Nurturing Home Newsletter
The Importance of Girlfriends
In this newsletter, I want to talk about the vital importance of girlfriends. One or two close girlfriends can build self-esteem, can help us value ourselves and what we do, can provide necessary acknowledgement when our bosses and husbands or children do not, can help us gain perspective in problem-solving, and can in stressful times provide a shoulder to cry on. A good girlfriend never says, “I told you so,” but supports us in our pain while encouraging us to make better choices. A good girlfriend will share interests with us, keep us on track toward our goals, share chick flicks and chocolate. A good girlfriend knows our secrets and still adores us.
How many of us, in our hustle and bustle lives, take time to cultivate these types of relationships? I will share with you what I have learned over many years so that you too can have the nurturing, comfort, and solace that a good girlfriend gives. If you already have a girlfriend with whom you have a mutual admiration society, then congratulations! You know what I’m talking about! This newsletter will probably increase your appreciation of your girlfriend! If not, then you don’t know what you are missing!
Though some women say that men and women can be close friends and I agree to some extent, I want to point out that you will never share with a man the things you share with a girlfriend who adores you. I have a couple of men friends, with whom I share some common interests. Though we are more than acquaintances, I would die before I would share anything deeper with them. How many men want to discuss PMS? Childbirth? Broken hearts? Trouble with children? Children in general? Your accomplishments? By nature, women are intuitive and emotional. Men are action oriented.
When I was young, I thought that I had no time for friends. I was too busy with my small child and a husband and work. I was proud in my ignorance of the benefits of true friendship. I would foolishly say to those who pursued my friendship, “My husband is my best friend.” And though my husband is my best friend and life partner, he is not my best girlfriend. I have since seen the light, and he appreciates it almost as much as I do, because I no longer depend solely on him to fill my emotional needs. I no longer dump all my stresses on him. I no longer beg him for nurturing. Rather, my girlfriends nurture me as I nurture them. This makes me a better wife and mother. My married girlfriend and I have very close intimate relationships with our husbands, but I did not realize the richness, happiness, and self-security a true close girlfriend can bring.
Like most women, earlier in my life I drifted through friendships with other women, letting the cards fall where they were dealt, rather than discarding those that didn’t fit and looking for ones that did. Though some friendships were good, the other women that I became friends with were just drifting as I was. So, when circumstances changed, we drifted apart. Though these ‘seasonal friends’ can be important in their own way, I am talking about lifetime girlfriends, ones who are with you through children, menopause, divorce, moves across country, all life’s changes.
When you drift through friendships, you can pick up ‘spiritual vampires.’ In choosing a girlfriend, it is important not to allow ‘spiritual vampires’ to become close friends. These people are usually very needy, weak, and irrational. They don’t have many friends, because they just suck them dry. You can spend some time with these people if you feel the need to, but don’t let them take up too much of your time or energy. You’ll never fix their lives, and you’ll leave their company feeling drained, frustrated, and discontented. You can recognize them by how you feel when you leave them. They are takers. Don’t give them more than you can give without compromising your happiness or peace of mind. Keep your distance and you will be happier.
In order to reap the benefits of a true girlfriend, the relationship should be with someone with a common life situation, common goals, or common interests. I am fortunate to have two wonderful girlfriends – one whom I pursued, and the other who pursued me. They both serve different purposes in my life and our relationships are different, too. To preserve their privacy, I have changed their names.
Veronica is a customer of my husband’s business. She is a single woman in her early 50s who had a weight problem when we met that she was very self- conscious about. Her weight problem never mattered to me at all, so we became friends. I don’t quite remember who made the first overture, but I think it was she. We ended up going to see a chick flick after which we went to dinner and talked. We have in the subsequent years made a habit of this – dinner and chick flicks. She has been very nurturing of me, and I have been very supportive of her weight loss choices and her life in general. She has helped my husband and I remodel our kitchen, and in fact stayed with us for a few months when she was in between jobs. I know that if my life fell apart, she would be there to help pick up the pieces, providing whatever I needed. She knows that I would do the same for her. When we get together once a week or so, we have fun and nurturing. I always leave her company feeling good about myself, and I’m sure that she feels the same way.
Astrid is a veteran published author of books, magazine articles, and newsletters. I met her at a writer’s group that I have attended for years, which she attended soon after moving to my area. Right away I liked her earth mother energy, and admired the fact that she was an accomplished writer. I pursued her and she decided to give our friendship a try. That was more than a couple of years ago. We share common interests in writing, and she has helped me immensely in my writing quest as well as in other areas. At this point, I would say that she and I share more common viewpoints and interests than anyone else I have ever known. We work together toward common goals in many areas of our lives. We applaud our accomplishments together, share our concerns and problems, and adore each other. We get together frequently for dinner. We are couple friends, too, as our husbands felt they wanted to share in our close relationship.
The bottom line is that I would do almost anything for either of my girlfriends, and I am sure that they would reciprocate. They build me up, help me to be a better wife, mother, businessperson, writer, and nurturer. They applaud my accomplishments and share my sorrows. My life would not be the same without them. My friends and I have our own mutual admiration society. We adore each other. Look around you. Study the women you know for possible soulmate friendships. If none of them fit what you want or need, then look at work, at church, in your neighborhood, at the gym, at your children’s school, at the grocery store. If you still can’t find one or two, then take a class or join a club. They are out there! Your life and their lives will be made richer by being your friend! You go for it, Girl!