On Female Friendships + Practical Ways To Build & Maintain Genuine Connections As Adults.
For many of us, our earliest introduction to female friendship began with the female members of our immediate family. In my own case, it was my mother and older sister. Some people still have the same friends from childhood (lucky ones!). However, for a good number of us, Iconic movies and TV shows like Waiting to Exhale, Sex and the City, and more recently, Insecure, constitute the friends and friendship bible we wish we have/had. These shows have helped us shape our ideas and understanding of the power of female friendships.
Simply by portraying strong bonds and solidarity between the female characters, most of us now know that the quirks and rough moments we go through with our friends are not peculiar to us. These films have given me great insight into the importance of female friendship and why every woman needs it regardless of the challenges.
Most of us women were made to believe that woman are always at each other’s throats or unsupportive. Over time, the society and men have blinded us to the beauty there is to friendship among women under the guise of ‘jealousy, envy and cattiness. This myth has prevented a lot of women from truly enjoying the gains of genuine female friendship. Male friendships are not any less challenging, the difference is that we get more to the heart of issues. Women are unafraid to call out BS wrapped up with a bow of denial and enabling umbrella called ‘Guy Code’. That is one of the powers of female friendship.
The Value Of Female Friendships
It’s essential to have a connection with other women because no other person understands matters affecting women more than women. Our connected dynamic is the glue that binds us together. Isn’t it an amazing gift to not have to explain your ‘why or how’ because you are emotionally connected in more ways than one? Shouldn’t the fact that we get each other’s struggles and feelings debunk these lies that society has to feed us?
What I enjoy about female friendship is how deep we delve into things we talk about. I don’t know about you but, a friendship where I am able to bare my soul, share my fears, laughter, highs, and lows is a powerful friendship and one that I’ll love to nurture.
Typically, a woman spends most of her time caring for and giving to others. As a woman, if you’ve ever found yourself wondering who nurtures you well enough to keep giving. Then you have your answer to why every woman needs good friends in her life. Intuitively, most women look out and care for those around them. Female friendship is a force that has helped my well-being. It’s helped me to live a better life. Every woman needs a force of like-minded women who stand in solidarity to nurture and build each other for better. My friends have helped me through some painful period cramp days, we have laughed at our ignorant days of timid sexual experiences. You name it.
Why It Can Be Complicated
True friendship is hard to find especially in adulthood, it’s why I am grateful for the few good friends I have. These are the people whom I can relate with wholly, they understand in ways that men cannot. As one of my best friends would say: true friendship is supporting each other’s happiness. That being said, in the past I have done and experienced things that slowly killed the energy of great friendships I’ve had. One that particularly stands out for me is how we women neglect or sideline our friends once we get into a relationship or marriage. Over time, experience has taught me that friendship, in general, will excel better if we invest as much into it as we do in relationships.
I grew up calling some of my moms’ friends, aunty, because they shared a bond so special with my mom that I automatically thought they had to be related to us by blood. The older generation (most) didn’t let marriage and minor factors come between them. Till today, the bond between our moms and their friends are goals to a good amount of us. Remember, that just like relationships, going out to have a good time, creating memories, sharing and growing from fights are vital ingredients that friendship needs. All friendships have their dynamics, the ability to know your friends love language and show love accordingly will do a great deal of good to your female friendships.
It Is Natural To Be Alone Sometimes, Find Yourself.
Personally, I’ve never been the type of person to have a pool of friends. In my earlier years, it was because my mom and older sister were my best friends. Granted, I was a tomboy with a handful of male friends. But these two women embodied and still represent true friendship in my life. In my teen years, shortly after my parents moved to another city while I stayed in Abuja with my siblings.
I experienced a shift as a result and began to realize that the strong unfamiliar yearn I felt could only be filled by women. Why because I need friends who I could really talk to and depend on. That was my first experience of what it felt like to want a tribe of female friends. I have also had my fair share of failed friendships. Some fizzled out because they weren’t meant to be or had outlived the purpose.
While for some others, we realized we weren’t beneficial to each other and we said our goodbyes, resulting in my friendship dry spell. It was me, myself and I for a long time. Unknown to me, the universe was preparing me for something bigger. As I learned that to embark on the journey to solid friendships, I would have to find myself and rip away the bile that lived in me (yes, sometimes you are the bad/negative friend). None of these came easily as I continually asked myself important questions like:
• Who are you, are you a decent person and a true friend?
• Define friendship and what you want from a friendship?
• What is your friendship-love-language?
• Why do you want a tribe of female friends?
• Do you have any friendship goal?
My days of zero friends are long behind me, courtesy of truthfully searching myself, answering those questions and the time I take to set the clear intention of who I am as a person. It is rewarding that I am steadily building the tribe that I always wanted. Here’s how:
Great Friendships Don’t Come Easy, Say Goodbye To Toxic Friends And Those High Expectations Of Yours.
Know and Check Yourself Often –
Confidence comes with the sense of self. When you realize the beauty in whom you are. You let go of whatever need to control your friends or mold them into the exact likeness of who you are. You know your value, stand in your glory and come to understand that it’s okay to need your tribe. Self-awareness is vital. Ensure you show up for your friends and check that you are the kind of friend you’d love to have.
Every Friendship Has Its Dynamics –
Each friend in your tribe represents something unique; don’t fight it, embrace it. While it’s essential that friends should have a common ground, your friends should be allowed to be their true self. By doing this, your tribe will be made up of different types of women that it needs. Imagine a tribe of individualistic friends that consist of the funny one, the secret keeper, the-life-of-the-party, prayer warrior, fashion police and life coach. Identifying the strengths of your friends and knowing who to go to for what is a good premise for keeping the peace and balance in your tribe.
This is the foundation that helps friends to experience and express love back. Mutual respect, honesty, support, the act of service and words of affirmation are a few of my friendship-love-language. A close group of women who respect each other’s individuality and time, who can call a spade a spade and support each other through tough times is people you need in your life. Silence is also a golden language of love. Find friends with whom you can lay or spend time in silence with, without it being awkward.
Agree to Disagree –
Women are passionate beings who like to be heard. It’s normal for friends to disagree or have a very different point of view about certain things. Some people have an opinionated or aggressive way to present their opinions about things. Learn to agree to disagree. Arguments shouldn’t be a breeding ground for malice and spite. Friendship should not be in spite of differences; it should thrive because of differences. One should show love to friends even when one is mad at them or disagree with them.
While love is something you give not take, you need to ensure that you pull your weight in a friendship. Building a close-knit tribe of women depends largely on this. If your friend loves and supports you, find ways to reciprocate the gesture. It doesn’t have to be in the exact way or manner. This is where love language comes into play. Remember that imbalance brings about resentment and very few things trump the feeling of being in love and being loved.
Keep Up The Girl Power
Friendship is a gift that keeps on giving. The power of female friendship cannot be overemphasized. Cherish those who are in your close circle and be sure that you treat them with kindness. Mirror the qualities you want in your friends.Make a strong effort to be a good friend and do not restrict yourself, some of the best women in my life presently are people I met through social media. It’s a great time to build a sisterhood rooted in solidarity. It’s a great time to be a woman. Cheers, building a tribe of lifelong friends who support each other happily. Its a good time to be alive, feminist and witness strong women centric movements like #Metoo