A million years ago, I slept with a guy who used to date a friend of mine.

I was no longer friends with the girl. We’d had a falling out almost a year before this random hook up occurred, but prior to that we were really, really close. She had briefly dated this guy, decided she wasn’t into him, and ended it after a few months – no heartbreak whatsoever.

Still, I wondered if I had broken “Girl Code”. The term gets thrown around a lot – so much, in fact, it’s kind of become this naff slang associated with ridiculous and inane “problems” to do with who’s dating who, who’s fucking who and so on.

What girl code is really about is doing the right thing by other women – especially your female friends.

We exist in a shitty, misogynist world. Women are constantly battling against bullshit from men. So maybe we have such strong feelings about “Girl Code” because if anyone should be supportive to women, it’s other women?

But back to the dilemma. Had I betrayed my friend, even though it was a one night stand, things finished amicably between them, and we weren’t even friends anymore? I’m still not entirely sure. I think I’m in the clear, but the moment came to mind again when I came across this Instagram post from one of my online faves.

It made me want to outline for myself what I feel Girl Code is. The rules I want to follow in life, as best as I can, to ensure I’m being a great girl mate and a woman who supports women.

Just FYI – these aren’t hard-and-fast Girl Code rules. I’m still unsure about where the line is drawn between treating your sisters like the goddesses they are, and sacrificing your own wants unnecessarily. But here goes.

DON’T HOOK UP WITH TAKEN GUYS/GALS

Boning people who have girlfriends or boyfriends is breaking Girl Code 101, to me. Put simply – you might be having a fun time. You might be convincing yourself that the girl who is being scorned deserves it, is a bitch, is nothing. She’s not. She’s another human being, and I’m gonna hedge a bet that you wouldn’t enjoy your own partner fucking someone else behind your back.

If you like someone who has a partner, and they like you back – they should do their current partner the decency of breaking things off before taking up with you. That excuse “he/she is the one in the relationship” doesn’t fly, IMO. If you’re aware of the partner, you’re also doing the shady.

CHECK WITH YOUR PAL BEFORE BONING SOMEONE THEY USED TO BONE

Even if they only had a one night stand or a few dates, it’s worth checking in with your friend before going there yourself. My personal rule? NEVER go near a guy/girl who broke your girl pal’s heart in any way, shape or form. I’m talking everything from awful break up to ghosting her after sex. If she cried about it or lamented the loss, I can almost guarantee you she will feel like shit if you go there yourself.

That being said, this one is complex. For example, time heals a lot of wounds. There are guys I’ve boned/dated who I would (and have) gladly encouraged friends of mine to date/fuck. There’s even a few ex-boyfriends I would green light.

And then there are guys I had literally ONE date with where it would straight up ruin me if a friend went there.

My honest take is this – you bloody KNOW when you shouldn’t be going near someone. You can feel the vibe. And if you’re unsure, just ask your mate. Better to keep a good female friendship than have one tiny orgasm, amirite?

DON’T COMPETE WITH OTHER WOMEN

Competing with other women is straight up FUCKED, guys! It’s like the foulest thing, honestly. I’m talking about flirting with someone your friend has told you they like, just because you deep-down want to “win” the person’s attention to make yourself feel good. Or letting dudes tell you you’re the “hot one” of your friends without calling them on their bullshit.

A huge example of this is “I’m not like other girls”. That statement is competition in and of itself. It’s implying that there’s women who matter, who are interesting and unique, and women who aren’t. When actually we are all unique. We all have our own brand of beauty and talent, so actually everyone is “not like the other girls”.

BE SUPPORTIVE IN THE WORKPLACE

Obviously sometimes you work with absolute monster-demons (men AND women) in the workplace. But there’s also this insidious hatred that spawns between women in the workplace on occasion, that’s entirely based out of feeling threatened.

A lot of the time it’s between a woman in power (especially if they’re young) and other women with less senior roles. Think bitching, isolation, petty bullshit – the works. Obviously if someone is just a nasty piece of work, that’s a different story – but check yourself. If you’re treating a woman in the workplace shittily, is it because you’re jealous or threatened by her?

We struggle enough trying to climb up the corporate ladder as ladies, so let’s start supporting each other instead of ripping each other off whatever level we get to.

BE HONEST

This is a no-brainer across the friendship board (guys and gals) but specifically I’m talking about women to women here, and the stuff we don’t often speak up about. If you see her boyfriend/girlfriend cheat, TELL HER. If she asks you whether she looks cute in whatever she’s wearing out and you think she could find better, SAY IT. If you think she looks amazing with her hair up like that, LET HER KNOW.

Sometimes I’ve found myself not speaking up in these scenarios because – gross – I either didn’t care enough and was obsessed with my own appearances, or was jealous that my friend looked so good and didn’t want to acknowledge it. They’re not reasons to stay quiet.

When it comes to the cheating thing, I’ve been the girl who hears something and doesn’t say anything. Sure, if it’s grey-area shit (you saw the partner out with someone and it *might* be suss) it can be best to wait for confirmation. But if you flat-out know some dark shit, be honest.

TAKE CARE WHEN BUYING THE SAME SHIT

This one is a weird one. Basically, you know when your friend has an amazing dress, pair of earrings, or even – as pointed out in that Instagram I shared – a sick tatt? Maybe you want that dress/earring set/tatt, and that’s fine. But it’s Girl Code to chat to them about it, if they’re someone you see regularly or are friends with.

I call this fashion plagiarism (I’m sure a lot of people call it that tbh). It’s basically when you copy someone else’s style or buy something they own that’s quite statementy. It’s just an awkward thing and it *can* be easily sorted with a convo. Most people DGAF if you want to buy the same dress as them! I don’t, for example. But it would kind of be weird if my close mate did it and then wore it 24/7, making it feel like it wasn’t my ~thing~ anymore. If that makes sense.

I have a personal rule in which if I DO buy the same shoes/dress/whatever as a friend, and it’s a statement item (basic shit does not apply, EVERYONE can buy the same jeans, IMO) I check in with them if we are going to the same event or whatever. A friend of mine did this with me when we owned the same dress and it was just nice? IDK. It felt respectful.

DON’T DITCH YOUR MATE FOR A DATE

If you’re out with a mate and someone hits on you, don’t go off with them unless your friend has someone to hang with, or was ready to go home. It’s just shitty to drop your friend and leave them to fend for themselves in a bar full of people they don’t know because some shiny thing has given you attention. Chances are that flirt-fest will go nowhere and then you’ve left your ride-or-die to be a loner for hours, you know?

Often they’ll just let you get your flirt on bc they’re a GREAT MATE, but it’s courtesy to at least include them in the convo, or come back to that hot person once your friend is keen to bail/finds someone to chat up themselves.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS WHEN THEY’RE BEING UNHINGED

We can all lose it sometimes – especially when it comes to dating and relationships. Often during these times we lean on our female friends for advice and support. However, as the friend, calling your mate out when they lose the plot is more supportive than enabling them because you either don’t care about their problem, or are too scared to speak up.

I frequently get obsessed with guys I like, and it means the world when friends give me the hard word as opposed to encouraging me to double text, read very clear statements in a more positive way, or behave in ways that will likely humiliate me.

It’s a fine line – if your friend chooses not to listen to you, then it’s good to support them anyway (within reason). But often if you sensitively tell a friend that guy/girl is NOT into them, that they’re being used, or that delivering the guy they like a cupcake out of nowhere (not a personal anecdote, no way) is certifiably unhinged, they’re going to thank you in the long run.

Image: HBO / Girls