Forget 'girl/guy code’ – just be a good friend!
Whether you’re hooked on Love Island or not, there’s no way you’ve navigated the ins and outs of life without coming across the idea of ‘girl code’ or ‘guy code’. Breaking these codes can cause a lot of drama... but what exactly are the rules? Who writes them? And, do they even really exist?
Psychologist M Wallace makes it simple when she says: "Essentially the 'code' is about healthy relationships". She explains that friendship means "making someone feel important and putting them before others" and that from this develops "trust, loyalty and love: the glue that holds a relationship together."
There's no guide book...
We all like rules, explains Wallace, because they "remind us of some very important things in life" but just sticking to rules, such as 'don’t let your friend go to the loo on their own', doesn’t automatically make you a good friend.
There’s no guide book to tell you what’s right or what’s wrong, and the 'code' will vary in different friendship groups depending on what’s important at that time. However, the foundation for any friendship 'code' and the motivation for following it should always be simple: you want to be a good friend.
Take the old classic – 'don’t date your friend’s ex'. It’s a no-brainer for a number of reasons: because we don’t want to hurt our friend, because it feels disrespectful, because it creates drama. "Fundamentally," Wallace explains, "what’s being affirmed by these 'rules' are the values that underlie all relationships: respect, care, kindness."
Seems simple, right? Well, if Love Island has taught us anything, it’s that things aren't always black and white. Think about how Amy felt when Lucie got loved-up with Joe – she felt rejected because her friend was suddenly spending all her time with someone else. Or the drama when Maura shocked the villa and set her sights on Tommy – going after another girl’s love interest. In each situation, social relationships were challenged because the islanders didn’t see eye to eye on how the ‘code’ should play out.
... just be a good friend!
Relationships are complex and what’s right or wrong will vary from friend to friend. So, if you’re having bff drama that you want to squash, just remember the golden rule: do what makes you a good friend.
Here are some top tips from Wallace on how to do this – no ‘code’ needed.
- Practise empathy
"Empathy means you understand what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes and how they feel." Wallace explains that you need to have empathy to know "what might hurt your friend and avoid that."
In all friendships, communication is key. The code isn’t written down so it has to be communicated clearly and revised frequently. If you expect your friend to act a certain way, says Wallace, you need to "be open and genuine" and talk to them. You can't be mad at your friend for breaking a rule that they don’t know exists!
- Show them you care
"Showing that you care really can take any form and will depend on those two people and their relationship." For example, you might help your friend revise, book tickets for a band they love or support them get through something tough.
So, remember, rather than focus on hashing out the unwritten specifics of the ‘code’, just focus on being the best friend you can be in that particular situation.
You’ll be declaring your undying bromance like Curtis and Tommy before you know it!