I have heard it said that since women will most likely outlive their husbands, it is important to have close female friendships. It may have been said in jest, but I do believe that it is important for women to have friendships with other women. Some of those friendships should be close. Our different friends meet different needs in our life, and we can meet different needs for our friends. Jesus had 12 men who were His closest followers, and I am sure that each relationship was unique because each person was unique. Connecting is important.
Using the following six examples from my own life, I hope to encourage us all to value our friendships and recognize that having different degrees of friendship is normal: to celebrate our connections and nurture them: to ask ourselves if we are connecting enough with other women.
Coffee with Christie
This is the only name that is the real one. Because it just sounds so good! And because it was having coffee with Christie two years ago that prompted this post. Yes, you read it correctly, we haven’t had coffee for maybe two years. Anyway, it’s been awhile. But we still want to. And we probably will. In reality, we haven’t had coffee together often. But when we do, it is meaningful and we both come away edified. We met through some type of homeschool group, her daughters ended up my piano students, she lives a short 10 minutes from me (which is pretty close considering where we live), and we clicked. Coffee with Christie is great because she usually brings me coffee from the coffee shop and we sit on my front porch so I am not far from my children. “Coffee with Christie” represents those connections we have with women that are sporadic, spontaneous, and somehow spiritually timed just when we need them. Connecting with Christie has been a true blessing. She is not like my other friends. If you don’t have a Christie, be a Christie.
Linking with Lois…and Constance and Tahlia
I love this! The names have been changed to protect the innocent, but the first letters are the same. Read on and it will quickly become evident if this is you. I became friends with Lois, Constance, and Tahlia because of our children. This is very common. These particular ladies entered my world (or I entered theirs) at different points in time, but we all became linked together because our daughters became friends. One of the greatest benefits of this particular mom group has been the carpooling over the years. Honestly, I think I have been on the receiving end more often than not, so I am truly blessed! I will always share a link with these women because we survived homeschooling and guiding our daughters through junior high and are about to survive homeschooling and guiding them through high school. Linking up with the moms of your children’s friends has benefits that go deeper than carpooling and surviving. Knowing that we are praying for and supporting each other as moms, and praying for and supporting each other’s children is huge. And just using the word “huge” leads me to recall my link with three other moms, one of whom is the reason I now use the word “huge.”
Laughing with Louise
And then there are the friends that you had pre-children, even pre-marriage. Some of those last. Louise is one of those. Of course, her name isn’t Louise. Unless it was in a skit we did once. Louise and I have had a lot of fun over the years. We have laughed while writing skits together, and have laughed uproariously over things we couldn’t put in the skits. We have socialized as singles and together with our husbands. There is no one like Louise at a party. She knows how to have fun. Yet our friendship is more than sunshine and roses: I trust her the way you can only trust an old friend that knows your good, your bad, and your ugly. There are friends you can laugh with when there is something to laugh about, but then there are the Louises’ that you can laugh with just because you need to laugh, and that laughter only comes out when you are truly connecting. I only get my “Louise fix” about once a year now, but it is priceless. “Laughing with Louise” represents two kinds of friends: any friend with whom you can relax and have fun, and the friend or friends with whom you can RELAX AND HAVE FUN!!!!! Oh, you really must have a Louise!
Dancing with Donna
Although it is true that I danced with Donna, actual dancing, while healthy and fun, is not required in this type of friend. Dancing is, however, a rather nice metaphor for this type of friendship. This is a friend that dances through life with you. Probably an old friend, like Louise. Donna, however, has different things in common with you than Louise does. Donna will dance in joy with you, and sometimes when you don’t feel like dancing and find yourself mumbling something like “just keep swimming, swimming, swimming” Donna will whirl you around and help you find your step again. When you don’t know what to do she’ll remind you to just keep on dancing. There is always another step to take, a different song to dance to, a different dance to learn. Your lives whirl around each other, sometimes separate, sometimes together, but the dance goes on. Donnas’ may be determined and strong, a shoulder to lean on. Connecting with a Donna is a blessing! In my case, my Donna and my Louise form a friendship triangle with me that works like a circle. We sometimes don’t know where one friendship ends and the other begins. We have fantastic fun together, and share deeply with one another. Even though I phrased “laughing” with Louise, one of my best stress-relieving moments of unbridled laughter was with Donna! You can be real with Donna. Nurture one; be one.
Shifting with Charlotte
Ah, Charlotte. She is the friend you had a long time ago, but, life shifted and she’s no longer near. And when it shifted again, there she was. Some friendships shift with geography or some other circumstance of life. Some friends bloom where they are planted, and when they are transplanted out of your garden it seems as if you may never be making bouquets with them again. But then life shifts, and the garden path is widened, and you find Charlotte adding flowers to the bouquet you are also working on. Shift with Charlotte, she’s worth it.
Connecting With Other Worthy Women
This sixth category is for every other type of connecting you can do with other women. The above five examples are by no means exhaustive. There are friends for seasons and friends for all seasons. There are friends exclusive to an organization or workplace. Some of my best female connections have been made within my particular community of piano teachers. I have something in common with these colleagues turned friends that I don’t have with anyone else. I have friendships with older women and younger women, as the Bible instructs us to do. All of these friendships have their own place in my life.
I have heard it said that one true friend is better than many false friends, or than many shallow friends. I would say that one true friend could be all you need, but if God gives you two or three (like He gave Jesus Peter, James, and John) wouldn’t that be awesome? And if he gave you nine other good friends, would you complain? How do you know who that one true friend might be if you never meet new people and are willing to invest in the time it takes to prove a friendship? Whose life could you be ministering to if you were willing to have more friends? There are seasons for everything, possibly even a season for few, or only one, friend. Everyone’s life is unique. However, let’s celebrate our friendships and connections with other women, and the opportunities for more. Not every friend has to be our best friend, and what new friend might become our best friend? Is there a woman praying for a friend for whom you might be the answer?