The Value of Female Friendships

The Value of Female Friendships

Female friendships are pivotal to a woman's existence.  Women fulfil a role in our lives that men just can't in my opinion and for that reason I suppose I would classify myself quite firmly as a woman's woman.

Although happily married I am not a woman who regards my husband as my best friend and am always somewhat surprised and intrigued by those women that do.  I didn't become the person I am in tandem with my husband and just as I don't satisfy all his emotional, intellectual or entertainment needs, he doesn't satisfy mine.

We love and respect each other and (aside from our family) share a passion for the theatre, art, eating out, comedy, reading, long walks and bizarrely Eastenders, but we don't have all the same interests.  Apart from the obvious man passion for sport, he is a huge Sci-Fi fan, I am not.  Computer games can engage him for hours but irritate the hell out of me. I love clothes and the latest fashions, he couldn't give a damn.  I enjoy a good romp around an antiques or interior fair, whereas furniture for him is just functional.

Essentially, I think I am a fuller person and therefore wife to him for having my girlfriends in my life to satisfy those other bits of me that he can't reach and to share my interests with me that he doesn't.  Let's face it there are some subjects that men just don't want to know about let alone talk about, whereas with women that you trust there is no such thing as a "no holds barred" conversation.  Also women love attention to detail.  If a decision needs to be made there is generally always a woman ready to discuss the pros and cons of any given scenario at length but I am yet to meet a man that is and most important of all, shopping with a woman is on a whole different level to going with your husband.

Then there is the girls night out or weekend away.  Where would the female world be without these?  Nothing compares to a group of women getting together for a good catch up and a bloody good laugh; you know that kind of hysterical belly aching laughter that happens when you are having fun with like-minded women?  Girls will be girls!

For me friendship is all about the shared experiences, the mutual understanding that doesn't require words and the intimacies you would only share with a loyal and trusted friend and don't have to think about before you do. If you have to pause before you share a confidence with a girlfriend or say "please keep this to yourself" then it is probable that that girlfriend is a good friend but not a true friend.

My girlfriends fall broadly into three categories - University, Work and Children.  This  is probably true of most people, as you tend to pick up friends at each of the key stages in your life.  I have made some truly incredible friends through work and some even better ones through the mothers I have met through my teenager's schooling.  However, whilst some of my university friends have obviously known me the longest and shared my most formative years such as losing my virginity and my first major boyfriend drama, there are some in this group that I would not necessarily deem as amongst my closest friends anymore.

There are some experiences since leaving university and defnitely since having children that have shaped who I have become today that just don't involve some of those old friends.  They will always hold a special place in my heart and my memories but we have quite simply moved on from each other.

Over the years it is natural that you re-organise your friends, it may be that you live too far away from each other and seeing each other is complicated, that you don't like each other's partner, that your children are different ages or quite simply that you have lost touch.  This is all perfectly normal.  Friendships, like a marriage, require love and attention and sometimes life takes over and it just isn't possible.  Generally speaking though the ones that fall by the wayside are those that stand apart from the friends that you don't see for ages but can just pick up with instantly from where you left off as if it was only yesterday and the friends who have got your back in a time of crisis and are really looking out for you and particularly those that support you through the good and the bad.

For this reason whilst planning a celebration for my 50th I found myself inadvertently doing  a bit of a friendship cull in deciding on the kind of party to have and the friends I want there.  Sadly, I know that there are a couple in particular from my 30's and 40's when I encountered some of my toughest challenges that I simply won't carry through to my 50's.

When I raise a glass to being 50 and celebrate with a tear and a laugh, I want to surround  myself with those true friends that have stuck by me through thick and thin.  By that I mean the ones who were there when I got divorced; the ones who supported me when my mother was diagnosed with cancer and the ones that helped me without being asked when my husband suffered his mini stroke last year.

Some of these are relatively new friends but they are valued.  True girlfriends are hard to come by so when you do find them, they need to be cherished, nurtured and thanked for listening.....

 

As Featured on Absolutely Prabulous #Blogstars 4

 Hear hear! I nodded all the way through this eloquently written post by the rather fabulous Jo. It’s a rather beautiful appraisal of friendships that come and go throughout our lives and the role that her husband plays in her life and how it all fits together. I’ve watched Jo handle ‘that birthday’ with aplomb throughout her blog and social media posts and she’s rather an inspiration to me in so many ways. And boy does she know how to write.

 

 

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54 Comments

  1. March 8, 2017 / 10:03 am

    I really enjoyed this, and I totally agree with the hubbie not being your best friend! the assumption is that he should be. I am lucky to have some very close friends, some from childhood, later from work and from the school gates, and enjoy many girls nights out. Not only do I think its important for me but also for my kids (who often moan I go out to much) that they see me not only as their mother but as a woman who has a life that doesnt just revolve around her children (in a nice way). I am fortunate that my hubbie does not mind my going out as much, as I know women who are not so fortunate and have to ‘gain permission’ to go out!

    • March 8, 2017 / 10:09 am

      Oh Sharon you sound like a woman after my own heart and with an equally understanding husband as my own. We all need to hold onto that small part of ourselves that makes us individual and unique. I am glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for reading and for your comment. x

  2. December 10, 2016 / 9:52 pm

    A really lovely and beautifully honest post, I think we all have to reevaluate our friendships at times and its so refreshing to see you talking about it with such honesty. Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x
    Hannah G, The ‘Ordinary’ Mum recently posted…Weekend Tot Style #11My Profile

    • December 11, 2016 / 6:54 pm

      Oh thanks Hannah, that is lovely, I am glad it struck a chord. Sometimes honesty is definitely the best policy. #bigpinklink

  3. December 10, 2016 / 1:40 am

    Such a wonderful post. Something that i have reflected on a lot over the last year. The fact that friendships are like relationships and that without the same time of committment and energy they can just wither away. I’ve also come to accept, very much in line with what you say, that there are different types of friendships for the different stages and phases of your like and that as you grow as people,those friendship sometimes change to reflect that. I definitely think that it is during your hardest and most difficult times and hours that true friends shine, and those are the ones worth holding on to. Its great that you’re taking the time to reflect on your friendship circle, something that I think is healthy for all of us to do every once in a while.. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this on #MarvMondays. Emily

    • December 11, 2016 / 6:57 pm

      Emily I think as women we are far more prone to reflect and analyse in a way men don’t, it is far more clean cut with them I find. I love all my friends in different ways but as you say as you grow and develop as an individual your friendships don’t always mature with you. Thanks for your comments. #MarvMondays

  4. December 9, 2016 / 10:02 pm

    Like you, I am also a “woman’s woman.” I have always enjoyed the company of women, except in extremely lopsided situations (as in a bank branch where I used to work where 95% of the employees were women and too many were gossipy bitches).

    I look forward to my annual girls’ weekend each year with one “university friend” and one post-university friend. I always come back feeling renewed, most likely as a better wife and mother. And I remember all of those moments that solidified my knowledge that these are my forever friends.

    Thank you for a wonderful post! (BTW, 50 ain’t what it used to be!)
    #BloggerClubUK

    • December 11, 2016 / 7:00 pm

      Ha ha yes I hear 50 is the new 20 right? I hope so. Female friendships are so unique and you don’t need many of them, I would rather have a few really good female friendships that several poor acquaintances. It is great that you make an effort to get away together every year. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. #BloggerClubUK

  5. December 7, 2016 / 9:40 pm

    Love this post. My cousin and I had a conversation like this when her husband who didn’t care to socialize much wondered why he wasn’t “enough” friend for her. Over wine and more wine, we agreed with what you wrote. Women and men provide different emotional, intellectual and entertainment needs.

    My best friends and I have been friends for over 22 years and have been through graduations, marriages, children, divorces, re-marriages and life gets in the way of us being in it as much as we want. We decided a couple years ago to try monthly and gave our day out a name…GNO Day (Girls Night Out).

    GLAD you wrote this post =) #BloggerClubUk

    • December 7, 2016 / 10:13 pm

      Oh Selena am so glad we are on the same page. Isn’t it funny how women always set the world to rights over wine?! Love that you have a great group of friends and that you all look out for each other and getting together on a regular basis is such a good idea. Thanks for commenting. #BloggerClubUK

    • December 7, 2016 / 10:11 pm

      Oh very therapeutic – just like clearing out a wardrobe of unwanted clothes if that is not too harsh a comparison. #ablogginggoodtime

  6. December 7, 2016 / 12:39 pm

    Admittedly I only have a very small circle of friends because I don’t make friends easily bit I would be lost without the ones I do have. I too am married but I agree that a husband just cant give you what a true girl friend can. Sometimes when I’m really upset over something silly (like a character dying in a film for exanple) my husband will look at me like I’ve completely lost the plot while my friend would nod along sympathetically. I guess in a way we’re lucky to have a husband and some good friends. We have the best of both worlds 😉

    #bloggerclubuk

    • December 7, 2016 / 10:10 pm

      You are right Janine – it is good to have the best of both in a group of truly supportive friends (I would rather quality than quantity) and a husband. Both complement each other and have a role to play in our lives. #BloggerClubUK

  7. December 7, 2016 / 12:09 pm

    I loved this post. I think you are very right, both in terms of friendship groups and about the fact that women need other women in their lives. I hope you have an incredible birthday, surrounded by all those that matter to you. #BloggerClubUK

    • December 7, 2016 / 10:07 pm

      Thank you I am glad you liked it. I think planning my birthday forced me down quite a reflective route on my friendships and thus the post was the result. #BloggerClubUK

  8. December 7, 2016 / 11:29 am

    Heavens above HOW much do I love you for writing this and particularly the bit about your husband not being your best friend. DITTO! Thank God it’s not just me; all these year’s I’ve been wondering where we went wrong or more accurately how on earth one’s husband could in fact be one’s best friend. The funny thing is my relationship with my husband was in fact a friendship of two years beforehand but I definitely look to others now for actual friendship. Really related to the whole thing although sadly the one true best friend I ever had is now longer barely even a friend after years of enduring her unfriendly oddball husband and extremely high maintenance kids all took their toll. Tis life. Great post as always Jo. #coolmumclub
    absolutely prabulous recently posted…15 Things I Want to Pass on From Three Years of BloggingMy Profile

    • December 7, 2016 / 10:05 pm

      Ha ha that is so funny. I was rather nervous that my husband would be upset and showed it to him prior to posting but he has broad shoulders and said that ultimately he understood my sentiment. Interesting that you have also lost contact with a dear friend due to her family – it can certainly send a friendship off course can’t it? Thanks for your lovely comments and glad it struck a chord with you. #coolmumclub

  9. December 7, 2016 / 10:45 am

    I would truly be lost without my girl-friends!! We don’t have to see eachother regularly but when we do manage to meet up its like there has been no time since the last! They are there through blood, sweat and tears and copious wine!! Love them dearly! Loved your post!
    #marvmondays 🌺

    • December 7, 2016 / 11:15 am

      Oh thank you for your lovely comments and glad it has reminded you of the special role of friends and wine of course! But then for me the two always go together. #MarvMondays

  10. December 6, 2016 / 11:47 pm

    I have one friend that sometimes I don’t see or hear from for long lengths of time. But when we do get together, it’s like there has been no time apart. We just click. Really well like friends should. I have a lot of aqaintences, but my true girlfriends I can count on one hand. I look forward to reading about your 50th!
    http://www.vanityandmestyle.com
    Laurie recently posted…Vincent Longo Cosmetics For A Softer BlushMy Profile

    • December 7, 2016 / 8:17 am

      Throughout life we all pick up lots of acquaintances but the real friends as you say are few and their friendship priceless. Thanks for commenting Laurie.

    • December 7, 2016 / 8:15 am

      I have one coming up tomorrow and can’t wait to blow away the cobwebs with a few shared laughs. #BigPinkLink

  11. December 5, 2016 / 5:31 pm

    Loved this post and hello I’m a newbie to the #bigpinklinkup
    I too adore my friends, one of whom I’ve been best friends with since we were both 3! A long time.
    I’m always wittering on about them over on my blog With travel posts a plenty that involve them and it my other half. Girlie weekends away are the best ! Thankyou for sharing , Tracey x

    • December 7, 2016 / 8:19 am

      Wow that is a long friendship! It’s amazing you are still in touch after that length of time, that is a lot of shared history. Love your blog title will be popping over to check it out. Thanks for stopping by. #BigPinkLink

  12. December 5, 2016 / 1:53 pm

    I must say I would describe my husband as my best friend. With that said I also have a female best friend and I need her so much, life isn’t the same without her. My husband does fulfil a lot of my emotional needs, he is actually oddly good at conversations I know most men aren’t and he does let me go crazy on a pros and cons list. However there are some things I need my girl friend/s for. Sometimes I just need another female perspective because it comes from the same approach as me, sometimes I need an opinion to come from a woman because I know I will listen to them, if Hubby says it I think he is just telling me what I want to hear. Sometimes I get irritated with my husband and I can hardly have a little moan about him to him, same goes if my friends irritate me. As far as friendship goes they are equally important to me, I certainly couldn’t face things as well as I do without both types of friendship in my life.
    #BigPinkLink

    • December 7, 2016 / 8:14 am

      Sounds like you have the best of both worlds Kirsty which is fabulous. I do value my husband’s perspective on many things and there are some elements to me that only he will “get” which comes from being together and bringing up a family but those girlie rib tickling girl moments are separate and indulge that other bit of me. Thanks for your comments. #BigPinkLink

  13. December 5, 2016 / 10:20 am

    The bond between women is incredible – I always feel that I’ve had the best best therapy session when I’ve been with the girls. The laughs are like no other but the being there when you need them is like nothing else. I loved this post for recognising that although a marriage can be wonderful it is important to have something outside of the marriage too – I wholeheartedly agree. A fantastic post! Oh and wow to the turning 50 soon – hope all the planning and celebrations go amazing! Have fun #BigPinkLink

    • December 5, 2016 / 1:19 pm

      Oh Helen I am so with you on that. In fact I have a Xmas lunch with my old work girlfriends this week and I can’t wait! Am feeling in desperate need of some friend and laughter therapy! Yes thanks re the 50th – I think I watched the same programme as you – in search of a a sudden miracle before then! Thanks for your lovely comments. #BigPinkLink

  14. December 5, 2016 / 9:40 am

    Can’t imagine what I would do without my girlfriends. Happy 50th birthday! Enjoy the celebration with your best girls! 🙂

  15. December 5, 2016 / 8:20 am

    I love this! I am on the same page with you. I love my partner he is my best friend me and partner in life but I couldn’t be without my girlfriends. I have known them longer and they are just as much a part of me as I am. The two relationships are different but equally important. Here’s to or fabulous female friends. Thanks for sharing at #familyfun xx
    Tammymum recently posted…What To Get The Man Who Doesn’t Want?My Profile

    • December 5, 2016 / 9:13 am

      Oh good am so glad to find a fellow advocate. As you say our friendships form part of our DNA and like you I couldn’t be without them. #familyfun

  16. December 4, 2016 / 8:56 pm

    I am so super in to this post and am loving that you’ve highlighted the necessity for women to have a tribe or different tribes of women that they can talk to in times of need! I blogged about this also as I feel very strongly about it too <3 Male partners are all good and well but there is something about a female friendship or clan that just makes us feel so inspired and supported. #coolmumclub
    Rebecca recently posted…Santa Claus, Old Saint Nick, Father Christmas: A hideous lie or a magical belief?My Profile

    • December 5, 2016 / 9:09 am

      Oh great thanks Rebecca. I hadn’t thought of them as tribes but that is a good descriptor. Ultimately there are some things that men just don’t get about being a woman which is not surprising but is why we need female support around us but there are some for whome it doesn’t work. I will have to pop over and check out your post too. #coolmumclub

  17. December 4, 2016 / 4:28 pm

    I agree completely. I have always had plenty of female friends. i think that’s very important and it takes the pressure off your partner to be an all-in-one friend to you.

    • December 5, 2016 / 1:21 pm

      You are right actually I hadn’t thought about it from the husband’s perspective. He is probably quite glad for someone else to listen to me sometimes.

  18. December 4, 2016 / 12:47 am

    I agree that my other half is not my best friend, he is certainly the love of my life and my confidant. There is not much I don’t tell him. I have a similar structure of uni friends and Mum friends, fairly few of all. I love the ones who I can go months without speaking too and puck up where we left off, it’s pretty magical. Great post! Thanks for linking up to #familyfun
    Karen | TwoTinyHands recently posted…Happy Days #38 – It’s Christmas!!My Profile

    • December 5, 2016 / 9:06 am

      It is wonderful to have a great friend in your partner but female friendships are so valuable and it is great when you can just pick and carry after a break from each other, I always think that is a good test of a fabulous friendship. Thanks for your comments Karen. #familyfun

  19. December 3, 2016 / 7:45 am

    I wrote barely long reply but then my internet crashed as I was sending it, so annoying! Firstly thank you for linking up with #mg. I loved this post, for my 40th I celebrated this year with all my besets friends, women who inspire me and make me laugh! It was an amazing night! I have still got 2 amazing best friends from high school and some fab new friends that i have met through having my 3 children. Friends really are the best!
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…When they don’t want to grow up.My Profile

    • December 3, 2016 / 2:56 pm

      Isn’t that always the way? It happens to me all the time. Sounds like you a good celebration of your 40th, those big milestones come around a lot quicker than we think and what better way of marking them than with the people who we cherish and make us feel fabulous about ourselves. Thanks for commenting. #mg

  20. December 2, 2016 / 8:39 am

    Real friendships are priceless. I have a group of female friends and my life is richer in so many ways becasue of them. #ablogginggoodtime
    Lynne (Raising my Autistic son) recently posted…Rules rule!My Profile

    • December 2, 2016 / 9:22 am

      Oh I totally agree Lynne, mine play a big part in my life and my sanity! #ablogginggoodtime

  21. December 1, 2016 / 2:44 pm

    Female friendships are important, although I’m not great in groups of girls. I have one best friend and another bestie in New Zealand. I’ve never been one for lots of girl friends and find hen nights, mums’ nights out etc a struggle. Having said all that, I completely understand where you are coming from. My mum always spends so much time with her female friends – they are out several times a week and she is 74. She says she could never be without them. There is absolutely a special bond between female friends to be treasured. Alison x #ablogginggoodtime
    Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Sexual controlMy Profile

    • December 1, 2016 / 5:51 pm

      Actually to be honest I dislike big gaggles of women too, they have to be small groups of my besties. I have about 5 groups of girlfriends from different parts of my life as I said but the max size of each group is 5. Put me in a room on a big school mums night and I freak. BUT i do love the whole female camaraderie. Love that about your mum at 74. Mine is the same age but the complete opposite and would rather have a chat with a man. We are all cut from different cloth. #ablogginggoodtime

  22. December 1, 2016 / 2:31 pm

    Love reading your post. It is so true. Some of my school and University friends are now have their own adventurous lives and they really don’t understand a life with children. It is really sad that you have built that trust and then they turned out to be so bitter of you because you have decided to have a family. Oh.. well… it is not the end of the world… I suppose. #mg

    Happy 50th Birthday by the way! Wishing you a fantastic day! x
    Su {Ethan & Evelyn} recently posted…Let’s Make Some Christmas Cards!My Profile

    • December 1, 2016 / 5:56 pm

      Su I think the toughest test of friendship is that one when you start a family before your mates. I was the first amongst my Uni friends to have kids and certain friendships weakened for sure during that time. Some of them were rebuilt when they had a family of their own and others have just disappeared. Such is life. However on the plus side the friends I have met through my children and their schooling are very dear to me. Have faith. #mg

  23. December 1, 2016 / 12:46 pm

    Friendship is so important and without friends around me I wither and basically, die. Sorry that sounds very dramatic! But my other half if happy to have a solitary existence but I am a social creature who needs fab friends around me for life to feel complete. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely xx
    Talya recently posted…The honest parent blog: Why I tell it how it is on the blogMy Profile

    • December 1, 2016 / 9:58 pm

      I agree with that completely. I love my own company and can sometimes completely withdraw but I totally need my friends. They say opposites attract by the way! #coolmumclub

  24. December 1, 2016 / 11:13 am

    Frienship really is so important in life. It brings you happiness and makes you feel whole. I lost some of my best friends, due to me getting married and moving to another city and having a family. I miss them so much, but like you said, even if you run into each-other after a few years, you can just keep on from wher it was left. As if the years haven’t gone by.. But I have to say it’s not the same as to having a friend there by your side. I wish I had that. I miss hanging out, I miss the talk, crying together, laughing together, supporting each-other. Randome phonecalls and just some small talk:)
    #coolmumclub

    • December 1, 2016 / 11:51 am

      I can empathasise with that completely – I lost contact with a very dear friend who married in Australia and we haven’t seen each other for years. Despite having some other fabulous friends I still miss her and what she brought to my life on a daily basis. I hope you are building a new support group of fab friends around you – some of my dearest friends now are those are met through my children. Thanks for dropping by. #coolmumclub