“Woman is Woman’s natural ally.”
-Euripides (c.480-406 BC)
Some truths are self-evident. But when it comes to the intricacies of female friendship, we often don’t play by the rules. If a Greek playwright born almost 2500 years ago, a guy, understood it in his time, why don’t some of us?
She is supposed to be your champion. Your sometime therapist. The keeper of your most intimate secrets. The person you run to when you absolutely, positively have something cool, funny, serious, wonderful or juicy to tell.
Sometimes, in friendship, your partner in the dance makes you feel invisible. The overall toxic pal. Friend? More like frenemy. No matter how hard you try, it just doesn’t get better.
Not everyone is going to be a good fit in your life. That’s just how it is. Some will simply be indifferent. Others will be outright harmful to you. You can gauge it by how you feel when you leave their company. You feel nothing but relief, and then reality sets in. You always give more than you get.
You know the one. Maybe she competes with you, whether it be over men, the price tag on your clothes, the size of your jeans, or the number of zeroes on your paycheck. She makes you feel small at every opportunity. She’s the queen of the backhanded compliment. In doing all of the above, she does nothing more than call out her own insecurities.
This, ladies, is a violation of the sisterhood.
With age comes wisdom, and gradually you can see what most of your friends are really made of. Some fit the above described bill and some are good people, just not what you need them to be. Not their fault, not yours. The essence of friendship is commitment, and sometimes that necessary spark just isn’t there. We outgrow each other, nothing more to it than that.
Then there is the acquaintance, or almost friend. She has a place in your life. You enjoy her company and conversation. There isn’t anything bad about this dynamic, but she isn’t The One. That sometimes elusive, once-in-a-lifetime someone that can give you what your partner, parent, or sibling cannot, no matter what.
When souls are connected by something that defies description, well, that is the stuff of miracles. A true gift. Not everybody gets to have this. Most will probably get to, but will not experience it more than once.
I am blessed. I have this someone.
She never pretends to be someone she’s not. She trusts me with who she is, the good, and bad, and the ugly. I suppose I can love it or leave it. I choose to love. I don’t see the bad and ugly anyway.
When I have good news, it is never met with feigned happiness. A snarky, disingenuous comment is simply not her style.
She always knows what to say. She never crosses the line with unsolicited opinions about the state of my house, my marriage, or my life. When I go to her and bitch about my husband, giving her the blow-by-blow of his latest screw up, she is appropriately outraged at his behavior. But she politely refrains from criticism, and goes back to being happy for me when everything in my union is lollipops and rainbows again.
When my father left this life and passed on to the next, she was the first to offer her unwavering support. So many others could not manage one word of condolence, let alone send a card. The darkest period of my life, and she was there. So many others were not. This was a teachable moment my heart struggled to handle, that I could have done without. One of life’s lessons. The upside? It showed me what her character is all about.
She just gets me, and I’m not the easiest person to understand. I’m strong, opinionated, and passionate. I can be relentless when there’s a point to be made. I am not always appreciated. But with her, I never have to worry about carefully choosing my words.
If she calls me for a last minute coffee chat and I’m not exactly prepared, she won’t care if I have a big zit on my chin, or my hair needs washing, or if I’m having a major fat day. Miss Mean Girl Toxic Drama Queen of the past would have never let me hear the end of it.
She’s beautiful, sassy, smart, spiritual, creative, and shares my intense love for our animal friends. She wants to fight injustice and right wrongs wherever she finds them. She’s a warrior. And she’s on my side.
It never fails, we always laugh at the same things. Ask either one of us about our greeting card tradition. The select few in our world in on this ongoing inside joke will tell you. It is absolutely the stuff of legend.
Life is difficult as it is. The love and trust born of friendship sustains us, allowing us to weather the storm. To know that understanding is there, well, it makes life more than tolerable. It makes it beautiful. When it comes down to it, friendship, just like life, can really feel like an amusement park ride. Fun and exhilarating, but never should be scary and gives you that butterfly in the stomach at the mere thought of the joy it gives you.
Thank you, Sis. You know who you are.