. And, and so we’ve, so when I taught the moms, The Marsha Brady Effect, you know, many of us were taught the world. It was, it was such an honest conversation. Cause it was like, holy crap. I think that is for sure happened to me so many times in my life, but I’ve been on both sides. I’ve been the Marsha and I’ve been the other girl.

0 (16m 18s):
Right. And, and so, you know, female friendships is my point is, is female friendships are, can be layered and complicated. And I think it’s what so many of us in my private group have been experiencing is I’m like, it’s like a, it’s like a circle of sisterhood love. Like there’s no judgment. And you know, there’s just so much generous, loving support. There’s no competition, there’s no judgment, but I’ve curated that group, right. As the leader. And, and as I’ve curated that group as the leader, like, I make it very clear that we’re having honest conversations because I set the tone, I share my own stuff.

0 (17m 4s):
I’m having the honest conversations. I’m talking about what I’m going through. I very openly talk about my struggles with addiction and things that I’ve had shame about things that I, you know, ahas that I’m having my relationships in my private life. Like I was sharing the nitty and the gritty. And so not for one minute, does anyone in that group think that I have the perfect life? Like I have the life that is that I want everyone to have, which is just a life where I feel fully alive and it’s constantly unfolding and I’m constantly challenged. And I’m constantly brought to my knees and shown my own humility and schooled by my kids who are now old enough to point out the things that I do that drive them crazy are the things that I’ve gotten wrong.

0 (17m 58s):
If that’s what it means to be a family and a person who talks about anything and everything, it’s like, nothing’s off limits. And so we’re having these honest conversations and many of us who have struggled with insecurities, we’re realizing I’m not the only one. And, you know, being a human is messy business. So we get to be the whole thing, right? We get to be the light, dark, the light parts, the dark parts, all of it. And, and we get to have eyes wide open in the process and there’s something beautiful and magical that’s happening as we’re having these real conversations where it’s happening within my groups, that many of their friendships in their personal lives are shifting and changing because they’re having experiences where they’re learning things about themselves and they’re opening their eyes.

0 (18m 51s):
And they’re surrounded with all of this honest conversation that it’s like the superficial conversations and the experiences that left them feeling depleted in their bodies. Me too means that front, some Friendships that we thought were lifers are not lifers. And there’s a grieving process that goes on with that a hundred percent, you know, it’s disappointing when you thought somebody was a lifer and they’re not alive for anymore. So, so back to the mom that I was talking to at the beginning of the, of the, of the episode, she was like, you know, so we talked about like these female friendships and boundaries and things changing and having enough on your plate for all the things that are truly leading you towards that north star.

0 (19m 41s):
And she was like, okay, well that all, like, I feel a lot better and that was helpful, but it wasn’t all about Parenting. And I was like, oh, it was a hundred percent about Parenting. Are you kidding? And she has two little girls. And I said, you know, if you don’t think that your girls are going to experience female friendships and girl, world drama from a very early age, you’re wrong, but how can you help them navigate it if you’ve truly never navigated it yourself or avoided navigated, or just tried to fit in and fit in. And the end I, everything you’ve struggled with when your daughters struggle with it, you won’t have the skillset to know how to help them navigate it.

0 (20m 32s):
So you going through this now is so important, it’s foundational so that when they’re going through all those times, you get to truly show up as the grounded grownup to help them through those hard times. So, yeah, this is the conversation about female friendships and just looking at your female friendships, listening to your body, start there, who lights you up, who energizes you? Who do you feel like, oh, thank God. I just got that over with. I won’t have to hang out or talk to that person again for however much time and really think about, am I, am I, am I just trying to fulfill my sense of belonging by fitting in?

0 (21m 20s):
And is that actually serving me or is that taking up a whole lot of my energy and a whole lot of my bandwidth, good stuff to ponder on. Okay. You guys have a great week.

1 (21m 31s):
Thanks for listening today, guys. I hope you picked up some tips tools, maybe some baby steps for creating more balance and boundaries in your life. And I just wanted to let you know, if you want to continue moving the needle forward in creating this for yourself, having a happier household. I want you to go to my website and check out Mastermind, Parenting dot com. We have three beginning programs, and if you need some accountability and more support, then please look for the one that would be a good fit for you. And as always, we’re on all the social channels under Mastermind Parenting on Instagram, it’s mastermind, underscore Parenting.

1 (22m 16s):
And you know, periodically I do pop up on different Instagram lives, Facebook lives, where I give you teaching and coaching. And I love engaging with you live to help you help your strong-willed kids so that they can feel better because when they feel better, they do better. And I love, love, love, getting to know you guys. So thanks for listening. If you liked this podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review super, super appreciative.

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