I overheard a lady say the other day, "it was amazing. I actually liked her and I usually don't like other women very much." I've heard this a lot and have probably even said it myself. I think it was a little bit more common when I was younger. Almost as if it were cooler to be friends with guys than with girls. But as I've grown (and actually has been a real gift of my life in LA), I have found that female companionship is one of the most beautiful parts of life. It's not to say that prior to September, I didn't have female friends. I did. But there is only one other instance in my life that I had a "group" of girlfriends and I was 16 years old.
I'm not sure why I did this. I always met a friend and then it became the two of us. We were like that emoji of two girls dancing . It was just the two of us. In fact, these friends are still so dear to me. They mark many different moments of my life. So many gorgeous women. However, with full disclosure, I'm noticing a reoccurring theme in my friend-life. I put SO much pressure on this person. I expected to hang out with her at any moment I needed/wanted a friend. All my problems, all my joys, all my needs--that's a lot for one gal pal.
For much too long of my life, I had this idea that I didn't "like" other women just as the woman I overheard (granted she was in her forties). And what I have finally discovered, is that I absolutely adore other women. All women. We are strong and have stories and love and kindness in us. We all struggle with many of the same things-- where we fit in, how our pants fit, what to do with our lives, wanting to feel loved or whatever.
As of the past few months, I have made so many girlfriends. We text each other often, get tacos, go to museums and on hikes. There's a lot of them so it doesn't feel "exclusive." There is no burdening because there are so many of us that we all sort of bare the weight together. And each one offers me an amazing example.
We were discussing the other day how these female friendships allow us for romantic love with another. (Granted, I'm not actually dating anyone so maybe I don't have room to talk) But I see my friend's marriage. She hangs out with her girlfriends and balances time with her husband. Her husband is not her entire life. She said that the more friends she has, the healthier her relationship is with him.
I am the queen of putting SO much pressure on my romantic relationships. Waiting by the phone for text messages. My head filled with thoughts of what the future might be, etc. It would drive me crazy and I would ruin whatever relationship may have had the possibility to build. I notice in myself how I'm not putting so much pressure already on meeting someone because my life is so filled with friendship.
Marylouise reminded me the other day of when Father Michael, my spiritual director, told me that he would be very concerned for me if I ever told him that I was marrying my best friend. He said, your spouse should not be your best friend. Your best friend should be your friend. After all, who will you go to when you need some time away from your husband? You won't have a best friend to go to.
Friendship is one of life's greatest gifts. I wonder if women are so quick to say that they don't like other women because of jealousy or competition or what? I hope to teach our girls that friendship with other women is one of the most beneficial and enriching parts of life.