Cherishing Your Girlfriends

Cherishing Good Girlfriends | The Fresh Exchange

Image via: The Ivy Girl

Tonight I spent the evening with a friend who I have known since 3rd grade. We played on the same soccer teams in elementary and middle school. We then ended up being hall mates our freshmen year in college as well as the starting outside midfielders on our college soccer team. Outside of both being athletes, her and I are completely different in many ways, which we always have a good laugh about when together. She works in finance, and when we were in college, she would schedule her days out hour by hour in order to get her CPA license while still in college. I was constantly the artist with late night hours and boy problems. She is extremely organized in every way I am not and ended up marrying the guy she met freshmen year in college.

In most instances, you would think there is no way you two would be friends and especially not BEST friends, but I will tell you she was the maid of honor at our wedding and one of the people who knows me best. She is as close to me as a sister as I will ever have. She was the first person I told besides our family that I was pregnant, and I would trust her with anything. Spending time with her for just an hour or so over dinner while she was nearby on a work trip, it got me thinking of how as women we make friends and how we keep them over the years.

I have never been a girl who schedules girls’ night with friends. I am more of the one-on-one girl who enjoys a casual and unplanned glass of wine on the porch or a quiet dinner after work. Over the years, I have learned a few things about myself and how I relate to other women. I enjoy women who no matter what their occupation are confident, strong, full of grace, compassionate, and have a great sense of humor. I especially don’t enjoy drama, which is quite difficult to find in a girlfriend. Ladies love to talk, don’t we?

As I have gotten older, I have recognized the need for great women in my life and the importance of cherishing the ones I have found. It is hard to come by a good friend the kind who is is there for you not only to support you but make you your best self.

Over this summer, I read a lot. One of the books I read was Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. It had been on my list for a long time. There is a chapter she calls “Alameda” where she talks about a trip to California with some girlfriends. They all had recently had children in the last two years, and she talks about the weekend spent in a whirlwind of good food, baby time, wine drinking, and gorgeous views. I won’t do the essay any justice to explain further, but it made me realize how important it is to hold closely the women who make you stronger, better, more graceful, and love you no matter what. She refers to these ladies as your home-team, and I loved that term. Knowing who those ladies are that will fight for you and be there for you is a gift.

Recently, I have been trying to find ways to connect and stay in touch with the ladies in my life who I put on this home-team. Though I have a couple here in Raleigh, most of my friends are spread from Ohio to California to Seattle to New York to South Korea and the list goes on. This means I can’t just see them all the time. Instead, I am working to be purposeful about connecting with them, letting them know I love them and that they matter to me. In my 20’s there have been a lot of key lessons of adulthood I have learned, but the most important is that good friends are few and far between, and when you find them you don’t let them go. Good friends don’t just walk into your life every day.

So, I am wondering what do you do to stay in touch with your girlfriends? Do you have a lot or just a few you consider on your home-team? I am so curious because I am trying to find ways to make this a priority in my life.

Leave a comment

  1. This is such an important post! I am definitely still very close with my girlfriends, we have a core group of six and they all mean the world to me. Despite the changes in our lives, we always make time for each other and it’s such a wonderful feeling to have such a great group of friends.

    Tessa at Bramble & Thorn

  2. Hi Megan-

    I’ve read for a while now, but have never commented (I love your blog, by the way! Thank you for writing!)
    I was having coffee with a girlfriend yesterday and we were talking about this same thing. I think for a while, I fooled myself into thinking that it was easier for me to connect with men. Through the years, I sort of unconsciously labeled myself as that girl who “had a hard time connecting with women” and then all of a sudden I woke up one day in my mid twenties and realized I was surrounded by smart, strong, thoughtful, beautiful, complex women.
    My maid of honor sounds similar to your friend. We met in 5th grade, we have next to nothing in common; I am an artist, she is a sonographer. She married her high school sweetheart and i dated many people before getting married last year. But it’s this shared history, this sister-bond. It doesn’t matter what we do, it’s who we are. And in the inside, we are both these kids who grew up in wisconsin, playing pretend, riding bikes around the lake and jumping on trampolines.
    I have five women i would consider my home-team, but probably an additional five that I’m close to as well. They live all over the place and I’ve found that writing letters seems to be the remedy. there is something about hand written mail that pulls at my heart strings a little bit more. I’m always in awe of people’s penmanship, too. I got a letter from a girlfriend the other day and based on the way she wrote I seriously felt like we were in a jane austen novel. One of my best friends lives overseas, and for years now we’ve written long emails back and forth. I just realized yesterday that in the span of four years, I’ve only seen her twice. But it seems like more because of how consistently we write.
    (Longest comment ever, but just to close it out…) I’m reading this book called “Women who run with the wolves” – myths and stories of the wild woman archetype. It talks about our instinctive, creative, wild nature as women;the ways in which our wildness been stifled over the years and what we can do to get it back. I think connecting with each other is a big part of that. Finding your tribe, your home-team & Loving & protecting them, fiercely.

  3. Love this post! I have good friends from high school, college, my time as an equestrian, and from various jobs. Some of these Friends are very different from myself, but that’s what makeS our friendship work. Carving out time, whether in Person or via Skype, is so important since we don’t all live near each other. Surrounding yourself with good people, and peoplE you enjoy, is what life is all about.

    http://www.livinginsteil.com

  4. Hi,
    My name is Maria and my team is really small, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I have two best friends and three friends that I really really like.
    From this 5 girls, 3 of them are out of the country.
    My best friends, I’ve known them for 15 years (I am 25) and they are the light of my life. One of them is currently living in the UK (I am from Portugal) and it sucks because I miss her a lot, but she comes home quite often and we whatsapp a lot, so I always feel her very close to me. Another one lives in my home town and when I feel kinda miserable, she is the one to pick me up, the same way I do for her.
    I don’t want to extend this too much, but, The way we stay in touch is by e-mail or phone or skype, and when we can, we see each other, but even if we don’t talk for 3 o more months, the friendship holds, and that is how I know it is to last. So I guess you should just say how much you love them every time you feel like it, but, if they are true friends, time will not change the love.

  5. There’s a group of 6 of us that are all really close and we have our own private group on Facebook where we all check in and share with each other. What we are working on, health issues, moving, lay offs, frustrations, engagements, weddings, kids. We don’t always talk everyday, but we will check in on each other at least once a month on there. We still talk outside of that group, but this lets us check in any hour of the day/night and without junking up others people’s feeds.

  6. Great post Megan! As well my best friends are quite DIFFERENTIATE from me 🙂 and it appreciate it! there is so much to learn from someone that sees things in a DIFFERENT light.
    On staying connected, I have to do a better job 😛 , the majority of my friends are in Portugal where i’m originally from, so connecting with is mainly virtual via WHATSUP, skype, facetime and when i’m in Lisbon. Which is not enough 🙂 but you TREASURE those short moments!

    Since i’ve relocated to US/Raleigh/RTP area with out knowing anyone here…I have to say I’ve struggle to make friends, I’m interested to know if you face the same challenge and how you went about it? since everything is so spread out is not easy making friends.

    if you are AVAILABLE 😉 it would be great to catch a COFFEE with you!

    1. Hey Joana,

      So cool you live in the area. We have been lucky to have great neighbors around us and knew a few people when we moved to the area which made it easy to connect and feel like we have friends. The people we have met have been through other people we know or they are neighbors of our’s. I always say it takes about 2 years to really feel like you are really in that city. I would highly suggest finding a way outside of work to volunteer or connect somewhere that interests you but would connect with new people. A lot of the local art museums could be a great option, but I am not sure of your personal interests. I am currently not taking any coffee dates right now as we are under the gun for baby arriving in about 4 months. There is a lot to get done and work to get ahead on so I am pretty busy or else I normally would. I know how it is moving to a new city. I highly suggest finding a way to get connected outside of work to meet new people. Even going to networking events. Also Creative Mornings is a great way to connect with people as well!

  7. of course i appreciate and relate to the need to have rich friendships with other women, but i just had to take a moment to challenge your statement: “I especially don’t enjoy drama, which is quite difficult to find in a girlfriend. Ladies love to talk, don’t we?” it always makes me sad to see internalized sexism like this. women aren’t inherently “dramatic”, or “gossipy”, and society’s insistence that we are brings us all down. that viewpoint makes it even harder for us to build and maintain deep friendships among women. just a thought!

  8. I got chills reading these words, especially the term “home team”. I’ve had a trying summer and have needed sisterly love and support like none other. The majority of my girlfriends live across the country and oceans, but it’s amazing how some people can help you feel so strong and loved from far away. I’m truly grateful and am also making it a priority to cherish them dearly.

  9. hi megan, this is such a great post. i dont have many friends but the few i have i know i cant count On them to Help me take the moon and viceversA. even if we dont keeP in toUch that often or go extended periods without seeing each other. very soon my best friend will be moving continents away for work, and ive promised myself that im going to start writing email letters to all of my friends to keep in touch and make it a haBit

  10. hi megan, this is such a great post. i dont have many friends but the few i have i know i can count on them to help me take the moon and viceversa. even if we dont keep in touch that often or go extended periods without seeing each other. very soon my best friend will be moving continents away for work, and ive promised myself that im going to start writing email letters to all of my friends to keep in touch and make it a habit (ps. sorry for the double comment autocorrect changed a lot of words because my keyword is in spanish)

  11. I have a close friend in Kyiv (some 500 km from me). I may contact her any time day or night. May loose her for half a year and call as if we were talking just a minute ago. she is 5 years older, and we were connected by my 1st job. but time flies and i consider she is the friend for ages.
    I have a close friend in brussels (some 1500 and even more km from me). we are calling each other in skype and fb. she visits me each summer. she is a kind of fashionista with manners of a princess. i adore her speech, knowledge of art and taste to life.
    i have a lot of friends from uni years and prior – all of them live in my city. but we could hardly find time for a cup of coffee.
    so i suppose the geographical distance does not matter. only the heart distance) and soul-mating emotion!

  12. hI mEGAN!

    FIRST, I THOROUGHLY ENJOY READING THE FRESH EXCHANGE. YOUR INSIGHT IS INSPIRING! I LOVE THIS POST! FOR ME, IT’S BEEN A PROCESS. I ALSO HAVE FRIENDS SPREAD OUT ALL OVER THE WORLD. IT CAN BE ESPECIALLY CHALLENGING WHEN SOME OF MY CLOSEST ARE ON THE OPPOSITE COAST OF ME [WOOHOOO CALIFORNIA!] OR A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CONTINENT! ALTHOUGH THAT’S BEEN A PROCESS, FOR ONE FRIEND, WHOM I CONSIDER MY RIDE OR DIE, SHE HAS SEEN IN ME IN THE BEST OF PLACES AND THE WORST, WE FELL INTO A NATURAL RHTHYM WHEN I MOVED FROM CALIFORNIA. WE TEXT EACH OTHER AT LEAST 3 TIMES A WEEK. WE WILL THROW IN A FACETIME DATE MINIMALLY ONCE A MONTH. IF IT’S REALLY URGENT WE’LL CALL EACH OTHER. FOR OTHERS, LIKE MY OLD ROOMMATE AND NOW DEAR FRIEND WHO LIVES IN OHIO, WE WRITE EACH OTHER LETTERS. IT’S BEEN A SWEET TREASURE TO HAVE THIS CONNECTION WITH HER. FOR MY OTHER GIRLFRIENDS WHO LIVE ON THE EAST COAST BUT NOT IN THE DC AREA, WE HAVE A GROUPCHAT TOGETHER THAT WE FREQUENTLY COMMUNICATE IN, WE SEE EACH OTHER EVERY FEW MONTHS FOR OUR BIRTHDAYS AND THAT’S ALWAYS A BLAST! I could go on!
    but LONG COMMENT SHORT, THE LEVEL OF INTENTIONALITY AND CONNECTION HAS VARIED FOR ME AND THE WOMEN I VALUE IN MY LIFE. It has also varied with every season of life I walk through BUT MOST RECENTLY I HAVE TRIED TO BE MORE MINDFUL of the connections I have!

    thanks for sharing this post megan!

  13. Hi Megan! First I want to say I absolutely LOVE The Fresh Exchange! Your insight is so inspiring! I’m in an interesting place where I am still learning and figuring out who is my core. for me i’ve always felt like my core should be women near me, but i’m learning that it’s okay if it’s not. So, right now my core is spread out but there are a few women whom i trust, but there’s truly one that i trust with my whole heart. she lives in the beautiful california and when i moved back to the dc area, we fell into a natural RHYTHM of connection. we text at least three times a week. we plan out monthly facetime dates and when it’s really urgent, we call each other or we send each other voice notes/video message [thanks apple]. she is definitely a woman in my core.
    I have two friends who i mostly communicate through letters with. one lives in ohio and another in florida. there’s a special connection we’ve developed over the last year through this way of communicating that i don’t share with others and it’s sweet to have!
    i have a group of girlfriends who all reside in nyc. i love them dearly and our level of connection varies individually but collectively they are some of my favorites. we have group chat together that we frequently communicate through and we gather around five times a year to celebrate each others birthday. I would consider them apart of my core, but I’m seeing how the levels of vulnerability are so different than that of my friend who lives in california.
    Having moved back to the DC area, I have found myself making new heart connections with different women in the area and that’s been fun to explore. I can usually sense if I will be closely connected to someone or not and it’s been exciting to explore the possibility have developing a close-knit community right here.

    I know for me, I don’t desire to have a massive core. i do long for the 1-3 girlfriends that’ll be around when i’m 60 and our kids have had kids. But I’m realizing, I may have a larger core than I thought. Time will tell where these friendships end up in the next few years. i know some of the women above will be around when i’m 60. my friendships have shifted with every season and some have stayed extremely close and intimate and others have become ocassional. i’m learning to be okay with that.

  14. Yes! This is such a beautiful post. I have lady friends from all avenues of my life, but all of our relationships require attention (and planning… because adult lives are hard to schedule), love and nourishment. With a lot of my own friends scattered around the country, it can be pretty tricky to gather us all together for a night of revelry. However, I find that by embracing the small victories of a Skype date together or an afternoon coffee or even a nice Snapchat convo keeps us close and feeling loved!

  15. My best friend is my sister (cheesy right?!) But only after we both became mothers. Motherhood connects you in a way with others that is truly special!
    I live abroad and barely see her. But once in a while a 2 hour-long call (if our babies allow us) is golden. Or when I go back home, I love to stay at her place and spend the evening on the porch with a good glass of wine and a lot of laughter.
    It’s not the amount of time you see/speak to each other, but how you feel towards one and other. And yes, it does take a bit of efford. Don’t let too much time go by or you’ll end up having to much to catch up on…
    (and no, I’m not a girl-type either! most of my friends are boys. They’re just easier! 😉

  16. Such a great reminder to connect with those who are most important to us. It really does take time and effort!

    I am a bit wary of the narrative so briefly perpetuated here that women are “dramatic” and men aren’t… I think that’s a bit harmful! You can find drama in men or in women… it definitely isn’t gendered! We are sometimes expected to act that way, it’s true… but the best way to move past it is definitely not to lean on the stereotype. Thanks for writing — I love your blog! Just wanted to share my two cents.

  17. Guess i was meant to see this post seeing as I am part of a group called “the gnos”. We are 13 women who met in various ways but some how meshed. We used to and still do meet once per month for dinner. But what has brought us even closer is the app “whatsApp”. We Say good morning daily. We share our commute and chat about the stinky guy sitting next to us on the train. Basically we are in each other’s lives daily even if we are far apart.

  18. What a lovely thoughtful post. I’m committed to doing THE same now. I have a drawer full of cards that i buy but never seem to send. I’m going to drop a few in the mail TOMORROW to let my ‘home team’ I’m thinking of THEM!

  19. I stumbled across this post via my fave food blogger (howsweeteats.com) and after reading it instantly sent a link to my nearest and dearest with a sappy note (which I’m sure will catch them all off guard LOL). Thanks for this amazing reminder of what matters.