Housewives, Catfights and Healthy Conflict Resolution
Though known for its superficiality, under the nail lacquer and Merlot “RHOBH” teaches valuable truths about family and friendship.
By Lindsey Davis, Iowa State University
Whether you want to keep it a secret or not, we all have our guilty pleasures on T.V.
What’s better than cozying up to binge-watch reality shows with a throne of pillows, a glass of wine and a bowl of popcorn? Nothing. Except maybe your family, your dog or your sense of self-worth. But that’s besides the point.
When I’m ready to unwind and relish in a bunch of middle-aged woman drama, I dial up the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” on Hulu. These rich, spoiled women are constantly causing catfights, and each week you never know who’s going to be mad at whom. They lead lives that I never want to be a part of, except for maybe being a millionaire and driving a brand new Land Rover, which is why the show is so addicting. Yet, underneath the surface of all the incessant, pointless drama, there are some lessons on friendship.
Maybe you have to dig a little deeper to uncover these nuggets, but I promise you they’re there.
Get Mad, Then Get Over It
I used to believe that when someone, especially a close friend, made me upset or angry, it was best just to hide it. I’ve always been the kind of person who shies away from confrontation and for me, there’s no worse feeling than having any sort of conflict with someone I consider a friend.
On “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” there’s no such thing as hiding feelings. When the women on this show get mad, they get good and angry. Confrontation seems to happen at least once or twice an episode. The affluent protagonists are fierce, and they know a thing or two about how to stand up for themselves, even if it means lashing out at a friend.
Now, I’m not suggesting that if you’re upset with someone it should result in an emotional brawl, but I definitely don’t think that anyone should hide their feelings in order to avoid confrontation. Yes, the women on this show can be a little histrionic when addressing their friends about an issue, but it seems like every time they sit down and talk things out, peace and harmony follow.
Disclaimer: Unlike some of the women on “RHOBH,” try to avoid having these conversations after you’ve both had a couple glasses of red wine.
You Don’t Always Know What a Friend (Even a Best Friend) is Going Through
Maybe this seems a little cliché, but this little piece of truth doesn’t always seem to get applied to someone you consider your best friend. Best friends are supposed to know and share everything with each other, but contrary to popular belief, that doesn’t always happen.
For example, some of Yolanda Hadid’s closest friends on the show didn’t believe she was really suffering from Lyme disease. It wasn’t until friend Kyle Richards went to the Global Lyme Alliance Gala to support Yolanda, the honored guest, that she realized just what her friend was going through. Kyle felt awful about doubting Yolanda’s disease, and rightfully so.
This is a true testament to the popular saying “Don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” Obviously you’re not going to know everything an acquaintance is dealing with, but I’m here to tell you that the same thing can apply to your closest, most dear friend, too. Think twice before you’re quick to judge anybody.
Fights Can, And Will, Happen
It’s inevitable. Even the closest of friends fight, as conflict is sometimes unavoidable. People have different mindsets, values and morals, which can often create either healthy, or unhealthy, conflict.
It’s key to know how to deal with differing opinions or ideas that a friend may have.
I’ve seen a lot of bad examples of this on “RHOBH,” but also a lot of good. The women have shown me that the best way to handle conflict is to just be honest with each other. Backstabbing and going around gossiping to other people always ends poorly. Just because conflict may arise in a friendship, and even if your dearest friend believes something different than you, it doesn’t mean you should back down from your beliefs. Always, always stay true to who you are. Bet you haven’t heard that one before.
This Applies to Family Too
If you have brothers and sisters, I’m guessing you either love, tolerate or hate them. If you’re in the latter category, you’re probably used to disagreement. But if you love your siblings, maybe fighting doesn’t happen as often. On “RHOBH,” sisters Kyle and Kim Richards seemingly love each other for the most part, but issues with Kim’s addictions seem to form a wedge between the two sisters. Lots of drama has occurred between the whole group of women because of Kim’s problem.
The acrimony that’s resulted from others getting involved in the conflict shows that family has to come first. Familial loyalty is a priority, and I think Kyle and Kim are learning the importance of putting blood before anything else. Also, don’t let people talk negatively about your loved ones. Stand up for each other. Family should be people you can rely on, and nobody, not even a friend, should come between this.
Though “RHOBH” appears to be a pointless show where middle aged women just catfight and go to yoga classes all day long, it’s actually much more than that. The series showcases friendships, even friendships within family.
I’ll be the first to admit that the drama is addicting and what keeps viewers coming back, because let’s face it, watching drama on T.V. is so much better than watching it unfold in your own life. It’s fun to watch other people’s problems, because it makes us feel better about our own lives. But the lessons on friendship and loyalty are some of the best you can find. I’ve re-learned the value of honesty and dealing with friendship conflict in a healthy way.