In our Healing Choice Groups for women, I am so heartened and proud of how women care for each other. We begin each new group introducing our Group Courtesies. Among other things, each woman agrees on principles for maintaining confidentiality -- respecting each other\'s stories and circumstances.

The relationships and friendships I\'ve witnessed being formed within a group are built on a standard and expectation of healthy behavior where trust and bonds of intimacy can flourish.

Gossip and bullying are on the rise

The relationships formed in our groups are a far cry from the gossip culture in our world today.

Though there\'s nothing new about this kind of behavior; gossip, backbiting, betrayal, old school bullying and cyber bullying among girls and women has been on the rise for years, creating drama and trauma among women.

It would stand to reason then, that many of you reading this have been the subject of other women\'s bad behavior, affecting you with feelings of rejection, isolation, and shame. That reality could make a person very hesitant about joining a group of women for mutual healing.

But I believe that when light is shined on the concern upfront, it dissolves the secretive cover where gossip dwells. The key to speaking of it highlights that each woman wants respect for herself and in turn is willing to give the same.

Code of 12 Courtesies

This same idea can be introduced into all our relationships, but it does take courage to ask. Being good to other women really does feel better.

Here is a Code of 12 Courtesies, a list to stick with that will help you, and help another.

Look for an opportunity to suggest this mutual code of courtesies to your friends. Number 4 can be one of those opportunities:

  1. Treat women the way you would want to be treated in any circumstance.
  2. Don\'t say something about a woman that you wouldn\'t say in her presence.
  3. When a derogatory or jealous thought pops in your head, pray for that woman. You don\'t know the needs or deep brokenness she may carry.
  4. If a woman (or women) talks unkindly about another woman, instead of engaging, simply adopt a line of response such as \"she\'s not here to defend herself,\" or \"how about save that thought til she\'s here to defend herself?\" or \"I wonder how you talk about me when I\'m not here?\"
  5. If you disagree with another woman on a matter, stick with the issue at hand. Don\'t use personal insults as a substitute for a good point.
  6. If you have a hurtful issue with a woman, go to her in private, not to another girlfriend. Say only what is true and helpful to bring resolution.
  7. When you do need to talk something out with a third party, don\'t seek the woman that will wallow long with you and keep you stuck. Instead go to the wise, confidential woman you know that will empathize, pray and offer solid counsel to lead you to a good place.
  8. If a woman brings a hurtful issue to you about another woman, be that wise woman in no. 7 for her.
  9. If he is committed in some way, (dating, engaged, married, or separated) just walk away. Yes, even if you don\'t know her.
  10. If your girlfriend is even mildly interested in him, leave him alone.
  11. Forgive your offenders. Ask forgiveness for your offense. Even if you have no hope or desire to restore the friendship.
  12. Be the lady you\'d like your daughter to grow up to be.

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