Friends, Relationships

7 Girlfriends That Every Woman Always Needs – Matthew Fam

A life without girlfriends would be a very dull, depressing one indeed. From a friend who gives you honest fashion advice, to one who lends you a shoulder to cry on, these are the 7 girlfriends that every woman always need.

1. The Fashion Consultant:
Forget hairstylists or personal shoppers. Having a fashionista girlfriend on your side can save you from a dreaded style mishap. And we’re not talking about friends who would blindly praise any frock your don. This friend will be direct and honest with her opinions. Like that time when you decided to trim your bangs by yourself in desperation:giphy

2. The Love Guru:
This girlfriend has sagely dating advice without even consulting love horoscopes. She also has a good hint of which guy is suitable for you based on your recent dating history that she has effectively memorised. When she tells you to avoid drunk texting a guy who- in her spot-on guy analysis- is just a player, do yourself a favor and listen. To. Her.

3. The Travel Buddy:
Planning a holiday can be a stressful event by itself, what with hotel bookings and the sorting of itineraries. Can you imagine adding travel buddies into the mix? What you need is a girlfriend that either has similar travel interests as you- be it in shopping or museum hunting- or is willing to compromise (of course, you should be willing to do so as well!).

ABD4F1B04FFC41848426C609E578170E4. The Comedy Queen:
When you’re having a bad day at work or in desperate need for some cheering up, pencil this girlfriend in for a lunch outing- pronto. She can turn a quiet coffee joint into a riot filled with your guffaws. Yes, when you’re in her company, passerbys may even whip you disapproving glances at your boisterous conversations. But let’s face it: you’re probably having too much fun to care!

5. The Saint:
Friendships are bound to come with their series of conflicts and disagreements. But what makes them stronger is the ability to get through them with forgiveness and understanding. Unfortunately, not all friends are willing to start on a clean slate- especially when a dire deed is committed (you dating her ex, perhaps!). So when you find a girlfriend that graciously forgives, you must never let her go.

6. The Comforter:
This girlfriend’s contact is ever ready to be tapped on Whatsapp in times when you feel like this:tumblr_inline_mlqadytMmi1qz4rgp

A typical conversation with her usually begins with a string of crying-face emojis, followed by a total word vomit of your troubles. While some friends would simply tune off, this girlfriend will take the time and effort to hear you out- even to the extent of comforting you and offering a meet up. She is an angel.

7. The Daredevil:
She lives life on the edge and is the one to force you to try things you never would on your own- say, reverse bungee or bikram yoga. Often times, you will silently curse to yourself for even entertaining her insane requests. However, what you fail to realise is how she’s helping you get out of your comfort zone. A keeper? Definitely.


What kind of girlfriend do you think a woman should have? Share with us in the comments section below!

About the Author: Matthew Fam is a contributing writer of Material World, and has worked at Cosmopolitan Singapore as an intern and contributing beauty assistant. He writes, teaches, and performs for the stage. Matthew enjoys museum visits, Singaporean theatre, and spends too much of his undergraduate allowance on magazines.


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2. Am I A Horrible Friend Because Of This? – Matthew Fam

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Opinions, Self-Improvement

Am I A Horrible Friend Because Of This? – Matthew Fam

We don’t like to admit it, but many of us feel it. Jealousy towards our friends is something kept mum for fear of being seen as immature or irrational. But what happens when this begins to fester into bitterness that affects your friendship?

Can we have a frank, honest conversation here?

I confess: I have ever smiled and looked at a friend straight in the eye, while harbouring malicious thoughts. Now, before you decide to call me the worst, most insincere, most heartless friend ever, let’s all agree that jealousy is a totally natural emotion.

So, let’s call this friend Samantha, or ‘S’.

Ever since secondary school, I’ve always shared my desire to study and work overseas with S. Then, years later, when the opportunity to attain this dream finally came around (my entrance scores were good, my personal essay was smashing) I was held back by financial constraints- just as I was almost at the finish line. S, on the other hand, joyously texted how she got accepted into a prestigious university in Los Angeles, California.

This was when things started to get iffy.

At first, I was:


But a part of me on the inside was feeling:


Don’t get me wrong- I was still very happy for her. But there was a creeping tinge of bitterness that I couldn’t curb. And I remember how I felt so confused and guilty about it. When someone as close as a childhood friend gets the very thing that you so strongly desire, it does hurt.

When I thought I could get away suppressing my feelings and ignoring this incident, I was so wrong. A year later, I found out that S got an internship in the media industry during her summer vacation there (a way to vault you ahead of the competition in getting an entry-level job, and hence, an overseas work visa). Well, that didn’t help my feelings of jealousy to say the least. I started distancing myself from S, and it soured our friendship. In a weird, perverse way, it was as though she was stealing what was “rightfully mine” to claim.

In other words, I was becoming a jealous, bitter b____. It was a lose-lose situation!

Sure, things between the both of us now are much better after I decided to share my feelings; but some friendships don’t go down as well due to a lack of opening up and being honest with each other.

I think this boils down to not admitting such negativity because, 1) we’re always concerned about putting ourselves in the best light, and 2) we so tightly hold- no, claw– on to the expectation of needing to control our emotions. It can be embarrassing to admit jealousy, lest we get slapped on with labels of being irrational, immature or just downright cuckoo.

Honestly? I think it’s perfectly okay to feel this way. We should never be ashamed of our feelings. The question lies in what you do with them. Owning up that there’s an issue at hand is always the best way forward. And while you can’t stop your friend from achieving success in her life, here’s what you can do when faced with these negative thoughts:


NOT a good idea.

Do not lash out on your friend.

Just because you’re feeling upset about her success, doesn’t mean that she did anything wrong! Acting out on your frustrations in the form of giving the cold shoulder or an icy response would not solve the root of the problem.

Be thankful for what you have.

Think of it this way: you may have something that your friend so strongly desires too. If we keep up the relentless search for things that we don’t have, will we find the time to pause and appreciate whatever little blessings are present in our lives?




Don’t compare your journey with someone else’s.

It’s easy to feel the urge to peg yourself against the success of someone else- especially if she is your age. But remember that we are on different life journeys that are unique and incomparable. It’s like comparing apples with oranges!

Take this as an opportunity to focus on yourself.

It could be that your jealousy is stemming from certain insecurities you’re feeling! Try learning a new skill or pick up a hobby, like pilates. Being good at something gives your self-confidence a boost, and snips away any inadequacies you feel.

Talk it out.

When you talk through a complex situation, it allows you to organise your thoughts and get to the bottom of why such feelings are present in the first place. Talk to someone you trust. If she is willing to be a good listener, you’d get a good, cathartic release of this negativity.


About the Author: Matthew Fam is a contributing writer of Material World, and has worked at Cosmopolitan Singapore as an intern and Contributing Beauty Assistant. He writes, teaches, and performs for the stage. Matthew enjoys museum visits, Singaporean Theatre, and spends too much of his undergraduate allowance on magazines.

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Friends, Relationships

The Power Of Peer Pressure – Vanessa Tai

In about a month, I will be running my first 21km race, together with the other Material World founders. Now if you know me personally, you’ll know that I used to hate running. As Denise mentioned in her post, it’s a monotonous activity – “when you’re pounding the pavement, every second feels like a minute.” So how did I transform from being a non-runner to being a half-marathon participant?

Peer pressure.

I may be yawning but at least I made it!

I may be yawning but at least I made it!

On my birthday this year, Debs and Lili eschewed the traditional birthday cake-and-beer route and dragged me to the running track instead. There, I discovered that running with friends isn’t as boring as running alone. In fact, it can actually spur you on to run more (hey, if they’re not stopping, neither am I!) From that day on, one thing led to another and I soon found myself running almost every day with Debs, waking up at ungodly hours and actually -gasp- downloading running apps and setting training goals. While I’m still not confident about finishing the race with a decent timing, I’ve definitely noticed a marked improvement in my fitness levels. For one, I can run longer distances without getting worn out and my energy levels are definitely way higher. But for me, the real bonus is how my clothes aren’t as tight-fitting as before … score!

According to Celestine Chua, founder and life coach at Personal Excellence, positive peer pressure is when “your friend encourages you to take action in an area of your life which you’ve been neglecting or are doing poorly in,” or when “your friend accounts you to goals that you’ve set for yourself.” This is certainly true with regard to my newfound running habit. If it wasn’t for the constant cajoling of Debs and Lili (I use cajoling here, but we all know some bribery was involved), I wouldn’t have started running and subsequently reaped its many benefits.

Of course, there is negative peer pressure as well, which I’m sure most of us would have experienced at one point in our lives. As we grow older, peer pressure is no longer the stereotypical scenario of your friends persuading you to try a cigarette or to nick a few items from the drugstore. It’s subtler, but no less toxic. In a not so distant past, I used to feel very pressured to keep up with appearances because of the company I kept. This meant buying designer goods and dining at expensive restaurants even though I could scarcely afford it.

Do you feel pressured to keep up with your friends?

Do you feel pressured to keep up with your friends?

Because I was relentlessly comparing myself to the people around me, I often felt frustrated and miserable. According to Chua, constantly comparing ourselves to others is actually a reflection of our own insecurities. Unfortunately, constant comparing only feeds the insecurity and doesn’t solve the problem. Here’s what she suggests:

Focus on solving those insecurities at the root. For example, if you are always comparing how others are in great relationships but not you, then work on attracting a compatible partner into your life. Secondly, focus on being the best version of yourself and live your best life by mapping out your personal goals and achieving them.”

As for me, I soon found my own voice and beliefs by forcing myself out of my comfort zone and taking part in various activities on my own. When you’re not hiding behind your friends’ achievements, you start to discover things that you’re good at and what you truly believe in (versus what your friends influence you to believe.)

Regina George ... the most toxic friend there is!

Regina George … the most toxic friend there is!

If you’re reading this and feeling vexed over certain friendships, ask yourself these questions:

1. Is your friendship causing you more anguish than joy?
2. Is he/she putting in little or no effort in the relationship?
3. Does the same issue keep cropping up even though you’ve tried addressing it previously?
4. Does your friend constantly expect you to adhere to his/her lifestyle?
5. Is the friendship preventing either of you from growing as individuals?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, perhaps it’s time to re-think your friendship. We each have a limited time on Earth; why spend it with people who make us feel lousy?

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. She likes her friendships the way she likes her beauty-regime – low-maintenance but effective. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

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Friends, Relationships

A Toast To Female Friends – Deborah Tan

Friends who drink together ...

Friends who drink together …

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about dying friendships. I would just like to make it clear here that I don’t have friendships dropping dead around me every other day. This unfortunate phenomenon happens … maybe … once every couple of years, where many of us experience a life-changing event like marriage, childbirth, relocation etc. Remember the saying, “Your friendship won’t change as long as you understand that friends change”? It is definitely true and something worth bearing in mind. But as and when a relationship does end, you just know it.

Today, I would like to talk about the importance of having female friends.

You are probably curious. Isn’t that like a, “Duh? You’re a woman, of course you have female friends.”

That’s not quite true for my case.

While I have some solid friendships with women, for a period of my life, I found myself more comfortable hanging out with the guys. It wasn’t until my first job in a women’s magazine that righted the male-female balance again. And I’m honestly happy when that happened.

Friendships with women are lauded often, much written about, and portrayed poignantly in mass media from books to movies.

Who else can give you the empathy you need when you just can’t pick yourself up cos it’s “that time of the month”?

And who else will willingly share their egg tart with you?

And who else will willingly share their egg tart with you?

Who else can nod understandingly along as you rant and rave about bitchy co-workers, AND not judge you for putting down your “fellow women”? Who better comprehend the strange dynamics we women have amongst ourselves – where one moment we are all “for the Sisterhood!”, one moment we go, “I wish her nice boyfriend dumps her!”?

Who else can display such indignation on your behalf when you bring up the topic of your exes, or announce that your crush has set his sights on someone else?

Women friends – they may not make sense all the time (like rationalising why it’s okay to spend $5,000 on a bag) but they always make it.

They know when you are ranting, you are not asking for a solution. You are just asking for a listener.

They know when you are feeling insecure about yourself, they should chime in with something positive like, “It’s his loss, you know you are going to find a much better man in 5 minutes!”

A friendship with a man is like possessing a toolbox – you know it’s got the ability to fix many things but you may not always need to take it out.

A friendship with a woman is like wearing a bra – only has one function but without it, everything points down.

Post-run picture! Join us if you can!!

Post-run picture! Join us if you can!!

Having strong ties with your female friends have health benefits too:

1. It’s been found that women with strong social female ties live longer than those without. Those without strong social ties with other women face health risks similar to overweight people or smokers.

2. Time spent with female friends is a great de-stressor. While men have a “fight or flight” response towards stressful situations, women are more likely to “tend and befriend”. Which is why when we are stressed, we tend to our young (and maybe bake some cookies), and seek some face-time with a female friend. When we spend time with our female friends, our bodies naturally produce the hormone oxytocin, which is a natural feel-good hormone that can help mitigate the effects stress has on us.

3. If your female friends have a healthy attitude towards their bodies, you are more likely to feel more attractive too. This shows the impact our girlfriends have on our self-esteem – if positive, this bond can be a powerful thing for our body-confidence. So be sure you are generous with your compliments! There’s nothing that quite makes a woman’s day when she receives something as simple (and genuine) as, “That dress looks great on you!”

The Material World team goes to a running track near the Botanic Gardens to run at least once a week. If you feel like you need some buddies to keep you on track for a fitness goal, why not just pop down and join us? Leave us your name and email address in the form below and we’ll send you a weekly note informing you of the time and place to meet up!

Material World Running Club

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and is really worried that she won’t make it past 12km of her half-marathon. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

Friends, Relationships

How To Lose Your Friends In 10 Ways – Tan Lili


If, for whatever reason, you wish to alienate yourself from everyone in your life, doing a combination of these would do the trick. But if you hold your friends near and dear to your heart, let this list serve as a reminder of what you shouldn’t do. After all, we often take the ones closest to us for granted – a little reminder is what we need sometimes.

1. Adopt A Holier-Than-Thou Attitude
It would be rather hypocritical to think we are above those who judge because, as much as we’d like to think we don’t, we all do. But knowing that being disparaging is wrong barely recovers a fraction of your lost karma points; what we shouldn’t do is vocalise our groundless judgements of others and encourage discrimination or spread rumours.

2. Make Everything About You
Your friend’s having a bad day? Nah, you’ve got it worse. She just got promoted? So what? A hottie asked for your digits last night! The world revolves around you and you alone; everybody else takes a back seat.

3. Flirt With Her Closest Friends
If you’re not genuinely interested in them and your intent is to have your ego stroked, know this: go F with someone else. Her buddies are strictly off limits; a decent friend would protect them from potential heartbreak – especially from someone she’s introduced to the circle.

4. Don’t Make An Effort To Be Part Of Your Friend’s Life
She’s always the one doing the asking because you’re “too busy”. Admit it; you’re just not that into her anymore.

5. Go All Single White Female On Her
On the other end of the spectrum of how to effectively lose your friends, you want to be as involved as you possibly can in her life. Not only do you ask to hang out with her every weekend, you attempt get to know all her family members, friends, and pets – dead or alive.

6. Nudge Her Only When You Need Her Help
So, she works in an awesome company and you want to find out more about it – never mind that the last time you two spoke was, like, 20 years ago, when you were 10 years old. It would’ve been commendable how some people go the extra mile to make small talk if it wasn’t so exasperating. Though this isn’t nearly as bad as if you …

7. Spring A Sales Pitch At Her After Years Of Silence
Always more than happy to catch up. But if you are only getting in touch because you are hoping to sell us something … ummm …

8. Killjoys, Make Some Noise!
You have something negative to say about anything and everything – from sentient beings to inanimate objects. Allergic to the idea of having fun, you make it your personal mission the kill everyone’s buzz. Well played, Grumpy, well played.

9. Throw A Bitch Fit
You throw tantrums like you lose your friends (read: quite quickly). Your sense of self-entitlement leaves you thinking it’s a given that your friends put up with your brattish behaviour. You’d better thank your lucky stars your friends have a reservoir of patience … until it runs dry.

10. You’ve Changed
People change, life goes on … and sometimes, we have to accept that we are the ones who’ve changed.

About The Author: A founder of Material World, Tan Lili has previously worked in magazines The Singapore Women’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan Singapore, as well as (now, the online counterpart of Her World). She is now a freelance writer who works on this website full-time. Lili hopes to travel the world, work with wild animals, and discover more awesome Twilight fan-fiction. Follow her on Twitter @TanLiliTweets

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