Happy International Women’s Day to all of the brilliant, lovely ladies that I have the pleasure of sharing this world with! You’re raising our children, educating our youth, protecting our rights, representing us in the business word, finding cures for our ailments, and you’re inspiring us every single day. I can’t possibly express how grateful and amazed I am at my fellow women!
In honor of this special day, I will be offering a 15% discount on ALL purchases from my website until Sunday, March 11th in addition to the freebies that are always offered! I only ask that you are mindful of your relationship with your personal beauty consultant if you have someone that you are working with locally. We’re here to empower women, including each other!
Today I would love to talk to you a little bit about the amazing power of female friendships. These are relationships that seem to fall short to our other competing priorities. I would love to discuss how we can do better for each other and build quality, long lasting female friendships. Please be sure to share your thoughts in the comments!
What happened to Female Friendships?
As I look back over my nearly 30 years on the planet, I can’t help but notice that the number of female friendships I once had has diminished significantly. Moreover, the relationships I have left in no way resemble what we once had. Since realizing this, I made a point to ask other women about their experiences with their female friendships and I quickly learned that I was not alone.
Many might argue that this is just a normal part of “growing up”. That somewhere in our mid-twenties it makes sense that most women allow their lives to revolve around their romantic relationships, children, and business. That somehow, being a good friend is LESS important than your responsibility to these other relationships. But is it really?
Popular TV show, Golden Girls, would have us believe that there is still hope! We can have our close community of female friends again! We simply have to wait for our children to grow up and our husbands to die..? But is it really that impossible to nurture personal friendships in addition to your own adult life? I truly don’t believe that it is.
Why We’re Lonely
This issue really came to light as I started my Mary Kay business. Of course, it is recommended that you practice your presentations by having friends and family members host a party so that you can start building your network. This is a great method that many other MLMs have implemented because it helps you get comfortable with the product in a supportive environment. But it was at this point that I truly started to understand how very isolated I was. After all, I could go WEEKS without seeing another human who wasn’t my son or my boyfriend.
I quickly found that I was desperately reaching for people who could help me out in this area. When I did reach out, I found that I was not alone in this struggle. Even asking for these people to pull two or three friends for a small party was difficult. This was because their lives weren’t unlike mine. They were busy, burnt out, and let’s just say it… lonely.
Looking back, there are definite life events that contributed to this loss. Moving out of state, high school graduation, taking our first “grown up” jobs, marriages, having children, and climbing up the corporate ladder. With each of these events, it made it more difficult to actively contribute to these friendships. We no longer saw each other each day, there were more obstacles that got in the way of making the time, and eventually we stopped talking altogether.
Technology contributes both positively and negatively to our daily lives as well. Social media is a great “quick fix” for loneliness and craving social interaction. But not only that– it’s convenient. There is, however, a reason that these social apps are so addicting. We are biologically hardwired to BE social. Now, we simply have the option to supplement our relationships through technology. Suddenly, we disconnect from our real friends in favor of venting to thousands of strangers at a time. And the gratification is almost instant. Additionally, you don’t have to bare the guilt of burdening your close friends with your “negative” feelings.
I personally believe that social media is a fantastic tool for busy adults to use and connect with their friends and make new ones. However, I don’t think that it should be at the expense of REAL personal relationships.
Repairing Adult Friendships
All of the reasons that women have struggled to maintain close female friendships are understandable. But I would like to see us resist “normalizing” this loneliness and instead, actively try to repair and build our adult friendships.
If I learned anything from starting my Mary Kay business, it is that old friendships can be revived. It put me back in contact with many people that I hadn’t spoken to in years! The thing to remember though, is that you shouldn’t just be trying to “sell” them on something. This just happened to give me a unique opportunity to check in with old friends. And if I’m being honest, I might never have reached out were it not for that reason. But I am SO GLAD that I did. Because now I really know what I was missing out on.
One thing that is important as you reconnect with old friends is to just be very genuine with them. I think so many of us have subscribed to this mentality that we really are better off holding onto our burdens instead of discussing them like we did when we were younger. So when you intentionally reach out to an old friend to see how things are going, don’t be afraid to remind them that you truly care. You would be surprised how often “I’m fine.” Turns into someone who really does need a friend right now.
Building Adult Friendships
Whether you have moved or are just looking to make new female friends, there are resources out there! Sometimes you are lucky enough to find co-workers who become close friends. You can meet many people through local networking meetings. You can even use apps like Meetup, Bumble, Nextdoor, and more! You can even look for similarly minded women in local Facebook groups or under platonic female relationships on Craigslist. Yes, Craigslist! Just know that I wouldn’t recommend it if I haven’t tried it and come out with a success story!
However, the best way to make female friendships out in “the wild” is to simply pay attention to the women around you. Offer words of kindness and don’t be afraid to ask a stranger “Is everything alright? Do you want to get a cup of coffee and talk?” Because it is impossible to know whether the woman crying in the public restroom has someone else to turn to. Or if there is someone else who is going to tell the woman in the grocery store that she looks beautiful that day.
Some of the kindest things you do for others don’t cost money. You just need a little bit of bravery to speak up and acknowledge that you recognize something in them. A simple reminder that there is MORE outside of that bubble that we’ve created for ourselves. There are other women around us all the time and we are all in this together.
The Benefits of Female Friendships
If the general merriment isn’t enough to convince you to make an effort towards building more lady friendships, note the health benefits! Studies have shown time and time again that socializing is incredibly important to our physical and mental health- especially for women.
In an emergency or exceptional situation, stress can be lifesaving. However, the chronic stress that comes from anxiety disorders, a hectic lifestyle, or long periods of isolation can be harmful. By having friends, you could actually be healing your stress and extending your life expectancy.
Improves the Quality of Life
There is a wide-spread acceptance that the quality of your life can be greatly improved by having social support. This includes people who are fighting through cancer and other medical issues. This social support can help you in areas of health that can only be attached by human compassion and understanding. Just think of how it helped Edward Norton’s character in Fight Club!
Having a close group of friends is almost like having your own personal fan club! While you might not always agree, it’s good to know that the group of people you love are loving you right back. And fortunately, women are typically pretty great at expressing that love!
Makes You Feel Secure
Your gal pals can make you feel more safe or secure. You will walk more confidently knowing that in the face of something going awry, your friends will be there to help pick up the pieces. In the face of a break up, family feud, or rejection- your friend’s often become a “safe space” for you. Your friendships can also motivate you to take better care of yourself.
Improves Physical Health
Having a strong social circle and feeling supported contributes to healthy hormone function, lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, and possibly lower levels of inflammation.
I love to hear positive stories about friendship! Tell me all about you and your group of female friends in the comments!