For as long as I can remember, The Girl Code has been the imaginary list of unofficial rules and commandments that shape our friendships. It is surprisingly universal, and nearly unanimous despite the fact that none of us draft up agreements with our friends upon meeting. This unspoken code details the actions that should never make our girlfriends question our loyalty or break our trust.
Below are a few favorite rules I collected scouring the internet for the unofficial, “Official Girl Code”:
- Defend your friends in their absence
- Always build each other up, not tear each other down
- Confront your friend when you have a problem with her, Don’t be afraid to have uncomfortable conversations with each other
- Lie to your friend’s significant other on her behalf if you have to, it comes with the territory.
- Never let your girlfriend go to the bathroom alone in public
- Do not try to date, hook up, or become best friends with your friend’s ex or crush
- Do not “slut-shame” each other. Passing judgment on others does nobody justice
- You want to go home and your friend doesn’t? If you arrive together, you leave together.
Simply stated, The Girl Code is the commandments that outline the do’s and don’t’s of a good friendship. Whether the rules are implicit or explicit, they have the power to make or break a friendship.
I was 2 pages deep into a blog about the unwritten rules of female friendships when the Jordyn Woods, Khloe Kardashian, Tristan Thompson scandal broke. A major violation of The Girl Code was on display right in the middle of me exploring the very topic.
For those of you who may have been under a rock for the past week, Jordyn Woods, Kylie Jenner’s BFF, kissed Khloe’s, Kylie Jenner’s sister, very activebaby father, Tristan Thompson about a week ago at his house party. (I know, it’s a mouthful.)
The news of something as small as a kiss gained worldwide media attention because Jordyn Woods was basically considered family to the Kardashian-Jenners. She’s been friends with Kylie for a decade, lived with her, and even made money with the family across their many brands. By kissing Tristan, Jordyn very clearly broke a rule. Boyfriends, of any time — current, past, hell even the ones you’re thinking of dating later, are off limits to friends without discussion. Period.
Yesterday, on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk, Jordyn shared that out of fear of whom she may hurt, she didn’t feel comfortable addressing this topic with Khloe. I can imagine it would have required putting on a real pair of big girl pants, but it would have prevented the sh*tstorm of publicity that followed.
On the Kardashian-Jenner side, things were no different. Instead of having that honest, uncomfortable conversation, the family responded by cutting ties with Jordyn & responding publicly via subliminal messages and blog comments. Their responses ranged from comments under the posts of gossip blogs to Kim teasing Jordan in an instastory video to the tune of “Don’t Mess with My Man!” by Nivea. They removed her from all collaborations on Good American, Khloe’s clothing brand, and sliced the pricing on Kylie’s “Jordy” color lip kit.
It was evident that no real conversation had been held between the women, leaving space for the public to speculate and contribute their own uninformed perspectives. And arguably those actions opened up space and perpetuated the bullying of a 21-year-old girl.
Lena Dunham tweeted:
“Can you imagine if who you’d made out with when you were 21 had massive public shaming consequences?”
“When I was 21 I kissed my friend’s crush in my bathroom during a dinner party. I was inexplicably wearing a dog leash. I stayed in bed for days feeling hot shame. That was enough of a consequence! Nobody slashed prices on my eyeliner brand or whatever.”
She’s right. And I don’t want to imagine. As I watched the whole thing unfold, I realized these women are missing a simple, but important rule of the Girl Code.
- Don’t be afraid to have uncomfortable conversations with each other.
I, myself, once went through my own dilemma with a friend I believe broke The Girl Code. Ready for story time?
When I was Jordyn’s age, around 22, I had a private intimate relationship with a guy who was kind of just a “for everybody” type of guy. We were young and honestly had no intentions of a relationship but knew we really enjoyed our time together. We would find ways to secretly meet whenever we were in the same city, would always be each other’s first call for a good laugh after a long day, and just kind of enjoyed the space in which our connection lived. I only let 4 people in my inner circle know that I was dealing with him. I kept it low because quite frankly I knew nothing real would actually come of us. I did not want to be embarrassed later down the road when he actually did get a girlfriend and honestly, a piece of me was afraid to be viewed as one of the girls he was “just” messing around with.
Anyhow one weekend I went out of the country with some friends for a birthday trip, and it just so happened he was coming into town that same weekend. We connected and realized we would miss each other but planned to catch up for a birthday drink when I got back in town — he would still be in NYC.
At some point during my trip, I changed my Blackberry Messenger icon to a cute picture of my friend Layla and I. That’s not her real name, but we’ll call her Layla for privacy sake. Layla was one of my closest friends at the time and 1 of 4 people who knew about my guy.
(BTW, yes it was during the days of BBM. Shout out to those readers who remember & miss the good time that was BBM.)
After a wonderful trip, I returned to NYC anxious to catch up with my guy for my birthday dinner. I sent him a BBM message to let him know I had touched back down in NYC. His response read “Take that photo down. That chick is not your friend.” Uhhhh… blink. Blink. He was talking about the photo of Layla and I.
I fired off a list of question marks. His response was unimaginable.
“Ashley, that girl is not your friend. While you were away for your birthday, we got together.”
Wait WHAT?! No way. What does “got together” even mean? I immediately dialed his number. He ever so casually answered the phone like “yeah hey.”
“Yeah hey? No hey. What do you mean you got together?” I asked without even taking a breath.
“Well we were all at the club and after I left she slid in my DM’s on Twitter. She asked if I was hungry and said she was getting food and would bring me some. I was drunk and well you know me Ash, horny, so I told her to come on. You know that Drake line? ‘She came through, she brought food, she got f*@*ed, she knew wassup’?”
He paused and waited on my response. Honestly, I had no response for a moment. I was shocked by his blatant honesty mixed with his total disregard for my feelings. He obviously lacked any respect for our situation. Moreover, I was shocked that he was the one to deliver the news — it should have come from my friend. I felt betrayed by her and as if she had taken advantage of the fact that no one knew about my secret. She likely believed it would never get back to me. I thought she was my friend, I thought we lived by The Girl Code? When I was able to collect my thoughts, I finally responded to him. “Ya’ll are both sick as f*ck.” I hung up the phone.
I waited a few days to see if Layla would mention it now that I was back in town, she didn’t. Stuck at a crossroads, a bit like Khloe, I was forced to excommunicate a friend for breaking our “coveted” code of friendship.I called her and asked her to meet me at a restaurant in Midtown to talk. When we sat down the waitress handed us menus and I remember very clearly handing mine back to her and saying “We won’t be needing these. We won’t be here long.” The look on Layla’s face was priceless.
After about 10–15 mins of conversation in which she revealed the truth, I let her know that I was disappointed that she clearly valued 1 night of fun over our friendship. I shared with her that I was hurt by the fact, he told me and she didn’t. But most importantly, I informed her that though our friendship was over, I would not smear her name all through the industry. As far as I was concerned, for someone who broke The Girl Code, I let her off easy. The mature side or whatever mature side existed at 22, kicked in.
Like Khloe, I felt a similar sense of pain and betrayal when it came to my friend who I believed had disregarded our friendship, as well as my relationship. Khloe has every right to hurt, to vent, to sever ties, but it’s also her job be mature enough to approach an uncomfortable conversation with her.
Watching this entire fiasco go down with Jordyn & Khloe made me realize that instead of sharing a laundry list of rules that all women are innately expected to follow here with you, I may be better off sharing ONE rule I believe MUST be obeyed.
Show respect, kindness and consideration for friendships as you build them, grow them, AND end them.
Go ahead and have uncomfortable conversations with each other, end your unhealthy friendships, and come to the understanding of where your personal boundaries lay. Good luck to Khloe & Jordyn. I hate to see two Young Queens go out like this.