Did you know that scientific studies have proven that women who have meaningful and quality friendships with other women have less stress than if they did NOT have such relationships? While I’m sure men also thrive in having time with just the guys to do things that mainly guys enjoy; Women, on the other hand, need other women for a level of intimacy that many men are not able to provide. Don’t get me wrong. I love spending time with my husband! But I also love and require time with my girlies! There’s just something EXTRAordinary about female friendships.
Regarding the topic of friendship, there are three things that are extremely important to me. Selecting my closest friends, carefully; Working at being the kind of friend that is an encouragement to others; And, reserving quality time to spend with my friends on a regular basis.
Selecting Friends with Care
I think as we get older, we become more selective with our friendships. Perhaps because we learned lessons after feeling betrayed or let down by someone we once trusted. It may also be that we value our time and energy so much more as busy adults.
Like most, I have many acquaintances and friends. However, my closest friends are those that I have known for a long time. And, throughout that time, we have developed an intimate relationship with honesty, respect, realness, trust, and most importantly loving devotion!
Having said this, I am super picky about those whom I refer to as my closest friends. I don’t have or even need that many, as they are worth ten times their weight in gold. These women come in different sizes; different ages; with different zip codes. But, they all have several things in common that meet my standards.
1.) If I’m not doing well, I can confide in them with full trust that they not only have my back, but my best interest at heart.
2.) They are honest about themselves to me as well, and we have an unspoken non-judgemental clause.
3.) They keep me accountable. They keep themselves accountable.
3.) They share in my feelings regarding my circumstances. They cry with me; laugh with me; celebrate with me!
4.) They pray for me. And acknowledge that they do not have all the answers.
5.) They check up on me if/when they don’t hear from me.
I thank God for the amazing women He has blessed me with. I would lay my life down for them. And, I hang on to these relationships as if they were sacks of gold!
Being a Friend to Others
I’m not a perfect friend, and I’ve made my share of mistakes in the past. I have a rather faulty track record in remembering birthdays! But, I have come to appreciate my friendships so much as I have matured over time. It is important to me to be an asset in my friends’ lives. I try to reflect on myself as a friend every so often, and my closest friends let me know when I am doing well by sharing that they appreciate me.
Have you ever evaluated yourself as a friend? I’m not talking about reflecting upon the number of contacts you have on Facebook. No one really cares about that. I’m talking about the quality of time you invest in your friends’ lives.
We all know women who have tossed friends aside as soon as they found true love, or only make time for friends when their significant other is unavailable. We also know women that we only hear from whenever they are going through a tragedy or need something from you. But, what kind of friend are you? Do you pursue your friends? Are you selecting the right ones or just the kind that will accompany you whenever you want to go out? Be true to yourself and determine if there is something you can do differently to feel satisfied with these relationships, as well as yourself…as a friend to others.
Setting Time Aside for Friends
I never want to be the kind of friend that uses friendship as a filler, if you know what I mean.
We all know how difficult it is to make time for our friends (let alone, ourselves)! A few years ago, after Scott and I moved to Margate Beach, I quickly learned that my job, health issues, and the increased distance created a challenge for me to spend any quality time with my friends. I decided to try something different. For my local friends, I arranged a special luncheon at a central location the first Saturday after the Holidays, and I included the invitation with my Christmas Cards (which provided ample notice). I baked cookies, purchased a journal, and coordinated an intimate-girly theme with the restaurant owner. Not only did they all show up; They loved it! In fact, we decided to continue our get-togethers a few times each year for things like Sushi dinners, bowling, pottery classes, and girly beach days!
As far as my long distance friends, I try to coordinate visits once a year. Last winter, I met up with my two friends from New York and we spent a girly overnight in a beautiful castle! That memory will last forever!
As long as it truly means something to you, you can make it happen! Just remember, it’s about quality over quantity. Plan ahead, even if it means getting together with a friend every 6 months…or 5 years. It will improve your life, significantly!
I hope to encourage you to reflect on your friendships, evaluate yourself as a friend, and start/continue making memories with these very special women sooner than later. You owe it to yourself to enjoy your friendships to their potential. Be picky with those who are closest to you. Treat these women the way you want to be treated. And, for crying out loud, plan some girly time before it NEVER happens!
The Living EXTRAordinary woman is selective with her closest friends. She strives to be the best friend she can be, and she makes time for those who matter to her.