I was talking to a good friend of mine on the phone last week. And – it was the kind of conversation that left me feeling better than when I first answered the phone. She lives in Wisconsin and while we do not get to see each other often we talk on a regular basis and stay in touch.
My girlfriend and I talked for over an hour about our lives, our fears and about the hard stuff we all must face. It was a deep conversation and as always I felt the love and connection we all so desperately need and want.
One of the things we talked about was the importance of friendship and how much we need our girlfriends. Accordingly – I think it is an important topic to write about and address.
Girlfriends have always been important and for as long as I can remember I have had great friends. I am grateful for ALL of my friends throughout the years and as a result appreciate every one of them and the unique ways their friendships have touched my heart.
With that being said, I have found myself in search of the deeper meaning of friendship in recent months. The passage of time and the reality of how short life truly is has indeed reminded me of what truly matters. The list is long but one of the things that has weighed heavily on my heart is friendship.
Yes I have had many friends. And similarly – we all have people who come and go throughout our entire lives. There will be those souls that leave a deep imprint on our hearts and those that stop but for a moment and then pass on through. There will be friends that come and go and conversely, there will be friends that stand the test of time.
I have always valued my girlfriends. But it is in this season of my life that I have come to truly understand how important girlfriends are. I need my girlfriends and nothing can replace the deep connection women share. We all need those friends that we can count on in good times and bad.
Everyone needs to have girlfriends that you can call and you know they will be there but we also need those friends that instinctively know to check in because we don’t want to ask for help. We all need those girlfriends that we can be at our worst yet they will love us anyways. And of course we need to have a friend that we can talk to about anything and everything. It is important that we have those friends that accept us for who we are and do not judge.
Last week’s phone conversation was good for my soul but it also stirred up my emotions and in the end left me feeling a bit empty and sad. I have a lot of friends and yet I sometimes feel incredibly alone. I started thinking about how little I see or talk to some of the friends that have meant so much to me over the years.
It was hard to shake the feeling that while I have a lot of people that I love and care about, there are but a few that truly know me at this point in my life yet alone know what I am going through from one day to the next. And admittedly I do not always know what is going on with some of the people I care so much about. Sadly, it left me wondering who can anyone truly count on if life suddenly falls apart or goes bad. I am guessing that many of you might sometimes feel the same way. Luckily, I do have a few girlfriends that I know would be there in an instant and I hope that everyone reading this has a friend or two that would do the same for you.
Does any of this hit a chord in your own heart? Furthermore do you sometimes feel isolated and regardless of having friends sometimes feel empty and alone? In the end do you crave more time and deeper connections with your friends?
I don’t believe that most women intentionally take friends for granted. I certainly try to be a good friend but know that I sometimes fall short. Life is so busy and unfortunately we sometimes fail to find time for those people and things that matter the most. It has become evident to me that this can’t continue to happen. Girlfriends are a must.
Good girlfriends are a critical piece to our vitality, happiness and health. We ALL need our girlfriends. For this purpose here are a few girlfriend tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t take your girlfriends for granted – you will need them one day.
Life is hard and unfortunately, we will all face difficult times. Divorce, death, health issues, aging, menopause and kids leaving home are just a few of the many things that can turn our lives upside down. I don’t know about you but I really appreciate and need my girlfriends during the dark times and frankly, it brings me comfort to know that there are a few girlfriends that I know will support me and stand by my side. Don’t take those women that are consistently there for granted. There will come a day when you need them to show up and to be your support.
2. If you want good girlfriends you need to be a good girlfriend.
The girlfriend network is not about keeping score nor should it be. On the contrary, it is a gift of give and take and there needs to be a balance. There are people who tend to be givers in life and there are those that tend to be takers. Friendships are much like a bank account. If you are constantly withdrawing from your friendships but rarely making deposits of love and support you might be heading for an empty account when you need it the most. So – make sure that you are supportive and there for your friends when they need you. And quite honestly, giving to others is a gift to yourself.
3. Just show up.
No one is immune to dark days. In fact it is not a matter of if tough stuff will come but when. If you know that a friend is going through something difficult don’t be a stranger. Go to the funeral if they have lost a loved one. Visit the hospital if they are sick. Drop off food or send a card for no reason at all. Pick up the phone and make the call. Drive to their house. Listen. Hug. Tell them you love them. Society is uncomfortable with the tough stuff and sadly, people do not always know what to say so they say nothing at all. Instead of showing up they disappear and wait for a “better time”. There is never a good reason to wait. Today is the better day.
4. Don’t wait for a girlfriend to ask for help.
It is difficult for people to ask for help when times are tough. I have a hard time asking for help and try to deal with things on my own. I like to go with the belief that I am strong and can handle anything. Strong or not, I am human and I sometimes need someone to lean on or talk to just like everyone else. Consequently, most people struggle with asking for help for fear of being a burden and therefore they don’t. Stop waiting around for a friend to ask for help. Take action and reach out.
5. Schedule girlfriend time.
We all struggle with finding time to fit all that we want to do into our busy lives. Sadly, we live in a world that leaves us feeling stressed, worn out, over-scheduled and there never seems to be enough time. With that being said – it is vital to your well-being that you make the time. Move your girlfriends up on the priority list and make sure that you are scheduling time to get together with the women in your life. It is a must have and a must do. No more excuses. We ALL need to have a “tribe” of women that we can count on and they in turn need to be able to count on YOU.
It doesn’t matter what you do – just do something. Go for a walk. Have dinner. Go see a movie. Get together for a glass or two of wine. Host a book club. Meet for a lunch date and shopping. Plan a weekend getaway. Regardless of what you do I can promise you it will lead to a happier life.
There are a million reasons why it is important to nurture and protect your friendships with the women in our lives. In truth – we need each other and without good girlfriends there would be a black hole in each of our hearts.
Girlfriends play a key role in our stories. Women are compassionate and empathetic. We can vent to each other and share our darkest secrets. A good friend can fill a void when we are feeling lost and lonely. Girlfriends can hold us accountable and help to motivate us to reach for our dreams. Women get it and we experience similar things in each season of life. And – there is nothing better than laughing with a girlfriend until our guts are about to burst from the inside out.
We need our girlfriends. Period. I am going to try to do a better job at reaching out to my girlfriends and spending more quality time with them. I would challenge you to do the same. Be that girlfriend that your friends can always count on.
In the end – a good girlfriend will always be a part of who you are and regardless of the distance never too far out of reach.
In Peace and With Love –
Please share your stories and thoughts about girlfriends in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you.