Finding and Maintaining Fulfilling Female Friendships
The thought of female friendships can be thought of as an oxymoron for some. The world would have us believe that this cannot coexist – women forming loving, reliable, and supportive relationships. The prevalent belief out there is that female friendships are marked by jealousy, competition, strife, and toxicity only to name a few.
Though this is true for some friendships, it is not the only experience there is. When done right the bond of female friendships can build, encourage, challenge and support. Those who have built and maintained good and strong friendships will attest to how those relationships have held them together, helped them to be the best versions of themselves, and pulled them through life’s struggles.
Breaking stereotypes about female friendships.
The stereotypical view being pushed out by mainstream media of how women behave in friendships has had a lot of women shying away from it altogether. The view is that friendships between women will always leave you hurt, betrayed, used and abused.
The relationship has its problems, but all relationships have problems at times. Have some friendships been hurtful and abusive? Yes, they have, and that experience needs to be validated. However, it does not need to be the only story told.
Given the opportunity, women can be loving and caring. In them is the ability to serve, sacrifice, go the extra mile, and support. In life, women have a lot to juggle, and the privilege to walk this journey with those that understand can never be understated.
Women have banded together more than the world would care to admit. Women organize bridal and baby showers and marching together for their rights. They support victims of abuse, participate in book clubs, and vote for other women to take political office. Women have realized the strength they have when they work and stick together. They bring this strength to their friendships, even if it’s a group of three or four.
Women will recount with fondness the girlfriend they made in kindergarten to their high school friend who helped them navigate puberty and heartbreaks. This is because we recognize the importance of having someone walk life with you as it changes and as you change.
Any woman who has had the blessing of having other women with her in her journey will tell you how starting a business, having a child, starting a career, or going off to college was easier with female friendship support. There is so much to navigate in life, and we cannot do it on our own. We are social beings whose ability to survive depends on the community we have around us.
Why we need close female friendships.
People with whom you can have fun– Most of life’s enjoyable moments become better when we have others with whom we can share. A group of friends with whom you can explore life’s joys is a bonus, as you can let yourself be vulnerable enough to enjoy your life to the fullest. You can know that those with you are glad to be sharing in this moment. Going on vacation, spa dates, coffee dates, and other activities take a whole new meaning when done with others.
Fresh perspective – Supportive friends will always be there to offer fresh perspectives and give constructive advice in life’s journey. Female friends become a sounding board for one’s ideas, fear, and life situations.
There is wisdom in seeking the counsel of others and having a group of friends who know you intimately and well enough to give you sound advice. Getting a fresh perspective on matters from someone who can relate is invaluable. You feel seen and heard.
Genuine support – Life throws a lot at us. Having a supportive group of ladies standing with you and offering support is half the fight. When hit by a heartbreaking and life-changing event, girlfriends will band together to offer a helping hand, be it preparing meals, babysitting the children, or offering you a place to stay if you need one.
Many ladies can face life troubles because they have loving friends around them, friends that will not leave you face a life-threatening diagnosis, the loss of a child, or any other tragic event alone.
Women do not support each other only in hard times but are also there for their girlfriends in good times. They cheer each other on with every new promotion, advertise each other’s products when one starts a new business, and work to organize that baby shower to celebrate one of their own becoming a mother. This much-needed support when given is like air under their wings, propelling us to be the best version of ourselves.
Provision of safe spaces– Female friendships can be a haven, a safe space where the confusing emotional roller coaster of womanhood can be normalized. This is a space where one can be vulnerable and weak because they know full well that their friends will hold the space for them, without judgment. They can fully be seen and can be helped and encouraged.
A group of female friends have the love and patience to listen, offer a shoulder to cry on, and hold your hand. Having a safe space to talk about our fears, doubts, shame, failures, and hopes is something all humans need, and girlfriends do an amazing job providing this space.
Breathing room for romantic relationships – In a world that mostly views romantic relationships as the be-all and end-all, there is a need to highlight the importance of female friendships as well, even to the survival and functioning of that relationship. When a woman has loving and supportive female friends, she will not expect her husband or boyfriend to be all things to her.
Although this is the closest bond we can ever have with another human being, it needs space to breathe or else it will be suffocating. There just are also certain things a romantic partner will not fully understand and that’s where female friends come in. Having female friendship also fosters a feeling of individuality and separateness that is needed in a healthy romantic relationship.
Antidote against loneliness – Loneliness has become a global pandemic leading to a lot of other mental health issues. If a woman has a strong supportive group of girlfriends, it will eliminate the feeling of loneliness. Each of us yearns for feelings of belonging and acceptance, girlfriends provide this every day.
Legacy for the next generation – Love as a legacy is not something that we hear of often. When we have built strong female friendships and a group of ladies that are there for us, we have also set our children up to be loved by many others.
As children grow together those friendships become more like family. If anything is to happen our children will always be blessed with “aunties” who will look out for them, other adults they can trust and run to when they cannot come to us.
A child’s godmother, for example, usually comes from our group of friends. As mothers, we can show our daughters the importance of having close female friends. They will learn from our example.
The value of female friends.
There are so many advantages to having quality female friendships. With this article, we hope you have been encouraged to appreciate the ladies who have stood by you and strive to be good friends.
Built on the values of trust and consistency female friendships become bonds that can improve one’s life, and that’s why it is a worthwhile risk. It is indeed a risk because we never know how it will turn out when we try to make new friends.
Yet having faith that God will provide the female friends you need in life must encourage you to find one or two ladies at least that can be your life support. Constantly working on yourself to be a good friend will mean.
Not all of us have been able to form or keep real and loving female friendships. As a result, life can sometimes feel so lonely. Loneliness can be very difficult to handle. If you would want to know how you can get the best out of your relationships or how to form and keep those relationships, a Christian counselor can help you. Get in touch with our offices and they will be happy to assist you.
“Watching the Sunset”, Courtesy of Karl Magnuson, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Women with Flowers”, Courtesy of Becca Tapert, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Guess Who”, Courtesy of Clarke Sanders, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Women in White”, Courtesy of Clarke Sanders, Unsplash.com, CC0 License