Saturday, June 11, 2011

Female Friends

There are several women in my life that I have grown to really feel a kinship with. Not often do you find women friends that you would want to turn into a quartet, much like the gals in Sex in the City. These women are nothing like those women, they are real women with real women issues. They are not concerned with $700 shoes or pocketbooks. In fact, they would view much of that as a tremendous waste of money. I doubt any of them would be Samantha, Carrie, or Charlotte, and not one of them is like Miranda.
Well that is really not the issue. I am not trying to find three other gals to talk about sex with or over indulge with alcohol, shopping or men. I just want have a few women friends over for an afternoon of drinks and socializing. It would be nice if by some miracle we could all start doing things together. It would be nice to have time to paint together, thrift shop, antique browse or even start a book club.

I find it curious that all my closest women friends live in other parts of the country. After taking stock of this I realize I have some very wonderful friends right here where I live. Those friendships I have not fostered enough. I guess I was too wrapped up in my own grief  and all of life’s little surprises to reach out. Well I am feeling better and now I am reaching out locally. All the ladies I am thinking about are so very different from one another. I wonder if they ever think about groupings like this. I think it could be tremendously supportive to find comradery with a fun group of other women who need to have that time together. Friendships are important and I’ve felt for too long that I needed to stretch my wings a little and make more friends. Not just have one really close friend but many.

In the movie Enchanted April four woman, all very different from one another, take a villa in Spain on the coast for a month stay, it is there that they give up their misgivings about other women and become very good friends on a deep emotional level. It is there that they learn to love the people in their normal lives and learn to appreciate them. They are able to do this because they the can see in each other their own misgivings and because they are forced to live together and choose to do so in harmony, they forgive the pettiness that surfaces naturally in the beginning.

The character Lottie is heartly responsible for demonstrating goodwill as a first gesture when confronted with this pettiness. It is her response that sets the tone for the whole vacation and the tone each woman takes for herself. Each woman is allowed to be themselves without apology. If they are brash it is treated with courtesy not defensiveness and suddenly the brash woman finds herself realizing that her feelings were respected. The brashness dissolves and in its place a kind and considerate person evolves. If they are aloof and need the space to be alone it is granted, respected and always followed up with an invitation for gathering at a later time. If she is pensive or worried she is listened to and understood and never ever criticized or made to feel foolish. Those small gestures that seem so trivial are really a lesson to us all.

Our feelings are not trivial. Our life’s experiences might be the reason for the initial response of brashness, pettiness, aloofness, and pensiveness that exists in the first place. It is the exterior we’ve developed when life has knocked us down. It is not judgment that will save us from ourselves or allow us to look passed these undesirable behaviors in others.

Those behaviors will sink us unless we try the Lottie approach. Respect and understanding first reserve the judgments for really bad stuff like, theft, lying, adultery, murder, or other such behaviors that woman of integrity chose not to associate with. I would rather spend my time forgiving brashness or pensiveness and get to the great heart of a female friend, than accept someone who by the very nature of their behavior, I will never be able to trust. What a person does to someone else is a pretty good indicator of what they will do in general.

If the woman is outgoing and fun to be around well that is bonus. But no one need be perfect to keep a solid friend, no one is perfect. This is just a fact of life. The women that I have befriended have never showed me a side of themselves that was perfect because I don’t expect that from them. I expect them to be them. However, what they have all demonstrated to me is that they are women of integrity. These woman live by a moral compass; one that I have no problem following or taking lead of. Those are the friendship I choose.


Other Mary said...

Our female friendships are so important, you're right. And it seems to me in this modern time people, especially women, have less time than ever to connect.
I love the idea of a villa in Spain or Italy with a group of girlfriends :o)

Reflections said...

This comradery that you speak of is one that many long for... I have found over the years, that yes, there are times when the small group would be nice, yet one can also gain this with individuals, whom are very different - sharing moments with each, in our own time, rather than coming together as a group. And yes, I have found at times, that having these friends long distance means its still there, but its not quite the same as when they are close enough to get together regularly.

Myrna R. said...

I love my women friends. Don't have many but the ones I do have are genuine, sincere and wonderful people. I'm lucky that way.

(So glad you're feeling better enough to reach out to friends.)

Bee's Blog said...

I have advertised this blog on my latest post - if anyone can ever get there to comment as Blogger is playing up!

I so agree with everything you say here. My true friends of long standing,live all over the world and that makes life somewhat difficult. Letters, e mails, text messages and telephone conversations can never make up for the real thing.

I am glad you are able to stretch your wings right where you are.

I love the narrative you have used as an example of women's behaviour which is so true of us.

I was part of a group - there were three of us but it went badly wrong mainly I think through lack of respect from one member of the circle. So sad after going through so much together.

All kudos to you fro taking this initiative. Enjoy your friendships.

Lydia said...

This post means a lot to me, and your final paragraph is brilliant. Gave me little goosebumps.

I, too, have good friends who do not live close by. Except for one of my best friends from high school, who lives only 40 minutes away and yet we have not seen one another for 8-9 years. She recently dropped off of Facebook and now I really feel badly for not getting in touch. Your post made me realize that I must call her.