In early January, I saw meme featuring this quote, “The circles of women around us weave invisible nets of love that carry us when we are weak and sing with us when we are strong”. This quote, attributed to SARK, an American author, speaks to the gift of friendship and sisterhood that exceeds the mundane checking in, “Hey, how are you?” This quote emphasizes that authentic connections with other women are rooted in a love that transcends experiences- there are highs and lows in life. True friendship extends beyond the surface and has the power to embrace us during the lows and rejoice with us during the highs.
In my personal time of reflecting on 2018, I was reminded of the presence and active participation of my sister-friends and the value they have in my life. Each of these women has shown up for me in moments of celebration and in the moments of calamity. Interestingly enough, like many of us, I counted these women as friends, but when they showed up in their respective ways, that friendship was highlighted even elevated to the point that they are now family! The other day three of us were in group text planning our next outing and because they’re my ministry friends, we often use the word fellowship… it seemed somewhat cheesy at the time but I replaced fellowship with Sistership and it made my heart smile! They each responded, “love it”. Since then I’ve been thinking about the need for all women to have the safe and sacred space of sister-friendships where we can be present for others as they are present for us.
As God would have it, several of my clients mentioned their success and struggles or the blessings and blunders of sister-friendships, and as processed their experiences, my 2018 reflections resurfaced. Here are a few of my thoughts about creating and sustaining healthy friendships with women:
- Be Present– When you are spending time together, one-on-one or in a group, be there in the moment, not distracted by social media or other device based apps. Your time together is precious and when you are engaged with something else, even if it seems insignificant to you, you may risk sending the message that she/they aren’t important/interesting. Your presence is appreciated and valued so make it a point to be there in the moment. You and your friends deserve each other’s attention.
- Be Honest– There’s nothing like spending time with someone you know isn’t being truthful… they may not be outright deceptive but their sharing is surface level. This is not to suggest that every friend needs to know all the nooks and crannies of your life experience; boundaries are essential in all relationships. However, in order to foster the type of trust that yields great connections, there has to be a reciprocal degree of transparency and vulnerability, established over time.
- Be Authentic– When you’re present with friends and honest about what’s going on in your life, it’s hard not to be authentic. Authenticity speaks to the value of being true to yourself-by showing up as your whole self. There are enough places in life where we have to consider adjusting who we are and how we behave or interact with others… the friendship space is designed to be a safe space, therefore, we can choose to be fully present as our authentic selves.
- Be Consistent– Show up when you say you will and communicate when you can’t. Because these relationships are so important to our overall well-being, we can choose to be more intentional about communicating in general and specifically when we need each other and when we need a break or time for self-care.
- Be Grateful– If you have sisterfriends or good girlfriends, make a point to thank them for their presence and participation in your life. I’ve challenged clients to write and send a card or letter via snail mail to let friends know how much they mean and how much they matter to you. We often get bills and junk mail in our mailboxes, wouldn’t it be nice to receive a card or letter that affirms the value we add to each other’s lives? We deserve to have friendships that honor who we are and we are responsible for expressing our appreciation for said sisterfriends.
If you are struggling to maintain healthy friendships with women, I’d love to chat with you about how we might work together to that end.