I am very good at getting mad at people. I hold grudges and I am not very forgiving when I have been wronged. So a while back, when I told one of my friends that the guy I had been seeing was also seeing another girl, it was a surprise to everyone involved that I didn’t incite a small apocalypse.

I’m not sure what prompted me to actually be mature about this situation. It’s not usually my go-to reaction.

However, I decided to take the personally less-traveled high road and, instead of hurling myself into a fit of rage, I went ahead and tried to talk to this girl. There might have been a miscommunication. Like maybe he had a twin brother with the exact same name that I didn’t know existed and was actually dating this other girl. Or, there could have always been the more plausible scenario, like it was just a rumor and I was nervous and upset for no reason.

So, after class one day, I messaged this girl on Instagram, saying I had a weird question and asking if she wanted to meet for coffee. We met, talked and, after the obligatory complement of her outfit, I jumped right into it and asked if she was seeing the same guy that I was.

And nope! It wasn’t a rumor! The moment our conversation started, it was clear this girl and I were seeing the same guy. I know that if you watch any teenage girl drama movie from the early 2000s you would expect me to push her in front of a bus, but, to be honest, I couldn’t bring myself to hate her. I ended up sitting and talking with this girl for a hour, and not just about our shared boy. By the end of the afternoon, I had decided to go out with her later in the week.

By the time that night came around, I was a nervous wreck. I was worried there was going to be some underlying tension, or some unspoken competition. Right before we left, I was chastising myself for even entering this situation. I mean, come on — it turns out this girl’s boyfriend was also seeing someone else, and she’s supposed to be nice to her now? This isn’t “John Tucker Must Die” — and even if it was, I had a feeling I was the one about to be played.

But, as it turned out, I had nothing to be worried about.

Our shared dumb ex didn’t come up once during the evening. We laughed, danced and both of us even ended up finding new and different guys during the course of the night. Thank u, next indeed.

The more we got to know each other, the more we both realized how much we had in common. Something that started out as a potentially hostile situation turned into a fun night with a new friend. This guy may have been a jerk, but even I could admit that it turned out  he has great taste in girls.

What shocked me the most is how people reacted when we shared our stories. Yes, we are friends. No, we don’t secretly want to kill each other. No, we certainly aren’t having a threesome with that guy either. Now please go away.

It shouldn’t be such a shock to people that women can be friends. For what seems like forever, there’s been a message pushed by society that all women secretly hate each other, and the pressures to be perfect are causing a toxic competition. Instead of learning to support each other, women are fighting to be seen as number one in someone else’s eyes.

The lack of opportunities available to women doesn’t help this situation. Not only do we need to meet the unreasonable beauty standards of perfection, but now we need to fight for the one seat left, that’s really only there in order to check the “gender diversity” box. It’s no wonder people find it so hard to believe that women can be civil to each other.

Now I know that going to a bar with one girl one time doesn’t solve this problem, but I still see it as growth (no matter how small). Instead of trying to fight each other for the one random guy, we managed to find something better, and create a friendship much better than any relationship with him. We are both funny, smart and kind women, and the fact that we are able to recognize this shows we are capable of being supportive of each other.

There needs to be a culture of supportive women to counteract this aggressiveness and competition. We need to break out of the fight club that we’ve been forced into. Instead of fighting for the only seat at the table, let’s just learn to pull up another chair.