Navigating the Complexities of Female Friendships
Raise your virtual hand if you think that adult female friendships are complicated. I want to tell my daughters that their friendships will get easier when they are adults; however, I’m learning this is not exactly the case. As life becomes more complicated with kids, marriage, and careers, friendships don’t always grow in the same direction we’re headed as individuals.
I want to open the dialogue about female adult friendships because I don’t think we talk honestly and openly about these issues. Many of us look at other women’s lives through the lens of social media, and we think that others have these perfect relationships. We may even feel embarrassment or shame that as grown women, we struggle with friendship. Sometimes we blame ourselves and we start to question our likability or, even worse, our worth.
In recent years, evolving friendships have caused me to think about what I need from the women around me as I become the woman I want to be. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned (and am continuing to learn!) with the hope of sparking some dialogue around a topic I wish we women discussed more openly.
the four lessons i’ve learned along the way:
A Good Friend Will Always Be There.
“Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you need is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
We need friends who will be with us during the highs, lows, twists and turns. If you’re only sharing the highs with friends, or feel they aren’t truly there for you when you’re down, maybe that’s someone who doesn’t need to be in your inner circle.
A true friend should want to hear about all aspects of your life and will accept the turns you take as you change and grow without ever questioning your worth. That’s a forever friend.
We All Feel Alone at Times.
Do you ever look around and think everyone has a solid friend group but you?
First, you’re not the only one. Not every phase of life will come with a group of women. Sometimes, just one or two close friends to call at any time is enough. It all starts with focusing on yourself and what you need so you can attract the right friends.
Second, I’ve found loneliness is natural in a world of Instagram and Facebook. Most people don’t post when they’re feeling lonely, but they do post boomerangs drinking champagne with their girlfriends! Regardless, keep in mind that social media shows a highlight reel, not real life.
A Strong Friendship Requires Effort.
Strong friendships need nurturing. Check-in, make time, and be open-minded, supportive and forgiving. If a friend is important to you, the effort is well worth it. But just as you need to contribute, you also need to gain something. It can’t be one-sided. When we work together to cultivate our friendships we all win.
Letting Go Is Hard but Sometimes Necessary.
When you realize a friend is bringing you down or she isn’t willing to put in the same effort, it might be time to let go. This has been really difficult for me to face at times, but sometimes you just need to let the friendship fizzle out, hopefully with no hard feelings. As you change, friends from past phases of life may not come with you, but the good news is, you’ll make room for new friendships that fit into the next phase of your life.
Here’s to cultivating strong female friendships that will make us even stronger women!