“Relationships are made of talk – and talk is for girls and women.”Deborah Tannen
It’s no great mystery that women need women friends. Most of us would agree that a good friend is more precious than gold. When things are bad, we lean on each other for strength – when we do that we can get through what seems impossible at the time. Is that your experience?
It certainly is mine. There are certain women in my life who I know I can count on when I need them, just as they can count on me. Some I have known for years, others significantly less. They are all different, all beautiful, strong, funny and wise in their own ways, and they are all people I hold close to my heart, whether I speak to them every week or every few months. They know who they are.
I’ve had a few occasions to reflect on this lately. A couple of weeks ago I went with Wise Woman and Earth Mother to visit Gypsy and her mother. At a tiny table in food heaven there was a woman in her 80s, one in her 60s, one in her 50s, one just turned 40 (that would be me) and one in her 30s. Together we shared an easy intimacy, giving part of ourselves to each other and connecting with wisdom, creativity, energy and love. At one point Earth Mother and I were talking (about teenagers) and caught Gypsy watching us with a smile on her face, like she wanted to freeze that image onto her soul. We women shared the essence of who we were and our time together was over too early. Bring on the next visit!
One of my oldest friends lives on the other side of the country. We have known each other since we started university; she is like a sister. Together we have shared thoughts and feelings about our lives from relationships and marriage, good and bad times, fears and problems, achievements and moments of joy. Even though we only get to talk every few months, I treasure her friendship and I can’t imagine not knowing her. She knows she can lean on me and vice versa; there are no hard feelings for not being able to check in as often as we’d like.
Last year another beautiful friend (Big Sis) came into my life when I was at a low point. We couldn’t be more different but somehow our friendship works; we just click. We tease each other nearly every time we speak, but she knows I value her for who she is, not what she does. It’s her turn to go through a hard time – actually, it’s barely let up for her since I’ve known her – but I admire her strength to keep going when the going gets tough. And I love knowing that when I need to go “blah blah blah sook”, she is just a cup of tea away.
Then there is Sausage and Sweet Sis. More than friends, they are blood. Sweet Sis and I have grown closer in the last decade or so; I love it when she chooses to confide in me. They love me whether I’m happy, sad, up, down, cranky, excited…and I feel the same way about them. I need them. I think they need me too.
When I worked at the newspaper, I had little time to devote to friendships. Blue Eyes and I were in the earlier stages of our relationship (we all know how that affects time with friends) and I was just so busy and pressured. A snatched coffee here and there seemed to be all I could give – unless someone really needed more. It was a period of friendship maintenance, not depth. When I left the paper, overwhelmed and anxious, hurting all over with pains shooting all over my neck, shoulders and arms, I realised how much I missed having women friends to talk to. I mean, really talk; to confide in, to explore the “depths of despair” (to quote Anne of Green Gables) the heights of happiness, and the simply ordinary.
New and wonderful friendships have since worked their way into my life; older friendships have deepened; and sadly, some friendships have gone by the wayside. It sounds flippant, but that’s life, right? All I know is that I have been reminded more than once lately that women need to talk, to share what’s on their minds, because let’s face it, sometimes our men just can’t deal with it. And we enjoy the process of it – especially when it comes with a tasty treat (or two).
To all the women who have been there for me as a friend in whatever capacity, thank you for sharing yourself with me.