When it comes to female friendships, I think we can all easily take them for granted and forget just how important they are since they’re such a normal part of day-to-day life. A great circle of friends can bring out the best in us, build our confidence, offer an incredible support system, make us more resilient to whatever life throws at us and give us strength and comfort when we might struggle to find it in ourselves. Now more than ever, there’s a huge emphasis on female empowerment and solidarity, being part of your own ‘girl gang’ or sisterhood and having your friends’ backs, and in today’s world that is so important.
Female friendships, whilst for the most part can be amazing and uplifting, can also be complicated and require work from both parties, much like a romantic relationship. In some cases, friendships can be toxic though, something I’m sure many more of us have experienced than you would first think. They can be devastatingly turbulent, and the fallout or break-up of a platonic relationship can be just as heartbreaking as a romantic one.
In our twenties, I think there’s a pressure to be a bit of a social butterfly, making as many friends as possible, even though they might not be the right people for you. You’re thrown in to so many new social situations; college, university, new jobs – and there’s almost an expectation to make friends quickly so to not be alone. For some people, confidently putting yourself out there and making friends with new groups of people can come naturally, but for the introverts amongst us, it can be a mean feat!
I would say I lie somewhere in the middle – I’m by no means hugely confident, and although I would say I was pretty shy in my late teens around new people, in my twenties I learnt to knock down those walls and I’m now pretty comfortable when it comes to meeting people I don’t know, but I always have my guard up for some reason. Maybe its because friendships with some people have broken down in the past, and others have turned out to be someone different to who I thought they were, but I find myself being more careful about who I allow in to my life than I was when I did when I was younger.
In my twenties, I’ve made many friends who made certain parts of my life all the better, but because of one thing or another, we’ve drifted apart. Whether that’s because they left uni early because it wasn’t for them, our schedules completely clashed, they moved on to another part of the country (or world), or we simply grew apart – it happens. I often regret that I let some of those amazing friendships drift by, and wonder how close we would now be if we had made more of an effort to keep in touch with each other.
Some of those were the kind of friendships where, at the time, we would regard each other as potential future bridesmaids, god mother’s of our future children, people we continued to grow up alongside. But instead we’re now simply Facebook acquaintances, quietly commenting on each other’s milestones – weddings, birthdays, pregnancy announcements – and liking the occasional photograph, then getting on with our separate lives.
On the other hand though, my twenties have brought me the best female friendships I’ve ever had and I count myself incredibly lucky for the people I have around me. I might not have as big a circle as I did in my late teens, but those that are in my life now are ones that I know will be for the long haul. Those that I would regard as my very best friends, I can count on less than one hand, and those that I’d class as my good friends would probably not even use up my ten fingers. I might not see my good friends as often, but they’re brilliant and loyal and like-minded and I know they would be there at a drop of a hat if I needed them.
They’re the ones who watched me walk down the aisle, the ones who I catch up with over coffee when we manage to get our diaries to align, they’re the ones who will send me a text out of nowhere to ask how I am, or tell me about something that reminded them of me and vice versa, and they’re the ones who, no matter how long its been since we were last together, I can pick up with from where we last left off and it feels like we were never apart.
Then there are the best friends. The few who are like sisters to me. The girls who stood by me as my bridesmaids, know more about me than Dan probably does, the ones who I struggle to get through a week without speaking to. The women that lift me up when I’m at my lowest, pull me up when I’m wrong, support me through the bad and champion me when I’m doing my best. They’ve seen me at my worst far more times than I’d care to admit, they listen to me witter on endlessly without judgement, they get on with my family like they are part of it and they’re always there with a solution to any problem I have.
I used to think best friends had to have been in your life since you were little, but mine have come in my early-to-mid twenties, showing that you don’t have to quantify female friendships (or any friendship for that matter) with decades for them to be the very best. It may sound cliche, but I honestly don’t know what I would do without those girls. They’ve brought me out of my shell, showed me what a truly loving & trusting friendship is and played a huge part in making me who I am, and for that I am truly thankful.
There is no group of girls who I would more rather spend time aimlessly whatsapping, cry laughing with, drinking far too much gin with, singing off key to the Spice Girls with, sharing stories with or making memories with, and I just know we’ll still be doing all of that for many years to come.
So here’s to those amazing women. The ones who are there through thick and through thin, the ones who are at the end of the phone when we need to chat, the ones who humour us when we crack awful jokes, the ones who know just what to say to make us smile and the ones who feel like family. To those wonderfully loving female friendships. May they be meaningful, lasting and all consuming, but most importantly, (to cite Carrie Bradshaw) may they be the greatest loves of our lives!