A few years ago I watched the The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for the first time and my reaction was as follows: “I don’t get it. These people are supposed to be friends?!” Between all of the backstabbing, gossip, sabotage, lies, weave pulling and champagne tossing, the ladies of the Real Housewives franchise have inadvertently written a “how-not-to” guide for adult female friendships. Love them or hate them, you can learn a lot about friendship from these over-the-top drama queens.
1. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. We realize that if everyone followed this rule, The Real Housewives franchise (and reality TV in general) probably wouldn’t exist. However, unless you want your life to be filled with non-stop drama, it’s a good one to follow. Sometimes it’s just best to bite your tongue.
2. Be humble. There’s a huge difference between being grateful for what you have in life and flaunting it in everyone’s face. Doing the latter will definitely earn you some enemies, or at the very least, some eye rolls. Take it from Nene Leakes of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, reminding everyone “I’m rich!” isn’t going to score you any friendship points.
3. Keep money out of the friendship. Accidents happen. For example, you may accidentally overcharge your friend’s credit card after they make a purchase at your Vancouver boutique (sound familiar Reiko and Jody?) When this kind of thing happens, remedy the situation quickly and discreetly. Don’t turn it into an issue that drives a wedge between you.
4. Know your boundaries and don’t cross them. It doesn’t matter how much champagne is involved, having questionable, drunken sleepovers with your friend’s daughter or doing body shots with their significant other is never cool. They’re called boundaries. Respect them.
5. Honesty is (almost always) the best policy. Unless you’re looking for trouble, don’t plan covert vacations that exclude certain friends or try to conceal the fact that you hooked up with your friend’s husband before they met. Even if you’re not in the wrong, when people find out, it will get messy. Guaranteed.
6. Treat others as you want to be treated. Many of the housewives could probably benefit from this piece of advice: If you are catty and backstab your friends, they are likely to be catty and backstab you back. It’s called karma and it will get you every time. Be good to your friends if you want them to be good to you.
7. Don’t talk about your friends behind their back. Once again, if all the Housewives followed this rule, there wouldn’t be a show. However, these ladies gossip so much it seems like their lives have turned into one big game of broken telephone. If you feel the need to constantly talk about your friends behind their back, maybe you should re-examine why you’re friends with them in the first place.
8. Listen actively. It seems like many of the on-screen arguments could be averted, if only both parties really listened to what the other was saying. When you have a conflict with a friend, take a step back and try to see things from their perspective. It could save the friendship.
9. Remember, it’s not all about you. Don’t assume that because your friend mentions her children, she’s automatically criticizing your parenting skills. Really listen to what your friends are trying to tell you before jumping to conclusions. Sometimes it really isn’t about you.
10. Support your friends when they need you. If the Real Housewives have taught us anything, it’s that good friends are hard to come by. Be kind, nurture and support the friends you have and they’ll likely do the same for you.
Simone Paget is a freelance writer and the author of Skinny Dip, a cheeky blog about love, sex, relationships and everything in between. When she’s not writing her heart out, she loves wandering around her city, large cup of coffee in hand, in search of the next great story.