It’s taken me a long time to learn how to be a good friend, how to cultivate healthy friendships, how to sort the weeds from the wildflowers.
This past year of 2021 has been a beautiful unfolding of female relationships.
I have long been blessed with a solid foundation of friendships with older women, usually somewhere in their 40s-60s and these have been and continue to be some of my strongest relationships. Keep in mind, I’ve only just turned 30. These women are where I’ve built my home. It’s easy to cut through the superficial, to see each other without the suspicion, cattiness, and competition that society breeds in younger women. These mature, adult, women have walked through fire and are wise enough to cut through the bullshit. Historically, they have been my people. They will continue to be the rock on which I base friendship, because there is so much goodness there, so much for the soul.
I’ve also been of the opinion in the past, as I know so many women are, that men are another safe place to build friendships. I was long a proud shouter that I got along better with men than women.
As I look back on the majority of those relationships I see now that it was patently untrue. I’m not a big believer in the male/female “friendship” anymore. Sure, we got along great, but I see the strings that are attached now, the underbelly. There are certainly some men who are good at their very core, who are able to be friends with women without the strings, but they are few and far between, in my opinion.
The other awareness around male friends I’ve come to realize with astounding clarity is this: Men have no idea what it is to be a woman. They have no idea, how we operate in life. Even the most well intentioned man is still going to fall flat. It’s not their fault, they’re men. It’s not like women understand them any better. (Make no mistake, I love my man beyond all words and reason) But no, men are not the answer to that particular longing in our hearts – you know what I mean, I know you do.
What we need in this life, is a circle of women. Who better to understand what it is to bleed every month – until you don’t? To witness those profound life changes? To bear the responsibility of giving or not giving life to a human? To understand the depths of our heartache, or the fierce love we carry, or the joy we are capable of. Who better to bear the full weight of our emotional spectrum? It’s women.
I’ve had the good and unexpected fortune this year, of encountering some really phenomenal women. The unusual part of this, is they’ve been very nearly my own age. This has been a profoundly new experience for me and I wasn’t exactly trusting of it to begin with. I’m weird – I know I’m weird. I don’t relate that well with people my age, my tolerance for “young people” drama isn’t very high. But these women? They’ve been real. They’ve been raw. Most importantly, most surprisingly, I felt immediate connection with them in a very visceral way.
You probably know what I mean. You meet someone you’re attracted too, the electricity is there, the chemistry is there, and you’ve never even spoken. This is usually where you go out on a date or fall into bed or some other non-platonic relationship thing.
In my case, I wondered if it was one sided. If I was just reading into something I admired about these various women. One night in a women’s gestalt group, I decided to be brave and call out what I was experiencing with another woman in the group, though we’d had no direct, intentional contact up to that point. I told her I was feeling wildly connected to her, on a heart level and I just wanted to give voice to it. She looked at me and said “I knew you were going to say that. I feel it too.” I was blown away.
That’s pure magic, is what that is.
I started to look for it in other places. In another women’s gestalt group I was co-facilitating (Group is magic!) on our last day of the group, I was experiencing some melancholy and an unfinishedness – this was my last group before leaving to travel.
To my left, my thoughts were voiced out loud by one of the ladies. “I’m feeling kind of panicky – we just met and I feel connected to you, like I just found you in this life and now you’re leaving.” Oh wow, she felt that too! My soul knew this person, and had connected in a way that was powerful without it ever being consciously decided. I’ve since been able to look back and pinpoint some other instances in life, more fleeting but still impactful, where that same “charge” has connected me to another female.
Perhaps the most important relationship that’s been forged this past year, in trials by fire, I might add – is that of a client who has become my closest friend. She and another very dear client-turned-amazing-friend, hired me to work with them and their horses about two years ago.
The day I met her, I felt like I’d met her before. I took a couple of weeks racking my brain for when or if we’d ever met, I even asked my mom if she knew her or remembered her. Turns out we hadn’t ever met, but my soul knew her. She was mine from the get-go.
This incredible manifestation of sisterhood has been something I’m in awe of. For the first time in my life I have a tribe of healthy, awakened, actively healing, powerhouse women around me, of all ages.
I’ve learned a new superpower – to listen to my heart and intuition and that electrical pulse that tells me when someone wonderful has entered the scene. That awareness has brought joy to my heart this past year, along with some extra heartache because it’s hard to say Goodbye for Now, to all these incredible women while I’m on this epic journey with my man. The beauty of social media is I’m not as far away as I once might have been, and I get to stay in contact with all of them.
I hope that you have a community who brings you joy like mine does, who sees you and holds you and loves you for who you are. If you don’t, you can change that. Stay open. If you have a “bad picker” for men or friends, seek out someone who has a good picker. (I’d be happy to help you identify toxic people and patterns and help you break free of them! That’s what I love to do as a coach)
Learn what makes a good friend, learn how to be a good friend, keep your heart on high alert for the zing of good people, and you’ll soon your tribe will find you.