In this month that is focused on love, I think it’s important to give a shout out to that other transformative connection: friendship. Friendships are just as important to our happiness as love. But they can also get short end of the stick, particularly between women. Unfortunately, some women don’t like each other. It’s sad, but true. I’m sure every single one of us has heard a guy say something to that effect at some point.
“Yeah, the way you guys cut each other down, the way you guys compete, the way you’ll freeze a woman out if she shows up at a party in a killer dress,” etc. etc. I’ll usually tell whomever is saying this that they are wrong, that women not only like but support one another, and that I have had plenty of female friends that I don’t feel that way about at all.
But I’ll admit: sometimes I get what they’re saying. Not all of my experiences with women have been rosy. I’ve been hurt, betrayed, excluded, frozen out, and sometimes completely ignored. In my adult life I had a woman say she had a “Gretchen Hydo moment” in an email to another woman that she inadvertently sent to me. I was in my 30s!
Can we just say, Hello, middle school?
By being afraid or unwilling to trust other women, we ladies are missing out on a pretty fantastic opportunity. We all need more support in our lives, that’s a given. And who better to understand the totality of all that we have to manage – career, kids, spouses/significant others – than other women?
I for one know the relief that I feel when I confide in a good friend who just gets me. There’s a shorthand. I don’t need to over-explain or hide my feelings, or sprinkle in a bunch of “maybe it’s just me but….” I don’t need to justify my love for certain TV or frustration over 7th grade math, how much health insurance costs and the juggle in balancing it all. A good female friend doesn’t need any disclaimers. She supports me, understands me, and, most important, won’t judge me. A good friend is a rare find, especially as we get older. But I’m willing to bet that most of us don’t let enough other women in to see if we can add them to our stable.
So, for this month, as we celebrate the people in our lives who make our hearts beat a little faster, I think we should also focus on friendship. Let’s try to let in some ladies who’ll listen to our stories, cry with us over our losses, and laugh with us until we pee our pants. And that takes two things: trust, and an open mind.
Here are a few ways to let more women into our lives.
- Listen to your intuition. Our intuition trumps our thoughts. As women we are highly intuitive. The “vibes” we pick up about others are actually more informative than the cerebral thoughts that we think. If we feel that someone that we’ve just met is someone we can trust, despite what we may think about them, then we’re probably right.
- Don’t be swayed by externals. Yeah, okay, so maybe your new female friend has heads turning everywhere you go. So what? The way she looks has no bearing on how loyal and friendworthy she can be.
- Trust that it’s okay for you to be seen. This is a big one! Being seen can be scary, whether it’s by a significant other or a new friend. Allow yourself to make a connection. Tell an embarrassing story. Bask in a bad hair day. Allow people to see the unfiltered you.
- Be willing to be un-perfect. So many of the cultural messages we women receive are about trying to live up to impossible standards: being beautiful, the perfect mother, etc. With that kind of pressure on our shoulders it’s no wonder that we are all so afraid to get close to one another – our culture drives us to compete with one another! So be willing to be a little messy – literally and figuratively. There’s nobody keeping score around here. If you can totally be yourself then chances are she will too.
For more help creating a sense of connection in your life, schedule your free thirty-minute session with me today. Much love to you ladies (and of course gentleman too).