The Female Troika: The Danger of Three Teen Girl ‘Friends’

Do you think all women fall into a pattern with each other? Novelist Frank Portman does. He discovered a phenomenon of female existence called the Female Troika. This is a rule that girls who travel in threes usually fall into three specific roles: the hot girl, the semi-hot girl and the less attractive sidekick. This, Portman describes, is a recipe for heartbreak—well, at least for the sidekick.


Stage One: The three girlfriends unite in easy-going camaraderie.

Stage Two: The two more attractive females (A and B) lovingly dote on the less attractive one (C) by giving her makeovers, setting her up with friends, and mostly trying to make C more like them. At this stage, this makes C feel better—she is being supported and has a great new wardrobe. A and B also feel great because they are reminded of how attractive they are and feel their helping C is a ‘good deed.’

Stage Three: A and B’s doting care turns more into loving disdain. A and B begin to feel bitterness towards C because ‘she repels guys,’ is ‘needy’ and ‘requires so much of our valuable tutelage.’ It becomes known to C that she is, and always will be, less hot. This makes C less willing to suck-up to A and B and fawn over how wonderful they are.

Stage Four: A and B become so fed up that they decide to replace C with a new sidekick who will make them felt good about themselves.


Not all female groups of three follow Portman’s Troika pattern—but don’t we all know some? We often see this Troika play out with our teen girls. It is a terrible pattern—C’s get hurt, A’s and B’s have a false sense of reality and this phenomenon discourages genuine friendship.


What to Do About Female Troika’s?


1) Talk to your daughters about this phenomenon. Ask them if they think it is true, if they have seen it or even experienced it. Knowledge is the first step towards empowerment.


2) Talk to your sons about this phenomenon. Boys need to be aware of this too so they do not engage in the problem.


3) If you think you have an A or B daughter, help them get really honest with themselves. Ask them why they are friends with their C? Talk to them about equality in relationships and the difference between loving help and loving disdain.  Most importantly, help them remember that feeling better about yourself because someone is in some way ‘less’ than you is not a way to build fulfilling relationships, nor will the ego boost last very long—in the end it will make you have less friends and feel worse about yourself. Don’t let them make excuses like, “I am helping her!” or “She loves it.”


4) If you have a C, show her what a real relationship is. Help her find friends who are loving and supportive not condescending. Teach them that they deserve to have friends who treat them like an equal—because they are equal!


Again, there are absolutely groups of three women that do not have the Troika pattern—amen! But it is a troublingly common phenomenon. As women we need to support each other, not diminish or use each other to get ego boosts. I encourage all who are reading to talk about this phenomenon with friends and daughters to join together as equals so we are all A’s.

Flikr Image From:Dee <3


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2 Responses to “The Female Troika: The Danger of Three Teen Girl ‘Friends’”

  1. Chris
    January 3, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    Wow! I definitely have stuff to look forward to as a father! I am not excited at all about this!

  2. Niyati Mahale
    April 12, 2013 at 1:34 am #


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