Most female friendships start in college and during the early years of marriage. Some women are fortunate and develop long-lasting friendships in high school or as far back as childhood. I was not one of those lucky women.
I have always been perplexed by this and have often wondered what traits it takes to make and keep long-term friendships with other women.
Even romantic relationships fall apart if one outgrows the other. This can cause a rift, and eventually, the couple will grow apart. This issue literally changes the dynamics of the person and the relationship. It changes who we are at a cellular or soul level.
What felt right or what we once wanted has now been replaced with new ideas that can alter our priorities and belief system. What are the choices in this scenario?
For the sake of the relationship, some stifle who they have become and try to stick it out at the cost of betraying both themselves and their partner. In comparison, others have the courage to admit that they no longer feel fulfilled and that their needs have changed.
A Spiritual Point of View
From a spiritual point of view, we create relationships to mirror, learn and expand ourselves. Before we are born, we enter into soul contracts to unite with others to learn and experience certain lessons. These contracts can take a lifetime, while others may only be for a short while.
Many friendships between women are designed to belong and offer many valuable lessons and support. And others are fleeting.
For example, a colleague at work that is instrumental in helping you come to terms with your marriage problems. I believe that she was placed in your path at that time to help you see what was really going on in your marriage. This was the purpose of the friendship, and once completed, you go your separate ways.
For me, friendships with other women have always been difficult. I think that the dynamics of female friendships are complicated. There are a lot of emotions and issues that can come into play. I have experienced in friendships jealousy, competitiveness, and gossip, to name a few.
We all can have issues about careers, relationships with partners, children, and money. I am not saying that men don’t have the same issues, but their communication is much more direct and less charged with emotions.
Friendships with Other Mothers
Many of us find our soul tribe of women during our early married or partnered life. Both people come with their own friendships from school or work. For most couples, the ideal scenario is to have both sets of friends blend beautifully together.
This offers a larger social circle for the couple while also maintaining love and support from their original friendships. I think that this works really well but can change when children start coming into the picture.
We tend to develop bonds with other mothers with the same school-age children. New friendships arise with other mothers at preschool, elementary school, or playgroups. Our children are developmentally at the same place, and therefore we are at the same place in life.
This naturally creates a sense of community that fosters emotional and practical support for one another. It really does take a village, and these other women become a valuable part of our lives.
During the school-age period of our lives, we are busy with work and our family life. Each is very demanding, and finding balance is not always an easy task. We often integrate these new mom friends into our married life. It is not uncommon to start to socialize as a couple and not for the children’s sake. This begins a new social set of friendships that can last a lifetime.
Empty Nest Friendships
Many of these friendships dissipate when the children grow up and move on with their own lives. The common bond that we once shared is no longer present. These friendships, with time, can evolve into something else altogether.
Now it’s about love and support during divorces, teenage problems, and financial issues, which can create a deeper bond. This concept is based on being at the same place and stage in life, therefore, going through similar life lessons and experiences. I can’t think of a stronger bond than that.
Female friendships can endure many ups and downs together. It is at times like these that friendships are tested. I know that I have lost many friends who I thought were dependable during difficult times. The fact is that we don’t need a tribe of superficial friends but just a handful of real ones.
Remember that friends can come into our lives and are not meant to last forever. Our needs or expectations of friendships change as we go through life. As we grow older, we have less time or tolerance for superficial friendships, which tend to fall away.
Friendships Later in Life
I will admit that finding female friends later in life can be difficult. We don’t have the same opportunities to meet other women the way we did when we were younger. And what we are seeking in a friendship now is very different.
Many of us are widowed, divorced, or alone and are lonely. Our need to socialize now consists of simple one-on-one companionship that is both supportive and meaningful.
Our female friendships have played an important role in our lives. They help shape us into who we are and teach us so much about life. Chances are you’ve had issues and arguments along the way. You learned how to support another woman through her perils and accepted her guidance and love as you faced yours.
Being a good friend means telling each other the truth in a constructive, loving way. I am grateful for the ones that I have had and the life that did that for me when I needed it the most. Sometimes a friend is the only person that can bring compassion and be there during the hard times.
For those of you that have good friends during this phase in life, you are truly blessed. The process of growing older is different for all of us. The reality is that this process can be scary, but if we have friends by our side, the journey is far easier.
Chances are many of your friends have come and gone, including by death. I hope that their passing brings memories of their love and support, and please take solace in knowing that you did the same for them.
So in closing, let’s think about the many friends that have come and gone during our lives and what they taught us. They say the most important thing in life is to love and that we are all here to experience exactly that.
In that case, we have more experience loving friends than any other kind of love. Here’s to female friendships whose presence is so impactful that their love and support are needed for every phase of our lives, including this one.
Do you still have friends from your childhood? Did you meet most of your female friends through your children? Did you lose friends during a divorce or other difficult situation? Do you value your girlfriends now more than ever? When was the last time you befriended someone? Please share with the community!