Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Fierce female friendships

I don't have sisters by blood. But there is a small band of women who are my chosen family. These kindred spirits make the world so much sweeter. These magnificent women, they are my lifeline.

The past three years have been filled with tremendous ups and downs, often making me reflect on my relationships. When I have something to celebrate, who will be there to receive my good news? When I'm stuck in that lonely dark place, who will be there to throw me a rescue rope?

She who loves me unconditionally.
She who sticks around.
She who keeps in touch.
She who laughs with me.
She who makes a tough call.
She who believes in me.
She who will defend me.
She who thinks I deserve the world.

I was curious to hear what other women thought. So I asked, "What makes a female friendship good and true and forever?" Here's what they had to say.


"Trust, compassion and loyalty are the usual words to describe a friendship. To me, a female friendship is more than something to be needlepointed on a pillow. I consider myself a 'girl's girl' and have many female friendships. What defines a wonderful friendship is the ability to see your friends for who they are. As a young woman, I have enough people raising their eyebrows at my decisions, garment choices, etc. Why try to change another person? It's simply... not good. None of my friends are alike and I love it. They all play their own tune and I'm so happy to be able to listen to the beautiful sounds." 
-Helena, New York City

"It's really simple, at least for me: The relationship is just easy. No judging. It lifts you up. It's natural. We can be our authentic selves. It's comforting and supporting. And we can laugh A LOT... Girlfriends are what keep the world together! On the flip side, I've also experienced the pain that comes from a close friendship going south. The. Worst." 
-Emily, Cleveland

"I think those long-term, fierce friendships are forged when you are out of the nest and adopt a new family. There is something particularly striking about these. Some of them wane and drift away, and a few stick -- like a sister or a brother. Perhaps you bonded over music or a particular subculture, but it really takes compassion and genuine love and total acceptance to stay friends. When I would move away or my friends would move away, I would feel sad that not only I wouldn't see my friend any more, but that I wouldn't be able to make new friends like those, as though I had to be in my 20s in college or unmarried to accomplish this. Now, at 40, married and a mother and living in a new city, I see how silly this was. It can be as simple as taking a couple of hours now and then to have coffee or lunch." 
-Tara, Seattle

"A true, forever friend is one that stands by you and is always there for you even when life's circumstances or physical distance might keep you apart." 
-Greta, Tucson

"Female friendships are my lifeline. In my teens and 20s, it was my girlfriends who I traveled with, hit the town with, spent too much money on uber-fancy handbags with, cried with about bad dates. We exchanged the highs and lows of starting our careers. Building each other up and over analyzing every work day/date/bad skin trauma we were experiencing. In my 30s the game of life got very real with losing my parents within five years of each other to terrible and heart-wrenching illnesses. Then came the unexpected loss of my brother three years after my mom's death. Three of the most influential people in my life gone within [a span] of eight years. During those very dark days, it was my girlfriends who were my family. They were the ones who I relied on most and who I needed the most. And while we were all in different points in our lives -- some were just getting married and others starting their own families -- it was my sisters-from-another-mister who helped me get through some very damning hours and days. They shed tears like I did, sat in hospital rooms witnessing unsightly things, they fed me, hugged me, and helped convince me that one day things would get better. I'd be lost without them." 
-Susan, Chicago

"Vulnerability is the quality I admire most in relationships. Friends who let me have a safe place to be honest and real about things I don't understand, or struggles I have, are priceless. And to know you have people with whom you can fully be yourself, and they wouldn't turn on you. I mean, there is nothing better on earth." 
-Erika, Los Angeles

"It's an almost indescribable feeling to know you have a good, true, forever friendship with one or more females. I think that type of friendship is very similar to the bond that one shares with a soul mate or partner. In fact, I have joked that our best girlfriends are really our true soul mates and that our husbands are just practice in this life. Haha! I will love my girlfriends through thick and thin and with no judgement. I recently lost a close female friend because of judgement she put on my relationship with my fiancĂ©-now-husband. If another female can love you through it all -- you see each other fail, cry, laugh and succeed. That is what bonds the friendship even more. I am truly blessed to have a forever friendship with two different women." 
-Desiree, Las Vegas 

"No matter how close you are to your friend, or how long you've known each other, always respect your friend by putting your best foot forward in any given scenario. This is the best way to avoid any unnecessary hurt. This is what makes a female friendship good and true and forever."
-Jane, Gig Harbor WA

25 famous women on female friendships. (The Cut)
Image via @reesewitherspoon