The Real Housewives of (pick a city: Orange County, New York, New Jersey, Atlanta, Beverly Hills, Miami, and the canceled D.C.), have shown us glimpses into the lives of people from all over the country and in different groups of friendships. We see them fight, support each other, make up, and more.
While our lives are probably much different than most of the Housewives, our friendships probably aren't. Here are fifteen friendship lessons we can learn from the Real Housewives.
1. Apologizes Are Hard to Get Right
Not all apologies are created equal, and never is this more apparent than on the Real Housewives series of shows. People stumble (Theresa's apology to Caroline on Real Housewives of New Jersey), blame others for the fact that they have to apologize, or just continue to tell their side (Aviva's apology to Sonja on Real Housewives of New York). None of these tactics will get you to a place of forgiveness, which underscores the point that getting an apology right is hard work.
2. What You Think Happened Didn't Really Happen Like ThatIn real life, things happen and people agree or disagree about what happened, and you move on because no one has proof either way. On reality TV, however, there's a clip that can prove you wrong (or right!) or make you see that the way you thought it all went down is completely off. It reminds us that we should be a little bit more flexible when we insist that we're right or wrong.
3. Talking Behind Someone's Back Can Be Catastrophic for a Friendship
There is a joke about the Real Housewives that everyone talks behind everyone else's backs. In one episode recap, Carole Radziwill from the Real Housewives of New York (RHONY) wrote:
"Aviva talked behind LuAnn's back. Heather and I listened behind Aviva's back. Mario talked behind the front of Jacques back. Ramona chimed in over Heather's back."
As funny as that is for the RHONY girls, talking behind the back of a friend can cause real trouble. This seems especially true when friendships are in the beginning stages and people are feeling each other out to see how much trust they can extend.
4. Excluding People Gets You in Trouble
Last year on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Adrienne Maloof got upset with Lisa Vanderpump because Lisa had her daughter's bachelorette bash at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, and not in Adrienne's hotel, the Palms. Adrienne was also upset because she didn't even know the party was going on that weekend.
On RHONY this year, Ramona Singer was upset that Heather Thompson took the girls to London but didn't invite her.
Bottom line? You're not required to invite people you don't like, but be prepared for backlash if you exclude them. No one likes to feel as if people are gathered together and talking about them behind their back. (See point above.)
5. It's Hard to Know Who to Trust
One reason the RHONY cast has been fun to watch this year is because half the girls are new to the show. This means that three people know each other and three others need to establish themselves into the group. New friendships are being formed, but some people are finding it hard to know who is sincere or not.
When you're first getting to know a group of people, it can be hard to figure out who is worthy of your trust. Someone you think is fun because she gossips and laughs with you may just turn around and gossip about you. Another person you thought was quiet and boring may just become your best friend. Trust, like making real connections, takes time.
6. Sticking Up for a Friend Sets You Apart As a Person of Character
Watch any of the Real Housewives shows and you'll see people talking about each other when one of them is not around. This is reality TV, after all, and it's part of what makes things interesting. The folks on these shows also get a chance to do a one-on-one camera interview where they tell us what they thought of a particular person or situation.
Seeing this on screen reinforces just how important it is to stick up for your friends in real life when they aren't there. There are some Housewives who do this very well, and others who stink at it. You decide which is which.
7. Holding On to an Argument Exhausts EveryoneBy everyone in this case, I mean even the viewers. Seeing some of these women continue to rehash the same old argument is downright exhausting. It reminds us that in real life, the ability to let an argument go and agree to disagree can be valuable to the peace of a group.
8. People Just Want to Be Liked
One thing that strikes me over and over when watching Real Housewives is how easily the women get their feelings hurt. This brings up a good point: people want to be liked. No matter who they are, they want to be treated with kindness and respect.
9. Forgiveness Means You Don't Bring It Up Again and Again
The Housewives aren't unique in that they get forgiveness a little wrong sometimes. Namely, they say they forgive and then continue to bring up the problem over and over, sometimes months and even years later.
We're no different in this respect. I've heard people say things like "I forgive but I don't forget" and that isn't quite the concept of forgiveness either. Bottom line is if you're having a problem forgiving, work on it so you can free yourself of the hurt and won't need to bring it up again.
10. Vacations Don't Necessarily Bring You Closer
Anyone that has ever been on a big trip with their friends can relate to the fact that sometimes, it causes problems in their friendship. Never is this illustrated more than on the Real Housewives. Who will forget the New York Wives trip to Scary Island, or Kim Richard's and Company trying to celebrate Mauricio's birthday in Hawaii, or the Jersey Girls and their trip to Napa.
You can't hide when you're on vacation, so you usually get to see your friends at their worst, like when they first get up, have had no sleep, are hungry, and are doing things they don't necessarily feel like doing.