It has always baffled me when I have heard some women say that they do not get along with other women. From my experience it is usually said very matter-of-factly. Or if there are women that get along, I will often hear, “We get along so well because we are like dudes.” I should mention that I am a therapist and have clients of both genders and from my experience on a professional level being a “dude” does not automatically make you laid back and easy to get along with. Ugh… If only you can be a fly on the wall in some of my therapy sessions. So if you have the ability to get along with other women and gender is not a factor, what is it? In order to answer this question I made a list of my female friends whom I consider trustworthy. We all have some commonalities, but at the same time we are all very different. As I was discussing my thoughts about this with a close friend, it suddenly hit me, it is loyalty. The women whom I am close to are loyal to me and me to them. We are girl’s girls. I will explain what I have decided that phrase means through highlights of my friendships with the females in my life that I am close to.
I will begin with one of my female coworkers. We actually met when we were about twelve years old in middle school. Although we were not extremely close through our school years, anytime we were together it was comfortable, we had fun. When I started my current job and found out that she was employed at the same place, I was absolutely ecstatic because I have always felt positive and at ease in her presence. So as most of us do, we spend the majority of our days at work. So this gal has become my “work wife.” We drink coffee together in the morning, talk about our personal lives, take walks together, and of course do our job together. When I took this job almost two months into it, I started going through a divorce. And as you could probably guess, I was an absolute mess. I do not think this wonderful woman in my life can actually comprehend how much she saved me during this time. I could go into her office and just burst into tears and she made it safe for me. If you’ve read my previous blogs, I am a person that is prone to anxiety. I remember a specific time when I had one of the most severe panic attacks I ever had, she came into my office and took deep breaths with me and literally held my hand until I calmed down.
I remember when I decided to continue my education and go to graduate school. I can recall my stomach being in knots the first day. It almost felt like I was entering kindergarten again. I am generally a shy person at first, so when I arrived to my first class and sat down, this tall, blonde girl sat next to me and just started talking to me nonchalantly. I ended up having coffee with her that day and I’m not sure if fate had anything to do with it, but we ended up having the exact same classes. We have been friends for nearly a decade now. She is the one that has forced me to get out of my comfort zone. I have tried so many new things because of her. She moved out of state a couple of years ago, however, a few months ago when I went to visit her, I was reminded of how much positive energy I had just being around her. The first night I arrived, she and her husband took me to a piano bar. It was a Thursday night, so there was not many people. She literally grabbed my arm and took me onto the dance floor. We were the only ones dancing and it was probably one of the most fun nights I had in quite a while. This girl truly challenges me to “dance like no one’s watching.” She was also the one responsible for organizing a birthday weekend for me in Vegas on the first birthday I had as a single woman in years.
Which brings me to the next set of women who I am close to. Before I begin this part, I want you to take note that I have not known four out of five of these women an entire year, but am close to each one. I mention this because a lot of times we believe that it takes time to get to know someone truly. I disagree. There are times when you need to trust your intuition, I am so glad that I did. There were a total of six girls, including myself on this trip to Las Vegas. I knew two of them and met the other four when I arrived. The six of us gals shared a hotel room. This was not a suite, but a regular hotel room with one bathroom. We slept three to a bed. There was not one fight or sense of uncomfortableness the entire weekend. We shared drinks and meals together and went to a show together and had an absolute blast. When returning to New Mexico, these women welcomed me into their circle. Since that trip, I have gone on another trip with them, had several dinners with them, created a book club with them and we have now joined a soccer league together. They may not even realize this, but their presence has been a big part of my healing process.
There are some women in my life who I do not see on a regular basis, however, each woman in this group and I have had this agreement that we will meet up for dinner at least one time a month. I find myself looking forward these dinners. We all take turns talking about what has happened in our lives within the last month. I have grown to cherish this time. These dinners end up being hours long. Although I do not see these women on a daily basis, we recognize how precious our time is and we take our time listening to and validating each other. There is not a single one of us that is on her phone. In this group, we have all been through divorces. One other woman went through a divorce around the same time as me, so we are able to relate to each other. The others are able to give us advice and empathize with this new phase in our lives. When I got divorced, I felt like I was different from everyone, like I had somehow failed at life because I could not make my marriage work. This group of women have helped me to recognize that I am not a failure and that I can use my past experience to make healthier choices.
The next woman I want to speak about is actually one of my yoga instructors. When I first started regularly attending yoga classes, I would go to random classes, until I came across her class. I then started checking the schedule to see when she would be teaching class, although all the instructors are great, I felt a different kind of comfort and fulfillment in her classes. I felt comfortable enough to tell her about a recent breakup and how it had been a struggle. She was able to relate to me and talked to me about a breakup she had and how yoga helped her heal. I can still recall the class in which I truly allowed myself to forgive the person that I was in the relationship with and tell her about it. Although we are not extremely close, she is the type of woman that I believe can make anyone feel comfortable in her presence. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago, I realized that she truly was a girl’s girl. One day she approached me before class started and began to apologize about a particular song that played in the previous class. Here’s some background, the most recent guy I had a breakup with is in a band that is popular in New Mexico, and one of his songs played. I actually did not notice and reassured her that it was fine if she played his band’s music. When class started, she started her playlist per usual. As class progressed the music continued. At one point a new song started. She immediately leaped across the room and changed the song. It didn’t take long for me to recognize that it was a song from that particular band that she changed. And although I have come to a point where I have truly forgiven this person and am not upset when his music comes on, her changing the song was a simple, yet beautiful way of her letting me know that she was truly a girl’s girl.
There are some girls in life that seem to just instantly get you. This next woman is one that completely gets me. She is also a therapist. She is one that I have been able to shed tears with on numerous occasions. Ever have those days when you feel horrible, but you force yourself to put on a front and look positive? She is one that I cannot put on a front with. She will look at me and instantly know that something is wrong. She is vital in my support group of gals, although I know it’s unhealthy, I have the tendency to bottle up my emotions. With her in my life, it is almost impossible for me to keep things inside. She is the one who I would say hears me when I do not even utter a word.
I am one of those girls that sometimes has to repeatedly make the same mistake more than once. I often will say, “Yup had to slam my head a few times at rock bottom before I realized I needed to make a better choice.” I try as best I can to not live with regret, but in times of weakness I get upset with myself for making bad choices, when I truly should have known better. This next woman is one that I feel completely comfortable confessing all my sins to. She never has the look of judgment on her face nor has she ever uttered a judgmental word toward me. When I tell her something that I am ashamed of, she more often than not will begin with, “Been there.” And then go on to tell me about a similar bad choice she made and how it helped her to make better decisions.
The next women I want to discuss are my sisters. When I was younger, I naively believed that all sisters were friends, just because of the close friendships I share with my three sisters. We all live in different states now, but the distance is not a challenge for us, as we talk, text, or video chat nearly every day. I know without fail, that anyone of them will be there for me at a drop of a hat, and all three of them have proved that. My oldest sister has to be the most extreme one out of us. When she found out that I was going through a divorce, she literally hopped on the next flight to New Mexico just be with me. And even tried to convince me to move in with her so she can look out for me. My younger sister, I have to say, is the most patient of us all. In tough times in my life, I cannot recall how many times she stayed on the phone with me the entire day, even to the point where we both would fall asleep while being on the phone. And my youngest sister is the one who has always helped me recognize my inner strength. When I have come to points in my life where I truly have felt like giving up, she does not allow me through her words. I can recall her telling me at one point in my life, “It’s okay to feel sad now, but you have to keep going. I need you in my life.” And she will go on to tell me how I have helped her in the past. My three sisters have always made it clear that I matter to them. And again, words cannot express how grateful I am for these three women in my life.
The final woman that I want to speak about is my mom. She is one in my life that has always been constant. She has seen me at my worst, my best and all of the in-betweens and has never abandoned me. She has taught me how to empathize with others, but at the same time take care of myself. She is truly the ultimate girl’s girl, as she raised four girls who understand the importance of being loyal to each other regardless of the situation. I believe that my three sisters would agree that the way she raised us is the reason why we remain so close. When we have conflict with each other, she will listen, but will never take sides. Instead she will encourage us to talk to each other. Through her example I have been able to enjoy the friendship of many wonderful and intelligent women.
I want to conclude this in encouraging you, Reader, if you are a female to be a girl’s girl. It is important that we support each other. We live in a world that consists of so much conflict, that it does not make sense for us to create useless conflict between each other. The world, both male and female, tends to label women as emotional and full of drama, let’s challenge that. It is a simple idea, but so little have enjoyed the benefits of a female friendship. I encourage you to let your guard down, and allow yourself to be a girl’s girl. I can tell you from my personal experience that these women that I have been blessed with in my life have made me a better person and have helped me live a more healthier and productive lifestyle.
So I will say it again, “Be a girl’s girl.”