The World Needs More Wednesdays
You’re the girl with the seat on the corner, straddling the legs awkwardly as you try to fit into the swatch of leftover table.
You’re the girl invited to the party—sometimes—but never the one at the center of the crowd who everyone turns to see walk in.
You’re the woman in the meeting who tries to speak up but is always an afterthought to the more boisterous voices in the crowd.
You’re the one who has never had a friendship bracelet, a best friends forever necklace, or someone to drink mimosas at brunch with.
You’re the one on the edges, the fringes of the group. You’re the one always trying to step into the inner circle a little more but never quite making it work. And, if you’re being honest, it’s hard being the invisible girl on the fringes who never quite fits in enough to be called one of the crew but isn’t completely on the outskirts, either. You’re somewhere in the middle where you just feel invisible.
Life in your twenties or thirties isn’t like the movies—we all know that. It isn’t always filled with the girls’ trips and the best friends you can call and confess your sexual exploits to or go for drinks after work in that work-to-weekend look. There’s really nowhere to where that sparkly shirt to or anyone to call for a mani/pedi date or a girls’ brunch. For so many of us, female friendships aren’t the thing of a chick lit novel. Even though social media tries to make us think otherwise, many of us women in adulthood struggle with female friendship. Even the somewhat dysfunctional friendship in Firefly Lane seems out of our realm because we don’t even have a Tully to love/hate. In honesty, many of us smile in the group photographs or at the luncheons—but behind the mask, we just feel alone and, quite frankly, like there’s something very wrong with us.
Why Female Friendships Are Challenging
As one who has consistently been on the fringes of female friendship her whole life, I’m here to tell you that the more and more I talk to other women in person and online, the more I realize that this isn’t a rare occurrence. So many of us women feel exactly this way—like some sort of female friendship predilection alluded us in the gene pool.
Some of it certainly is a result of the chaos that is adult life. Whether it’s our careers, kids, significant others, pets, families, hobbies, or just life in general, things are hectic. It’s difficult to make friendship a priority sometimes, and for many of us, it just falls near the bottom on the list of priorities. Connection, true connection, requires time, and that’s something a lot of us don’t always have the opportunity to put in.
For some of us, the lack of friendship comes from hesitancy and walls. Many of us have tried to be vulnerable in the best friends’ necklace kind of way only to be backstabbed. Once you’ve been hurt by someone you thought would be a lifelong friend, it isn’t easy to trust again. Even when we feel someone getting close or find a potential friend, we sometimes sabotage it because we don’t want to risk getting hurt. Female friendships are complicated relationships, even though the movies want to make you think that’s not the case.
And sometimes, it’s just that who we are differs significantly from the mainstream. We might try to be who we really are only to get weird looks from the main group of women in our lives. We may feel so different than the women in our workplace, our families, or our hobbies that we just feel it’s easier to gravitate to the edges so we don’t risk being embarrassed. Our teen years often remind us that not fitting in is a shameful thing, and we carry that with us into adulthood.
But I think there are lessons to be learned here. Maybe it’s not about trying to escape from the edge to worm our way toward the center of the group. Maybe, instead, it’s about learning to love the fringes and own the fact that we belong exactly there.
Be a Wednesday
So many blogs and articles I’ve read try to give you advice on how to fix your friendship woes. They tell you where to meet new friends, how to play nice, and how to make those connections. But I’m here to tell you—don’t change who you are to fit into the girl group. Truly. I think the real answer to our lack of friendship is to accept who we really are and be unapologetic about it, even if that means we have to stand outside the circle sometimes.
The older I get, the more I realize this: Maybe some of us don’t fit in with the traditional female friendship model because we were never meant to. Maybe the popular, girls’ trip girls aren’t actually our crew. Maybe we were meant to accept our otherness to inspire others, to connect with those who also feel invisible. Maybe it is when we own our placement on the fringes that we can really abate the loneliness and find our true sense of connection.
In truth, maybe more of us need to learn to be a Wednesday Addams as portrayed in the Tim Burton adaptation. We need to stand firm in our outfits that don’t match the others. We need to stop smiling to impress others, stop trying to be part of the crowd. We need to learn to dance at the party to our own rhythm and not care who is watching or poking fun at our eccentric moves. We need to learn to love the fringes sometimes and own our otherness. We need to bask in our weird, our different, our aloofness in order to not only reach our own greatness but to attract the kind of friends who will accept us for who we are. Even Wednesday eventually finds a friend in Enid, not because she changes who she is or tries to fit in but arguably because she stays unabashedly true to herself.
I think more of us need to be a Wednesday and step into our truth, our own version of ourselves, and know that it’s okay if that puts us on the edges sometimes. Happiness can be found in all sorts of ways, and connection doesn’t have to be the trip to the winery and movie nights like social media portrays.
In short, those of us who struggle with female friendship need to learn that the best friend we can ever have is ourself. We need to learn to validate ourselves and not seek validation from others. Wednesday doesn’t look to others for approval—she is fine with being who she is and unapologetic for her own sense of worth.
This isn’t to say we don’t all need connections or should push people away on purpose. It’s more about being your own friend first and foremost and learning to love who you are, even if that doesn’t make you popular. We all need to learn that we don’t have to have girls’ trips and mimosas to be valued. Being alone sometimes doesn’t have to feel lonely. And, in truth, there are worse things to be than to be alone—like being someone you’re not.
I think the lesson we can all learn from Wednesday is this: Keep showing up exactly as you are. Keep putting yourself out there, sure, and keep looking for connections when you can.
Keep sitting at the edge of the table if you have to … but don’t be afraid to take up more space. Keep speaking up in the meeting, but don’t be afraid to get a bullhorn if you need to because you know your ideas are valuable.
And don’t be afraid to walk into the center of the party if you’re on the edges. Some people won’t get you. That’s fine. Because I promise that somewhere, there’s a girl on the edges just trying to find the courage to do just that—and maybe that’s the encouragement she needs.
Maybe if more of us on the edges stepped into the spotlight in an unapologetic way, if we showed our otherness and our weirdness, if we showed we aren’t afraid to stand alone—maybe more of us Wednesdays could find each other.
In short, you don’t have to be the popular girl or the girls’ night girl or the one the others laud in order to be happy. I think the world needs more Wednesdays.
Or, in other words, the world needs more of you, girl on the fringes, exactly as you are.
L.A. Detwiler is the USA Today Bestselling author of The Widow Next Door with HarperCollins UK as well as numerous other thriller novels. Follow her on Instagram for more advice for modern women, inspiration to chase your dreams, and book recommendations.
USA TODAY Bestselling Thriller author with Avon Books (HarperCollins), The Widow Next Door, The Diary of a Serial Killer's Daughter, and other creepy thriller books