I haven’t always been a good friend. In the past, I’ve actually been a pretty horrible friend. In my middle and high school days, I participated in gossip; I lied, fought, cheated, backstabbed, stonewalled, used, flirted, and did just about the worst things you could do as a friend. To be frank, I’ve been a shitty friend in the past, but that doesn’t mean I’m still a bad friend. I have also had each of these experiences happen to me from other female comrades, and it really hurts. Many women have had these experiences, and rebuilding trust can be scary, unfamiliar, and guarded. We each have wounding from the feminine.
Our past doesn’t equal our future, and with work, we can change.
Needless to say, I learned from those experiences, have been forgiven, forgave, and have lost some relationships along the way. I am confident now that I’m a really good friend, ally, and supporter. I’ve been told that I’m a non-competitive female. I love supporting my fellow females and building them up. I love to compliment fellow women, cheer them on, look them in the eyes, and know that they want to support me too. Cultivating female relationships can be one of the more challenging to maintain; yet, they’ve been my most cherished. I have so many women today who I call sisters. We all have unique medicine that we each offer, and there is room for all of us to thrive. There’s plenty to go around and with so much abundance—Why not support one another and cheer on one another to WIN?!
To this day, I still have a friend I’ve known since we were 6 years old, friends from elementary school, high school, college, and beyond. My friendships are sacred to me, and I dedicate time regularly to cultivating those relationships. Here are some secrets on how I’ve cultivated and nurtured my friendships and some tips from my best gal pals!
We take annual girls trips to stay connected and to get genuine quality time aside from our weekly connection moments.
1. Demonstrate mutual love, respect, and support from one another. Although we may not see eye to eye, or understand the lived experience of a beloved friend, showing up with respect, curiosity, and a foundation of love is much stronger than any difference in opinion. -From my besties Kate & Kyndal (friends for 12 years).
2. Have meaningful conversations. Talk about what’s on your heart, how you’ve been feeling, and LISTEN to each other. Stay present and set the technology aside during the conversation. We each deeply crave to be seen and heard. Not only do we want someone to listen to us, we want to fully be heard. Although we may not always agree with one another, we can definitely be empathetic and try to understand where the other is coming from.
3. Be reliable and trustworthy. This is HUGE for those of us with abandonment wounds and insecure attachment styles. ESPECIALLY for those of us who have wounding from past relationships. Show up when you say you will, tell the truth, and be honest about how you’re feeling. This is how we cultivate healthy boundaries — when we’re clear about our expectations and we can rely on one another to be there when we need them.
4. “Long lasting friendships are based on love, respect, and connection. Friends that are inspiring and encourage you to learn and grow. Having common interest and sharing your individual experiences helps foster a deeper connection of understanding and love. Honesty is a big pillar. Being completely honest and knowing that someone will listen but also call you out on your bullshit is important.” -Ashley (we’ve been friends for 17 years).
5. “Use the power of technology: with text messaging, Facetime, Snapchat and my new favorite, Marco Polo, it is so easy to let someone know that you’re thinking of them. Even if you don’t have time for an in-depth conversation at least sending a personalized video or audio message is a great way to show you are still dedicated to maintaining that friendship.” –Claire (friends for 28 years)
6. “Be honest: My most true friends are the ones that don’t sugar coat situations or behaviors. While it is great to have some positive comments it’s refreshing to get an honest response even if it is not something you may not want to hear. Doing so in a respectful manner without making the other ashamed or more upset but rather providing positive reinforcements to help with the current situation to me shows genuine concern.” –Claire
7. PLAY—laughing together, celebrating, understanding each other’s jokes, teasing each other (in a kind and loving way; not to trigger), dancing, and cuddling are all so important to our personal relationships (Kate, Kyndal, Ashley, and myself). We take annual girls trips to stay connected and to get genuine quality time aside from our weekly connection moments.
I’m deeply grateful for my female relationships. Not just these incredible women here, but all of the incredible, divine females (and males) that I get to call my friends, brothers, and sisters.
I’d love to hear how you have also nurtured and healed your friendships.
Is there any special detail we’re missing here?
I love supporting my fellow females and building them up. I love to compliment fellow women, cheer them on, look them in the eyes, and know that they want to support me too!