This month's book club pick is Text Me When You Get Home is an exploration of the greatest romances of our lifetimes. The magic of female friendships.
I too was one of those girls that took more pride in my male friendships. I was proud that I could even maintain (semi) platonic friendships with the opposite sex. I felt cool okay! Don't get me wrong, I value those friendships with my male friends too! But if we're going, to be honest, regardless of wanting to be part of the guys, I've always maintained more female friends than male friends.
I always looked for someone who really UNDERSTOOD ME. That sounds really cliché, but during your formative years, that's literally all you want. You want to be heard and know that you are not alone. The magic of having lady friends in your life comes with the understanding that she/they understand or can sympathize with whatever situation you might be going through. Whatever feeling you are experiencing, they probably have too.
The other purity of friendship is the unspoken bond of "I'll stick with you no matter what." Obviously, it takes a lot of investment for that friendship to get to that point, but where else can you find that kind of loyalty? I know not all friendships are equal. Some might blossom quicker than others. Some can be more complicated. Some are formed unconventionally, yet a bond is formed.
Any relationship with another human has its flaws. Most friendships hit bumps in the road. We're all fragile and vulnerable creatures. If someone does something to hurt that bond, it changes the whole dynamic quickly, which is unfortunate, but it has happened to all of us. Just like in a marriage, you have to work through those issues and breach of trust, so why shouldn’t you do this in your friendships? If anything, these relationships with your soul sisters can be deemed more valuable. I'm aware that marriages & friendships have their differences, but are those differences really that vast in distinction?
I’m lucky enough to have a solid group of girls that have supported me basically throughout my life. The same girls that have seen my rollercoaster of emotions about men & career choices. The same girls who have listened to me rant about my mother or father. It's hard to find someone to love unconditionally, let along find a core group of people that is your foundation. Your shoulders to lean on. I couldn’t write a much longer essay on the various women in my life who have helped my heart heal and refreshed my soul. I am so lucky to have met them. This kind of support system is beautiful and I can't believe people opt out these interactions. I thank them all for coming over to my house with chocolate, for the shared lunches, for being available for hysterical phone calls and voice memos, the sleepovers, for coming over and just sitting in a quiet room peacefully as we scroll through our phones. This intimacy and comfort are beautiful and I don't know how I could live without it.
The empowerment that comes with these friendships without mentioning the difficulties and toxicities I admit it is not easy. The meanness still exists, the pettiness still exists, which is why lots of women seek friendships in men (this goes onto a whole other debate of ‘can women and men befriend’ **eye roll**) Yet these are all learning experiences that make us appreciate the people in our lives.
I think that popular culture has done a pretty solid job at capturing the different nuances in female friendships. Everyone criticizes Girls for its specific portrayal of a girl group with frenemy characteristics, but in all honesty, people are really capricious and these people exist! Everyone praises Ann & Leslie’s friendship or Taystee & Poussey for being the ideal bond. Sometimes I feel like most of my friendships are embodied by Abbi & Ilana or Issa & Molly. I can give you countless examples, but the point is for the most our bonds are being seen and heard. They might not get them right, but there is progress. I was personally getting tired of these buddy + buddy movies only about dudes and how they couldn't get the girl. Our friendships are more complex. They have more magic to them.
Having a best friend is basically passé. Using that label for one person only diminishes the other relationships you have built. Like Mindy Lahiri says on the Mindy Project:
Call your girlfriends. Tell them you appreciate them. I would love to hear about how you and besties have met. How did your best friend tier meet? Do you disagree and think your #1 deserves a special name? I look forward to reading your comments!