Thursday, January 08, 2009

Why Women Need Friends

I’ve never been very good about maintaining friendships. Unlike many, I haven’t kept in contact with anyone from high school or college. I always thought that having my family and, yes, a man was enough to meet my emotional needs. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to realize how misguided I’ve been. I’ve made several new friends in the past year, and managed to hang on to a few old ones despite my lack of effort, and it’s amazing how much they really add to the richness of my life. Of course, they don’t have all the answers to any problems I’m experiencing, but just in talking with them, I feel better. They reassure me that I’m not crazy and am entitled to my feelings. They tell me their own tales of woe so I know that I’m not the only one having difficulties. They help me to see things from a new perspective. They point out that we all make mistakes, and I’m not more prone to them than anyone else. Best of all, they make me feel less alone in the world.

I usually hit the “Delete” key when I receive e-mails that have been sent to someone’s 100 “closest friends” (especially if they threaten that something terrible will befall me if I fail to pass it on to my own 100 closest friends). But after having a really nice lunch with a friend yesterday, who called the second she got an email from me telling her about a problem in my life, this story resonated with me more than it usually does. Like most things that circulate on the Internet, it’s not attributed to a specific writer, so if you know who wrote it or where it was originally published, let me know and I’d be happy to add the credit.

A young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day, drinking iced tea and visiting with her mother. As they talked about life, about marriage, about the responsibilities of life and the obligations of adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her glass thoughtfully and turned a clear, sober glance upon her daughter.

“Don’t forget your sisters,” she advised, swirling the tea leaves to the bottom of her glass. “They’ll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love the children you may have, you are still going to need sisters. Remember to go places with them now and then; do things with them. Remember that ‘sisters’ means ALL the women...your girlfriends, your daughters, and all your other women relatives, too. You’ll need other women. Women always do.”

“What a funny piece of advice!” the young woman thought. “Haven’t I just gotten married? Haven’t I just joined the couple-world? I’m now a married woman, for goodness sake! A grownup! Surely my husband and the family we may start will be all I need to make my life worthwhile!”

But she listened to her mother. She kept in contact with her sisters and made more women friends each year. As the years tumbled by, one after another, she gradually came to understand that her mother really knew what she was talking about. As time and nature work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman, sisters are the mainstays of her life.

After more than 50 years of living in this world, here is what I’ve learned:

Time passes.
Life happens.
Distance separates.
Children grow up.
Jobs come and go.
Love waxes and wanes.
Men don’t do what they’re supposed to do.
Hearts break.
Parents die.
Colleagues forget favors.
Careers end.


Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A girlfriend is never farther away than needing her can reach. When you have to walk that lonesome valley, and you have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life will be on the valley’s rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley’s end. Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you...or come in and carry you out. Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters, daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, mothers, grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and extended family: all bless our life!

The world wouldn’t be the same without women, and neither would I. When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other. Every day, we need each other still. Pass this on to all the women who help make your life meaningful.

I just did.

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  1. this is so so true!

    I came to realised this when I was enduring a lot of pain from my past and my mum stood behind me and supported me all the way. my female cousin and aunt who never questioned my decisions but instead supported me in whatever things that I have. my "girlfriends" who is always there when I need them most.

    Women should know how to keep relationships with their women friends, that's what am telling to other friends who are in conflict with their friends. no one will understand a women better aside from their husband but another significant women will be there to understand and shows support in many ways.

    Cheers to womanhood!

  2. I got this story via email from one of my sister friends, and though I too tend to delete those mass emails, this one rang absolutely true! I'm so glad you shared it with all your readers.


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