I had a lot of friends growing up, and they definitely all shared my vision. In fact, they were all exactly like me! All of my friends were white, middle class, and homeschooled, and they all shared the same religious beliefs that I did. This is because I only ever met other girls my age at church or in a Christian homeschool co-op, and I only ever got to see a friend frequently if our parents were also friends and our families got together regularly. Thus my friends were generally the children of my parents’ friends.
All of my friends were girls. This was probably largely a result of the strange coincidence that none of my parents’ friends had sons my age, but it was likely also furthered by the strong belief in different roles for boys and girls. I also think that the concern that if I knew a boy, I might somehow end up falling in love with him or kissing him or something, against my parents’ wishes, contributed to my not ever going out of my way to seek friendship with any boys my age. And in reality, I would not have known what to do with a guy friend if I had had one. After all, guys do not generally have tea parties, play with dollhouses, cook, or sew. Regardless of the reasons behind it, the fact that I only had girlfriends meant that eventually, when I went to college, I had to figure out how to deal with guys my age from scratch.
My friends and I often discussed our beliefs, but because we were in agreement on all the particulars the result was that we simply moved ourselves further and further into Christian Patriarchy. We were all devoted believers, and our discussions made us only more fervent. Head coverings, skirts only, staying at home rather than going to college – it was all on the table. It was like we had somehow tied our worth to our level of devotion, so the more devoted we could prove ourselves, the more holy we would be. Because of this, several of my friends almost talked me into staying home and not going to college. I admitted to them that they were right, we as girls shouldn’t go to college and should instead spend those years serving others. Yet at the same time I had to reconcile this new-found realization with my parents’ strong assumption that I would go to college. In the end, my parents expectation won out over doubts that had built up in my mind, largely planted there by my friends.
For the large part of my childhood, my friends ranged from one year older than me to three years younger than me. However, when I was in high school a number of factors resulted in my not seeing my closest friends very frequently. In response, I made several new friends, but they were six or seven years younger than me. This meant that at seventeen the friends I spent the most time with were ten and eleven years old. We had good times, tea parties, dollhouses, and all, but our friendship caused some interesting dynamics. For example, they looked up to me a great deal and this both gave me a lot of influence over them and meant that they would affirm pretty much anything I said or did.