I am grateful for: my girlfriends

No, I'm not living a Sex and the City life here in NYC, but I do find the unconditional love Carrie & Co. have for each other inspiring.

Years ago, when I was suffering through a rotten breakup, the thing I wanted most was a girlfriend I could meet for drinks or ice cream sundaes or something to commiserate.

Problem was, I didn’t have any of those kinds of girlfriends in my life. Making an unfortunately too-common 20-something mistake, I’d neglected my individual friendships while hanging out with other couples with my boyfriend. When that relationship imploded, I felt the weight of my mistake, and vowed to correct it.

I started hosting hen parties at my apartment, inviting some smart, interesting women I knew to come enjoy food, drink and conversation. Slowly the group expanded and I cultivated deeper individual friendships with some of those ladies.

As a result, I am blessed to have some women in my life who I can call at 7 a.m. when I’m sobbing – and while I’m grateful this is not the only reason we’re friends (in which case, I’d have to ask Aetna if they’re covered therapists) it seems to me a pretty good test of whether you’re friendly acquaintances or real, deep friends.

Recently I’ve pulled together some small groups of ladies for soul-searching brunches to talk about our life goals and what’s holding us back. I’m profoundly grateful to know women who say yes to the invitation to let down their guard enough to talk about their ambitions and fears in a group setting, and even better, to share encouragement with each other and question and probe to try to help each other move the ball.

None of this is to diminish the role in my life of my guy friends. I’ve long had a number of male friends in my life, and in some ways, I understand their world better. You don’t typically have to read the tea leaves to figure out what’s happening in your friendship with a man — if he’s ticked off, he’ll probably tell you, then get over it next time you have drinks. Then again, most of my guy friends don’t seem to get ticked off about that much as long as there are drinks.

I’m just especially grateful to have had the chance to pull some smart, funny, considerate ladies into my life, as it’s enriched me to have some friends who understand marriage or the workplace, for example, from a woman’s perspective. And it never hurts to have some girlfriends who can help you go shoe shopping, either.

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Categories: lifestyle

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4 replies

  1. Ditto what Margaret said – thank you for bringing so many awesome people into my life!

  2. Margaret, I *love* when my friends become friends with each other.
    I introduced Katie and Kat, for example, and then Lara met Kat I think through book club? I love love love that you’re all hanging out together, even though I’m a little sad you’re doing it without me.
    And of course you were gracious enough to invite the whole brood over for hen parties when they outgrew my house. Fabulous.

    Laura, good for you for reaching out. It seems like as we get older, we can be reluctant to make that effort for new friends and instead either feel isolated or rely only on relationships you already have. So glad you found Carrie!

  3. Can I just say that I’m grateful that you had your hen parties back in the day? You are so generous with your friendships that you share them too. Through you, I met Kat and Katie, who invited me into their bookclub, and the incomparable Lara, who blew into my life like a redheaded fairy godmother, doling out cheerleading and hands-on writerly help in equal doses. Yay for girlfriends!

  4. Colleen, this is so true, and good for you for changing your situation. I too went on a girlfriend making campaign last summer, about five years after I moved to Ypsilanti. I took flowers to neighbors, introduced myself, volunteered in the community, all with hopes of finding a smart, funny neighbor woman with whom I could share a laugh or cry and a glass of wine or morning coffee. I’d left behind a pack of friends when I moved and missed that coziness desperately. During this process I met many really nice people, and one women in particular with whom I developed a deep, lasting friendship. Knowing that my new, dear friend Carrie is just two doors down, always ready with a hug, or a listening ear, or a laugh, makes Ypsilanti feel a little more like home.

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