I’ve never considered myself a girl’s girl. Growing up, I had female friends, of course, but I often felt like there was a distance between us. It may sound petty, but I often felt like I was the “back-up friend,” not the first choice, best friend.
Looking back, I can see that I was sabotaging myself by not always being a good friend. I was so much in my own head that I couldn’t provide the support and acceptance the other person needed. I was so hamstrung by my insecurity and the need to prove myself by being superior that I couldn’t be a good listener or truly empathetic.
It’s only been recently that I’ve experienced the real power of sisterhood in my life. It really began when I joined Rise by Design, a leadership program for women created by the brave and lovely Jami Young. Through the lessons I learned and the relationships I formed during this life-changing course, I was able to move toward female friendship that was real, vulnerable, and brilliant.
The course itself fostered habits that I needed to grow as person, and these habits made me a better friend, too. Through Rise by Design I learned about the importance of vulnerability, how to network effectively, and how we often set upper limits for ourselves because it can actually be uncomfortable to feel good.
After Rise by Design, I continued to build my network of like-minded women. I created my own mastermind group, attended female-focused retreats, asked people out for coffee, and joined another leadership group.
Over the past year and a half, I’ve gone from no close friends in the city in which I live to nearly a dozen women I regularly bare my soul to about my biggest dreams, most devastating setbacks, and most intimate fears.
Sisterhood isn’t really about the number of friends you have, though. It’s about finding people with whom you feel you belong. These are the women who get you, who listen without judgment, but who are also willing to push you and call you on your bullshit.
They are the people in the trenches with you, who want the best for you, and who can channel any envy they feel for your accomplishments into positivity and personal growth…and you can do the same when they have big wins: you take the desires that your envy spotlights and channel those desires into making yourself even better.
Now, if you’re like me and you feel like having meaningful female friends has been difficult for you in the past, know that you can take action to find your tribe.
1. Join a group (or groups) of like-minded women
3. Ask people out for coffee, yoga, or a paint class
And keep asking. Be persistent. And do the work. It’s uncomfortable and awkward for everyone to ask out someone new, not just you. Be brave.
4. Be open to giving AND receiving
Ask for help and give help when you can. Be vulnerable. No one likes a know-it-all. (Believe me, I know. I tend toward know-it-all-ness. It’s an insecurity thing…)
5. Have boundaries
Know what you want in a friendship and what you won’t accept. For me, I find it hard to stay friends with someone when my messages, calls, and invites aren’t reciprocated over time. I’ve been burned in the past by not making my expectations clear, and this led to resentment on my part, and ultimately to deterioration of the friendship.
Now it’s your turn. Tell me about your experience with female friendships. Have you even felt like an outside who didn’t belong? Do female friendships come easily for you? Do you have sisterhood in your life right now?
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