Lack of Female Friends in Engineering
Diverse friendships are crucial for personal development and growth. As a girl in engineering, you may find yourself severely lacking in the female friendship department. Unfortunately, the engineering world doesn’t offer many opportunities to meet other women.
This can be quite troubling because female friendships offer a level of comfort and emotional support that male friendships often don’t provide. In an effort to make more female friends, some of us may be tempted to befriend every girl we meet in engineering. While this may be effective in the short term, often times these friendships are shallow and exhausting to keep up.
Finding female companionship in engineering
Female friendships have always been important to me. However, the engineering world can make it difficult to meet other women. The strict course schedule means that you’re stuck with “the boys” all day. And once you hit the workplace, there are even fewer opportunities to branch out and meet women.
Realizing my severe lack of female friends
University is a great place to make friends. Especially in engineering, the sense of comradery really brings classmates together. I was fortunate to find my best friends in freshman year and we’ve been inseparable since.
However, the fact that many of my close friends were guys gnawed at the back of my mind. By the time I hit senior year, I started getting worried. Sure, I had a couple of girl friends here and there, but where was my girl squad? Did I do something wrong?
My anxiety worsened as I started thinking about my future. How will I make friends after I graduate? When I get married, who would I even pick to be my bridesmaids? Will I even have enough girl friends for a bachelorette party? Am I going to die alone?
These negative thoughts were unnecessary and also made my situation worse.
Actively seeking female friendship
In an effort to expand my female friendships, I tried befriending all the women I came across in my daily routine. Classmates, coworkers, and anyone else I would run into throughout the day. My usual approach was to start with some small talk and try to find common interests and hobbies.
This method was received well, but often left me exhausted. In my attempts to quickly make friends, I would sometimes feign interest in unfamiliar topics and ideas. I placed too much importance on female friendships and put these women on a pedestal. While I was able to become acquainted with many amazing ladies, our connections were shallow. I felt like the only thing we had in common was being a women. While that was a good conversation starter, strong friendships needed more substance.
Putting real friendship aside
I was trying to build the quintessential bridesmaid roster I had seen in movies and TV. I focused on expanding my girlfriend circle because I was convinced that my friends weren’t enough.
During this rush to build female friendships, I began neglecting my close friends. This was certainly not one of my proudest moments. Before I knew it, I was putting acquaintances before my best friends. Juggling friend circles was draining. I was tired of constantly trying to make friends. I missed chilling with my close friends. At one point I couldn’t take it anymore.
After some self-reflection, I came to three conclusions:
- Not everyone is going to be compatible as a friend, and no amount of effort can change that
- Having that iconic girl squad wasn’t worth alienating my friends
- The friends I had by my side, although small in numbers, were what really mattered all this time.
I wasn’t going down the right path, and I had to change my attitude.
Organically building friendships
Your engineering social circle may be gender imbalanced, but overcompensating is not the answer. There are other opportunities to make friends. Call up an old friend, hit up a yoga class, or socialize over video games! Not every interaction will result in a lifelong friendship, but a few just might! Friendship takes effort, but it also can’t be forced.
Since these realizations, I’ve stopped obsessing over my lack of female friends. However, I would be lying if I said my lack of female friends didn’t bother me. But unlike before, I’m more focused on quality versus quantity. Instead of juggling many surface-level friendships, I can focus on people I genuinely click with. And finally, I know to appreciate the close friends I do have, regardless of their bridesmaid eligibility.