Breaking the girl code

All Woman

SISTERHOOD is a necessary ingredient in navigating womanhood, especially with all the things that women have to contend with. This is why a solemn pledge of unwritten loyalty to each one in your circle of girlfriends is a given — it's a way of preserving friendship and empowering each other. And while most women treat these girl codes like a legally binding document and follow them strictly, others have fallen short, broken codes, and have been forced to live with the hands they were dealt.

Below, some readers share their stories of how they broke the girl code, and the repercussions of their actions.

Tavia, 27, entrepreneur:

When I was in my fourth year at university I found out that a police guy who was eyeing me was the ex of a very close friend. My friend had left him and they were cordial but she never wanted to entertain a conversation about him. I didn't mind because I knew I didn't want to explain much to her. He was giving me his money and at first I was just conning him until we got closer and eventually I gave up the goods. His performance was lacking and honestly my conscience gave me a beating the whole five minutes of the performance. Turns out no sooner than we could be done, he texted her telling her about us and how I made a much better cowgirl. It was embarrassing because she had been so good to me that I should have stayed clear of him. It turns out he was doing it to spite her because she had not yielded to him. We are still friends, but not as close as we were before and it hurts.

Charmaine, 24, university student:

A friend had been having a rough night and we chatted up a storm (we were drunk). Anyway, we were talking about guys and we were dishing out guys we liked, two of whom we had in common. Fast forward, and it so happened that while we were out one night one of the guys approached me and we ended up making out. My friend was distant but I didn't read into it until the other girls texted me to say they were disappointed that I was now going out with the guy because she was the one who first said he was her crush. They still talk to me, but we don't hang out much and I don't know if I care.

Tash, 34, guidance counsellor:

My best friend was talking to this guy then she went abroad for work. I was always the third wheel and so you know we had a little friendship thing going on. He got ill close to a year later. He called me up and told me and we just started texting all the time. I tried to help him to cope because he had been depressed. We got close — we talked for several hours each day and so on. I started liking him and conversations became more personal. On one of my visits to him things got heated and we made out. I decided to tell my friend what happened out of respect and of course I would have preferred for her to hear it from me. When I told her she hung up without a word and emailed me a week later with instructions to pack her things that were at my place and leave them with her mom, and hand over the spare key I had to her business place. Her mom and sister gave me a fine cuss out because they believed I had been seeing this man behind my friend's back while they were together. I remained respectful and tried to reach out to my friend but it just made things worst. Three years later the guy and I are no longer together, but we remain very good friends.

Kashine, 29, marketing:

I had a period of drought — no man at all for about two years while I healed from an abusive relationship. Then someone came along whom I liked and I just dropped my friends like hot bread. My friends, who had been my major source of support while I recovered, were deeply hurt. To make matters worse, what I had with the new guy didn't last long. He never did physically hit me but words cut like a knife and guess who I had to run back to? Yes, my friends.

Shauna, 32, teacher:

A colleague of mine tried to pick up my husband in the parking lot at school when he came to pick me up. I was late getting down from the class and when I got into the car he described her, and told me that she had said “psst”, came up to the car window, and handed him a card with her phone number. At that time we had been having problems because he had cheated, but we were working through our trust issues. I had told some of the women at work, and I guess this particular colleague thought that the fact that he had cheated made him an open target for her to step in. I stopped interacting with her after that, even though I didn't tell her that my husband had told me what she'd done.

Ladonna, 29, housekeeper:

I had just broken up with my baby's father, and I guess he wanted to spite me and so started dating one of my best friends, which I didn't know about initially. I found out who his new woman was when they FaceTimed me, confessing to their romance and basically asking for my blessing. I didn't even bat an eye as I wished them all the best because I knew what game he was playing. When he realised that he couldn't ruffle my feathers he dumped her, and she came back to me apologising. She did not know that he had been using her to get a reaction out of me, and was just playing a sick game. I forgave her but cut her off as a friend, and to this day my baby's father still tries to get back with me using these kinds of tactics, not realisng that when I say I'm done, I'm done.

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