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I’m sorry for making the title clickbaity but I couldn’t figure out how to explain this in our two line format. The first thing that comes to mind when I think “girlfriend code” is “sleeping with your ex or current boyfriend.” In one of the segments released from her People’s Most Beautiful interview Jennifer Garner makes it a lot milder though. She says that making you feel guilty for not keeping in touch, or for hanging out with someone else, breaks the code. I feel like the code is reserved for more serious violations involving the most important people in your inner circle. The women who do the guilting thing are the ones whom you never let in, you know? Nobody has time for that and those people are easy to spot, but I get what she means.

[Jennifer Garner] knows what’s important when it comes to the girlfriends in her life.

“Sense of humor,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “And a lack of guilt. I do not believe friendship should or can come with guilt. Like a friend who says, ‘You haven’t called me,’ or ‘I saw you out with someone else.’ That is not part of the deal. That breaks the girlfriend code.”

[Garner] especially appreciates her friendships with other mothers.

“Oh my gosh, I was the world’s most anxious first time mom that ever lived, and I really did it in a vacuum,” she explains. “I didn’t have girlfriends around who were having babies at the same time. I wasn’t part of a moms’ group with my first. I was so isolated that I really missed out on everything.”

Garner has a wealth of support from her tribe. “From girlfriends modeling for me or seeing something and thinking, ‘Oh, I’m going to cherry pick that from you’ and ‘I love the way you handled that’ and ‘I want that sentence in my brain’ and ‘I need to write that down,’” she says. “Because that’s what it is when you are parenting in a community. I mean the moms at my kids’ school are the moms that I look up to and try to emulate.”

“There is nothing more important, other than your kids — no man, no relationship, no anything — than your girlfriends,” Garner says. “You find your tribe, you take care of them, you treat them with the love and respect they deserve, insist on the same back for yourself.”

“If something goes wrong, if you can let it go, let it go. If they’re not serving you, let that friendship go,” she adds. “See if you grow together, [or] if you grow apart, but your girlfriends are the key to life.”

[From People]

Again that’s just an annoyance from an acquaintance, not a code violation. I would put that on the level of being flaky as hell. Like you consider someone as a friend candidate but they’re not reliable so you don’t bother. That said, I bet she has someone specific in mind and I wonder what happened there. Will that person know and be like “that’s cold?”

Garner was also on Ellen this week. She said she “didn’t even know” that People was going to choose her Most Beautiful, that she was “really honored and flattered” and that it was “so nice of People to think outside the box.” Remember when she called out People for running a cover of her without her permission? She also said, of the quote on the title that she’s grateful every day, that gratitude is an important quality to have, especially to model to your children. I thought that was nice actually, I did! I need to remember that more.

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photos credit: Backgrid and via Instagram