Created By: TitoMosquito on May 6, 2012 Last Edited By: TitoMosquito on April 17, 2015

Women Aren't Friendly

Women often can\'t be friends without secretly disliking each other.

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Trope
I think all women secretly hate each other.
— Jerry Lawler, Monday Night Raw

In fiction, it seems women can't be friends (or aren't very good friends) because they tend to be bitchy towards each other. Often a female protagonist has no more than one or two female friends, but she can't seem to make anymore because they're either Alpha Bitches or there's something about the protagonist that keeps off other females.

Examples

Films
  • Mean Girls is completely based around Deconstructing this. All of the girls in the school are revealed to have said cruel things about each other, and all of them have felt victimised by the same sort of comments because teenage girls are so insecure and vulnerable. The protagonist realises in the middle of a Maths contest thing that bitching about her opponent's crappy make up won't help her win the tournament.

    Obviously this is Unfortunate Implications and it's kind of untrue because boys can also be very mean! Related to One of the Boys, which I guess its the natural outcome in a world where this is the rule.

Live-Action TV
  • Always Sunny In Philadelphia: Deandra doesn't really have close friends, only Athena who she hangs around with to make herself look prettier when trolling bars, and "the Waitress" who she only uses in her cruel manipulations. Meanwhile, Charlie, Mac, and Dennis are often locked in battles and rivalries to prove who is a better friend to whom.
  • Elaine Benes from Seinfeld. She is hardly ever seen interacting with other women rather than Jerry, George, and Kramer, and when she is it is often not in a positive way. If I remember correctly she even mentions that she has a hard time making friends with women, because they tend not to like her.
  • On Friends, Ross drunkenly lets slip that his girlfriend Charlie didn't like Rachel when they first met. Charlie tries to apologise and Rachel says it's okay, girls usually don't like her.
  • Played with in an episode of How I Met Your Mother. Lily thinks she's going to be leaving the country for a year, and worries for Robin, as Lily is Robin's only female friend. Robin says she doesn't get along with other women. At Lily's insistence, Robin talks to a woman crying at the bar. It turns out the two of them have a lot in common, and she could supplant Lily as Robin's best female friend. Lily then gets jealous and sabotages the budding friendship.

Webcomics
  • Looking for Group: When the party takes passage on a ship run by a female captain, she's the first woman they've really interacted with other than the one who's defined by her relationship to the male lead. The two women are about to meet—and the next strip reports that this trope happened for no reason that the men can figure out. The punchline essentially is "wimmenz is crazy."

Western Animation
  • Family Guy
    • Lois Griffin seems to have a problem trying to make friends with women. As she said in "And Then There Were Fewer" when she tried to be friends with Diane Simmons. She thought she made friends with the new female newscaster, but she turns out to be a former classmate of Lois who held a grudge against her for humiliating her (as Lois was an evil cheerleader). Her only female friend seems to be Bonnie. Even she called Lois a "slut" when word got out that she once starred in a porn film.
    • In one episode, Stewie put Lois, Meg, and Bonnie in a simulation with amnesia. When they first encounter each other, they quickly start scratching and pulling each others' hair.
    • In the parody of Return of the Jedi Leia takes an instant disliking to Mon Mothma, presumably for no other reason than this trope.
    Han Solo (Peter): Hey check it out, it's another chick. The only other chick in the galaxy.
    Leia (Lois): I don't like her.
  • The Simpsons. Marge Simpson doesn't have that many female friends. Most even shun her, mostly because of Homer's stupidity. One time, she tried to have some women over, but Homer came in with a skunk. She use to be part of a group of women called the Springfield Investorettes (which includes Helen, Maude, Agnes, Luann, and Edna) who voted her out for being too conservative.
  • In Fairly Oddparents, Wanda doesn't have that many female friends (only two are seen). Having an idiot for a husband probably didn't help much either. Some of the more beautiful women hate her because she's plain, AND for Juandissimo pining over her.
Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • May 7, 2012
    Johnaf
    every thing has its own nature,friendship is relationship and relationship has different definations it depend how you like
  • May 7, 2012
    SKJAM
    Sometimes used to justify The Smurfette Principle. ("We tried adding another woman, it just didn't work.")

    Female and feminist fans tend to hate this trope when it's presented as the norm for women and are not afraid to rant about it in their blogs.
  • May 7, 2012
    TitoMosquito
    I do see this a lot, though maybe it is all a part of the Smurfette principle.

    - "Always Sunny in Philadelphia" Deandra doesn't really have close friends, only Athena who she hangs around with to make herself look prettier when trolling bars, and "the Waitress" who she only uses in her cruel manipulations. Meanwhile, Charlie, Mac, and Dennis are often locked in battles and rivalries to prove who is a better friend to whom.

  • May 7, 2012
    azul120
    How about Women Are Catty?
  • May 7, 2012
    TitoMosquito
    Mean Girls is completely based around Deconstructing this. All of the girls in the school are revealed to have said cruel things about each other, and all of them have felt victimised by the same sort of comments because teenage girls are so insecure and vulnerable. The protagonist realises in the middle of a Maths contest thing that bitching about her opponent's crappy make up won't help her win the tournament.

    Obviously this is Unfortunate Implications and it's kind of untrue because boys can also be very mean! Related to One Of The Boys, which I guess its the natural outcome in a world where this is the rule.
  • May 7, 2012
    DracMonster
    Is this really a female-specific trope? "A mean person doesn't have friends" is People Sit On Chairs, I think. And bullying and ostracizing is hardly gender-specific.

    Seems like Jerkass covers this, really.
  • May 7, 2012
    TitoMosquito
    Someone may need to correct me or add more details.

    • Elaine Benes from Seinfeld. She is hardly ever seen interacting with other women rather than Jerry, George, and Kramer, and when she is it is often not in a positive way. If I remember correctly she even mentions that she has a hard time making friends with women, because they tend not to like her.
  • May 7, 2012
    SKJAM
    @Drac Monster--Thing is, when this trope is in operation, it afflicts even the otherwise nice girl/woman who's The Heart of the team normally, and gets along just fine with the fellows. Another woman/girl enters the room, and they turn "catty" and mean.

    • Looking For Group: When the party takes passage on a ship run by a female captain, she's the first woman they've really interacted with other than the one who's defined by her relationship to the male lead. The two women are about to meet--and the next strip reports that this trope happened for no reason that the men can figure out. The punchline essentially is "wimmenz is crazy."
  • May 8, 2012
    NightNymph
    Compare Territorial Smurfette. May even need some more refining from that trope as they may overlap in some cases if it is a new girl or woman who is being introduced as in SKJAM's example above - which may be more of an example of Territorial Smurfette.
  • May 8, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Compare/contrast...that trope where guys can rag on each other and it's OK because they know they're goofing around, but women can't because they take it too personally.
  • May 8, 2012
    AnEditor
    So all instances of friendship between women in fiction are just aversions? :-p
  • May 8, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Drac Monster: Unfortunately it's based on a real stereotype that women are inherently bitchy and want to tear each other down. Obviously lots of women are like this but lots aren't. Some people will use this to avoid making female friends.

    Related to the Seinfeld example: on Friends, Ross drunkenly lets slip that his girlfriend Charlie didn't like Rachel when they first met. Charlie tries to apologise and Rachel says it's okay, girls usually don't like her.

    I feel like there's kind of a subversion of this where it turns out it's not actually that ALL WOMEN are bitchy, but that the female character is treated badly because she's unlikeable or has done something awful. Like I think the Rachel and Elaine examples are poking fun of those two as main characters (I don't know Seinfeld, but Rachel used to be pretty mean and spoiled when she was younger). I feel like it happens on 30Rock but I haven't seen enough 30Rock?
  • May 8, 2012
    SKJAM
    Hmm, I'd say that this trope is the supertrope, and Territorial Smurfette is the subtrope--and the most commonly used variation. (I now remember seeing that YKTTW, but wasn't aware it had been launched.)

    • Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai: Sena and Yozora seem to be under the impression that the proper way to introduce yourself to other women is to insult their breasts. (This would explain why they're in a club for people with no friends.) They may get better past the first episode, I haven't watched the remainder of the series.
  • May 11, 2012
    SKJAM
    @An Editor: Yes, aversion of this trope (it just doesn't happen) are so commonplace that they're not notable. Another subversion (I'm not sure I've ever seen it) would be for the male character to expect this to happen because he buys into the "women are catty" stereotype, but no, the women who've just met each other get along fine.
  • May 24, 2012
    sigh824
    In Shutter Island, none of the nurses are friendly or respectful towards Edward in their first time meeting him, slighty subverted in that [[ Spoiler They've known him for two years and have experience with his amensia.]]
  • May 24, 2012
    sigh824
    Ignore this.
  • May 24, 2012
    RossN
    I'm not sure a female protagonist only having one or two friends is itself a sign of this trope since most male protagonists are in the same boat because of Economy Cast - especially in a film the protagonist is much more likely to have one or two really close friends even if it might be more realistic to have half a dozen.

    So is the subversion that women get along just fine but men get hypercompetive with each other?
  • May 24, 2012
    SKJAM
    That'd be the inversion.

    As to the previous point, it really only applies if a) it's mentioned by someone that it's odd that the Smurfette doesn't have any female friends, or b) if we actually see the cattiness in action.
  • January 18, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In Family Guy's parody of Return of the Jedi Leia takes an instant disliking to Mon Mothma, presumably for no other reason than this trope.
    Han Solo (Peter): Hey check it out, it's another chick. The only other chick in the galaxy.
    Leia (Lois): I don't like her.
  • January 18, 2014
    IndirectActiveTransport
    Page quote

    I think all women secretly hate each other.
    — Jerry Lawler, Monday Night Raw
  • January 18, 2014
    Chabal2
    • A joke that inverts this: If your wife doesn't come home at night, you can call all of her friends and none of them will tell you where she is. Whereas if your husband goes missing, you can call all his friends, and not only will each of them swear that he crashed at their place last night, but at least two of them will claim he's still there.

  • January 19, 2014
    Arivne
    Namespaced and italicized work titles, corrected an improper Example Indentation and de-Pot Holed The Simpsons example as per How To Write An Example - State the source.
  • January 19, 2014
    Niria
    Played with in an episode of How I Met Your Mother. Lily thinks she's going to be leaving the country for a year, and worries for Robin, as Lily is Robin's only female friend. Robin says she doesn't get along with other women. At Lily's insistence, Robin talks to a woman crying at the bar. It turns out the two of them have a lot in common, and she could supplant Lily as Robin's best female friend. Lily then gets jealous and sabotages the budding friendship.
  • March 28, 2015
    TonyG
    • The Big Bang Theory
      • When Raj's sister Priya dates Leonard, she and Penny have an icy relationship. Penny still secretly harbors feelings for Leonard, and Priya acts condescendingly toward's her and even tries to get Leonard to stop seeing her.
      • When Penny meets Raj's girlfriend Emily, she finds that Emily acts distant towards her. She later finds out it's because Raj told Emily about the time he and Penny shared a bed, even though nothing happened. (Raj: "In my defense, I'm telling everybody.") At the end, they seem to patch things up, but after Penny sees Emily out, after the door closes they both say to themselves "I hate her."
  • March 28, 2015
    Illemar
    Directly averted in Brooklyn Nine Nine by Diaz to Santiago. "We work in a police force full of dudes. We gotta have each other's backs, okay?"
  • April 16, 2015
    blueflame724
    This occasionally comes up in Futurama between Amy and Leela; Amy constantly makes backhanded compliments and insults towards Leela while Leela tends to want to outcompete Amy in some fashion.
  • April 17, 2015
    bitemytail
    • In Persona4, thanks to getting to meet both Chie's and Yukiko's shadows you become aware of the subtle resentment they hold towards each other. The two of them remain friends regardless.
  • April 17, 2015
    Rjinswand
    I think the name needs changing. As of now, it sounds as if women aren't friendly to anyone, while the trope is about women not being friendly to other women.

    How about Female Friendship Doesnt Exist or even All Women Hate Each Other?
  • April 17, 2015
    HeroGal2347
    In The Importance Of Being Earnest, Jack says that his ward Cecily and his fiance Gwendolyn will be "calling each other sister" before the day is out. Algernon snarks that, "Women never call each other sister before they've called each other a lot of other things first." He's proven right when Gwendolyn and Cecily get into a verbal catfight later.
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