Somewhere, sometime, I read that the strongest familial bonds are the bonds between sisters1. Perhaps, then, the strongest extra-familial bonds are those between good female friends. Even though I have no research to back this up, I do know how true this is in my own personal case (and yes, I know I am a sample size of one, but to me, the most important one). Pity is not an emotion I share regularly, as it often can be condescending or patronizing, but I truly do pity the woman who has no close female friends. And I do mean “friends”, not acquaintances—there is an order of magnitude (or three) of difference between the two. You can go to coffee with the acquaintance, have a fun chat about lipstick or the Pacers or the relative prices of sushi at different restaurants. You can do that with a friend too, but with a friend—a real one—you can talk about your hopes, your dreams, your visions, your regrets. You hug the friend as she’s going through a divorce or a health crisis; she holds your hand as you deal with a painful loss, all the while encouraging you to let it out and let it go. You feel comfortable talking about the uncomfortable with a friend; you wouldn’t even touch anything so raw and personal with an acquaintance.
With respect to female friendships, it’s quality, not quantity, that matters (although having both is like winning the lottery, so yours truly is a double Powerball winner!) I am so grateful to have a plethora of really good, strong, female friends in my life. All are different, another way of saying that there is no single template, no one list of rules, no algorithm to being a good, strong, solid FRIEND. They vary in their religious/spiritual beliefs (or non-beliefs), socioeconomic statuses, geographic locations, ethnic backgrounds, etc. Granted, all are bright, intelligent, thinking women. All are honest and have integrity. And frankly, all are interesting (okay, I have a bit of a prejudice against the uber-ordinary, so I don’t tend to befriend them).
I am so grateful for my good, close female friends. I hope they know that, but in case they don’t, I’ve written this blog post. Girls, you are loved.
1I know that not all sisters have good relationships. I am talking about the general, not the specific.