Anne Litwin

Author, Keynote Speaker, Workshop Trainer and OD Consultant

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Friendship Rules for Adult Women

The participants in my study confirmed what scholars have found about women’s friendship expectations: there is a core set of rules or expectations. The table below shows that these expectations include unswerving loyalty, trustworthiness, and the ability to keep confidences. Friends share gossip and air problems, are good listeners, offer self-disclosure, practice equality and unconditional acceptance, affirmation, sympathy, and healing—and they do not discuss or negotiate their friendship rules or expectations.

Competing with a Friend for a Promotion: Can This Relationship Survive?

Recently a female client sent me an urgent e-mail message that said, “I need to talk! I just found out that a good friend and I are both applying for the same promotion, and I’m afraid this will ruin our friendship. What should I do?” I understand her concern and have heard it many times from other women. In fact, I remember when, earlier in my career, I almost did not apply for a position in my company that I really wanted because another woman I knew also wanted it. I did apply, I got it, and the opportunity changed my career trajectory. I did not know how to salvage the friendship, though, and it did not survive. Fortunately, I now know better how to handle this situation and will share some tips later in this blog. First, though, we need to understand more about why this situation seems to raise concerns and challenges for many women.

Practice Equality

An excerpt from my book, New Rules for Women, available at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0982056982/):

The friendship rule of practicing equality can create confusion for women in the workplace in at least three different situations:

  • When we are reluctant to compete with each other for jobs
  • When we are reluctant to support each other because a colleague got promoted or has more education
  • When we are reluctant to do the self-promotion necessary to get ahead in most organizations

“New Rules for Women” Blog

Welcome to the launch of my new blog, “New Rules for Women.”  I hope this blog will stimulate conversations about the issues and challenges that women face in the workplace. It can also be a place where we celebrate our strengths and exchange ideas for how to build upon them.  I hope that both women and men will engage in these conversations as a way to understand each other better and learn to support each other more.  We need to work together to bring about the many changes needed in our work environments to make them more inclusive of all of us and make our organizations more productive.   I look forward to hearing from you.

Women’s Friendship Rules at Work

Relationships at work are important for getting things done, and they increase our ability to enjoy our work. Of course, we can be friendly with both female and male coworkers, but my research and the subject of my new book, New Rules for Women, shows that women often have different relationship expectations of their female colleagues than of their male colleagues. I call these expectations women’s friendship rules.