Over my 31 years of life I have come to know something imperative for my well being. I need girlfriends. I need to laugh until it hurts, cry about my adult acne, eat nachos at midnight, (which contributes to my adult acne), and learn from other human beings of my gender. I’ve also learned that girlfriends come in/with many different ages, interests, and cultures. Let me give an example of each.
Age: There are few things I love more than sitting back and listening to someone older than me talk about how things were when they were my age. I love the insight and memories they have. There is something unique they have that contributes to our friendship: time and experience. A few years back I served in our church with three women who were 20+ years older than me. At first I thought it would be weird and I wouldn’t be able to relate to them. The opposite happened. It wasn’t weird and I was able to relate. They taught me about motherhood, cleaning and cooking—all aspects I needed help with. We weren’t meeting up for play dates at the park but we were in each other’s kitchens learning how to make old/new recipes. We still get together to make cheese rolls.
Don’t rule a friend out because of age. Embrace and run with it.
Interests: Sure you tend to get along really well with people who have your same interests. However, sometimes you can’t always find friends that only have your interests. This makes you think out of the box. It stretches you and makes you more understanding of others. I’ve found if I can find one piece of common ground with someone we can be friends. All we need is that one thing. For example, I had a co-worker who I just couldn’t understand. We were so different and it showed. There was always this unspeakable tension between us and one day I had enough. I knew we had to have something in common and if I could find it we could get along. One day I tried getting to know her better and asked where she was from. Well, turned out she was from a tiny town that most people have never heard of. Except if you are in my family you went to this town three times a year because there is a restaurant that has the best chicken fried steak in the world. Instant bond and we are still friends. Try to find something in common and build off of that. It could surprise you.
Culture: I am a Caucasian American from the west. I love the place I was born and raised but to be honest there isn’t a lot in the way of other cultures. Now I live in Amsterdam. This place is a melting pot of languages, people and cultures. Last week I had tea with a group of women from England, Scotland, Israel, Bali, India, Ukraine, France, The Netherlands and, San Francisco J It was amazing. I loved hearing how different countries do things. How they miss their home country and what they are doing to keep their family traditions alive. My eyes were opened and I found a link to so many different women and places.
I recently heard Brene Brown say, “We share our stories with those who have earned the right to hear them.” When we don’t open ourselves to those opportunities we all miss out. When I keep my feelings in all the time and don’t have any sort of link to others I become a complete mess. I need that human connection that seems to be felt so strongly with other women. Find others who are also looking for connection and invite them to join your circle.
Tell us why you need girlfriends?
**topic for next week: keeping up with old friendships while making new friends.