South Asian women are consistently pushed and probed about when they are getting married and to whom. As we grow older and the more we’re pushed, the more we may spend time having these conversations with our own peers, friends, and coworkers. We then place value in our self-worth based on whether or not there is a man in our lives. If we’re tired of being asked meaningless questions like, “When are you getting married?,” why are we pouring meaning into this question and allowing it to seep into every crevice in our lives?
I’ve never been more reflective about the conversations I have versus the ones I don’t until I became drained by the ones I was having. I’m talking about the endless hours of conversation about the guy who didn’t call you back; about the man you loved for years and is now dating someone else; the guy you can’t seem to find the courage to speak to. Think about the last time you were out with your girlfriends. What was the longest part of your conversation about? We sit for hours upon hours picking apart questions like “Do you think he’s interested?” or comments like “I can’t believe he would hurt me this much. I feel like I can’t move on from this.”
In the end, do we feel any better about ourselves? When we declare time as a “no men zone,” but discuss topics regarding men for a majority of the time, does it mean we’re talking about ourselves? It’s about time to make an active change and challenge ourselves NOT to talk about men during our next ladies’ night out.
This challenge will make you feel more empowered, important, and all around better about that nobody who dumped you or what’s his name that didn’t call you last night. It’s time to ask each other more.
[Read Related: I am Not Married And I am Happy]
Here are 5 topics you and your best gals could be discussing right now:
- Current career aspirations or failures: Venting frustrations about work, but also bringing great minds together to decide on effective solutions, is important for women to do more often and together. Our careers occupy most of our time during the day and are probably the reason for many of the stresses that we carry around with us. Figuring out solutions to some of your most frustrating career issues with your friends can not only ease stress but can assist in helping you find a new path you didn’t see before. I love sitting with my friends and really delving into how we can make our job experiences better or how we can actively make decisions that positively influence our happiness and career goals.
- The presidential candidates: Gun control, women’s reproductive rights, the economy, inequality, and so many more issues are going to be in the hands of the people currently running for president. We may hear enough about our presidential candidates on the news or radio, but understanding where your friends stand in terms of candidates can really open up perspectives you haven’t thought about or you simply didn’t know before. These are the people who are going to make crucial decisions on women’s health and equality. It’s important to get your best gal pals together and talk about what you really need and want for your future.
- The girls who shop together, stay together. This might no longer be true if you all don’t budget together, too. Spending is the most difficult part about shopping and it can be a real burden on any woman’s pocket if she does not have a budget. Not only is budgeting important for everyday necessities, but it’s also imperative that we save for our future. I’m not talking about creating a savings account for your future wedding with someone you haven’t even met; I’m talking about a retirement account. Yes, you read that correctly. It may seem odd, but saving for retirement now can mean not working into your 90s. Although the age of retirement may seem far away, it is incredibly important to start saving now before sharing your life with someone else or starting a family. So, spread the love and the next time you get together, talk about what it’s like to manage your spending and how you can save for a more secure future.
- How is your best friend’s mother doing? Talking about family can be a truly therapeutic experience and it’s one we don’t spend enough time discussing with the ones closest to us. Since family is what connects us at our core, and spending time catching up on the well-being of our friends’ families is important because it lets us know how they are doing as individuals. I always appreciate when my friends ask, “How’s your mom? or “What’s the deal with your brother? Did he find a job yet?” Not only does this demonstrate a natural care for my family, but it also communicates that my friends are authentically interested in all parts of my life – not just the details concerning the current guy in my life.
- Discussing your health with your friends opens up a window to important political debates that are occurring at the moment. Recently, New York became a leading state in ensuring menstrual pads and tampons are available to women in shelters, public schools, and correctional facilities. To think that a basic necessity hasn’t been available to girls and women in NY and many other states is ridiculous, to say the least. What else don’t we know about the people making decisions for our bodies? Why aren’t we discussing our needs and rights for ourselves? It’s imperative to think and discuss what you can do together to promote women’s health.
Taking time to talk about what is important to you may mean that you need to spend time talking about a relationship, but we are all more than our relationship or lack thereof. We are encompassed by opinions, thoughts, and wonderful ideas that we should be proud to say out-loud in conjunction with talking about our relationships with men. Asking each other more is about rejecting the conversations with people who help create the negative self-worth we may feel in ourselves because we’re not married or because we’re single. Don’t let them win and don’t let yourself believe that your worth is based on whether or not a man is in your life. As women, one part of standing up to this is by asking and being persistent in discussing topics and issues that have nothing to do with men. Challenge the stereotypes of what we ask women by asking each other more.