This week Gayle and Lee, my two best girlfriends since high school, emailed that they want to come with me to see the Rolling Stones. Instead of flying to Dallas, by myself, and experiencing this fabulous happening, alone, the three of us are turning the weekend into a slumber party, complete with a road trip and a weekend at a great hotel. I’m a happy girl! The prospect of sharing this weekend with two women I love has made me think about the power of girlfriends and the importance of the friendships we form with women.
“IF I MURDERED SOMEONE, SHE’S THE PERSON I’D CALL TO HELP ME DRAG THE CORPSE ACROSS THE LIVING ROOM FLOOR.” SANDRA OH’S CHARACTER CHRISTINA YANG IN GREY’S ANATOMY
We all love the kind of women friendships we see in Nancy Meyers’s films, especially First Wives Club, Something’s Gotta Give and It’s Complicated. They’re usually warm and supportive, with nary a cross moment, but real-life friendships aren’t always like that. While you may not agree on everything, a great friend is first and foremost about trust and loyalty. You don’t ever have to second-guess whether you can tell something to a great friend.
In many ways, Gayle and Lee and I are like sisters, except we’re borne of choice, not of blood. Like sisters do, we’ve had our moments, but in the end, we overlook that which we do not love about the other. We’ve lifted one another up and been there through the death of two husbands—mine—when one of us was in a convent—long story—two of us had breast cancer and our differences over politics and religion. But when all is said and done, we’re the women we call in times of trouble; the women with whom we want to shout good things from the rooftop.
Have you ever thought about how much harder it is to form deep friendships the older you get? Perhaps it’s because we have more history to share. It’s more difficult to tell our stories and paint a picture of who we are and how we got here. Could it also be that when most of us reach a certain age, we think we have all the friends we need or have time for? In order to have a friend, we must be a friend, and friendship is time consuming. Since starting 1010ParkPlace, I’ve met many women I’d like to develop a friendship with, but it all comes down to time and location. Even so, I shouldn’t let that stop me from making new girlfriends.
In the 1800s, women who lived on the Great Plains led lonely, exhausted lives. They were often isolated from larger communities, churches and schools. While their husbands worked in the mines or on cattle drives, women were forced to run the farm, work the land, grow, raise and slaughter their own food and raise the children by themselves.
It wasn’t unusual for women to die at a young age, or to be so overwhelmed and exhausted with the everyday’s of life, that they ran away from their families or went insane. Women friendships were rare. Women went to great lengths, often traveling for hours by horse and buggy just to be in the company of another woman.
The thing about women friendships is the special ones survive and find ways of restoring themselves. Is there a special girlfriend you haven’t talked to or emailed in a while, or maybe a new friendship you’d like to cultivate? Why don’t you reach out and say hello. Tell her how much her friendship has meant to you.