Shopaholic in Alabama

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Women & Friendships - Complicated, But Precious!

Happy Thursday, everyone! Hope you're having a great day!

Pardon me today while we interrupt the spring shopping season to discuss something very near and dear to my heart. Today we're talking about our female friendships, all the complications of maintaining them, but all the joy they bring.

How many "best friends" did you have in middle school? Probably at least a dozen, right? Don't you remember, we all signed each others yearbooks and said "You'll be my Best Friend Forever".  We wrote "notes" that were signed "BFF". Middle school was a strange time for me, I was moving out of my ugly duckling stage and slowly into the young woman that I would ultimately become. Even with all the awkwardness and self discovery, I knew survival required me to have many BFF's. (You all would NOT believe my pictures from this period of time, trust me when I tell you, they'll never be posted around here!)

Then we all moved to high school. Some of us changed schools - I moved from a private school to a public school. Talk about a rude awakening! Everyone around me had been together since elementary school, and I was the stranger. Looking back, this is probably where I learned how to tap into my inner chameleon and fit into a place I wasn't sure I belonged. And guess what??? My best friend count went up! Amazing. More yearbooks and letters written with "BFF" signatures. With at least 2 of my BFF's that we had those heart necklaces that came in two pieces. Do you remember those? The ones where each of you kept a piece of the heart on a chain? A gold chain of course, and thick, it was the 80's after all! Think back - how many BFF's did you have?

Fast forward.........how many do you have today??? How many "best friends" can you pick up the phone and celebrate with, grieve with, or meet for a quick lunch just because? That number is significantly different today, isn't it? Mine certainly is. I feel blessed to have 3 BFF's in my life. Some will say "well it's easier for you - you don't have children - you have time". That drives me nuts........we all have 24 hours in a day! It's the little things we all can do to keep these friendships going.

You know what they say - life gets in the way. It really does. We have husbands, jobs, children, mortgages, aging parent responsibilities, and volunteer commitments. We have the everyday stress of getting it all done. We think, oh I need to call so and so, maybe when I get finished with (whatever you're doing that moment). Little by little, these friendships suffer as a result. We lose touch - we forget important events like birthdays or anniversaries. Then we feel embarrased and guilty about it, so we gradually give up. We don't call and we don't write. One day we wake up and we haven't talked to our friend in over a year!

Please don't let this happen to your friendships! Your friends will always support you! They know you're always right, but will tell you honestly when you need to buy a different size jeans, never wear that color lipstick again, or ditch a relationship. They'll tell you, yes, your hair is too blonde and perhaps low lights are in order. You won't get this honesty anywhere else. :-)

Reach out to your friends. Call them when you're in the carpool line or commuting to work. Send them a card when you know they're down. Offer to watch their children so they can have a date night with their spouse or partner. Email them for no reason other than to say "hi". Schedule a monthly lunch or girls night out. Make it a date in your calendar!

Today I'm thinking of this topic because we're celebrating my BFF Priscilla's birthday. We have been BFF's for TWENTY ONE YEARS. It's a big deal - every year we take a full afternoon - we have lunch at a great restaurant, open presents, and drink wine or some other appropriate adult beverage. We linger. Her DH scoops up their children from school. She doesn't have a time to be home. My DH knows I'll be home when I get there. We always give each other fabulous gifts. It's absolutely perfect, and oh so necessary!

Happy Birthday my dear friend, I am so thankful we met all those years ago while dating those awful boys; dumped their sorry bums and never looked back. We found the wonderful DH's we have today, you had 2 children, I moved away, then I moved back (sort of), then I moved back again (for real). I'm thrilled we live close to each other again and are able to spend quality time together. I love you to death girl, and am so happy to call you my BFF. Just don't get mad because your picture is on here. I know it didn't go through the approval process, but you go to bed with the chickens. :-)

17 comments:

  1. Great post! I've been thinking a lot about friendships lately. You're so right, the older that we get, the more effort we must put into finding/making time for our friends! But, it is absolutely necessary to do so. Great picture of you and your friend!

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  2. I just loved this post. I think friendships are one of the most important things we have, and like all good things in life they take work. But the more you put in, the more you get out. Happy birthday to your dear friend, and cheers to you for taking the time to cherish her!

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  3. You are sO right!! I try to make it a point to reach out to my friends. Old friends are such a gift! Have fun this afternoon & clink a glass for me!

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  4. What a great post. You are a lucky women to have such dear friends.

    I left England in 1994 and have managed to maintain my friendships all these years. It takes a little effort but the rewards are amazing.

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  5. I love this post Lori! I think my female friendships are so important. I can't say I have a best friend per se anymore, but I have a ton of female friends -- from my children's school, various social groups, etc and I know that I can count on them in the hour of need. Furthermore, through all these social networking outlets I feel my friendships have grown. So many of you I have not met, but I feel akin to... I think that these friendships, while vastly different are certainly no less real. I have met a few bloggers already and look forward to meeting a few more this summer.

    I am also vastly relieved to hear of your smooth transition from Private elementary school to public high school. My oldest will be in HS in 4 years and we will be sending her to the local PS high school because it is so highly ranked. (And because we'll need a break before sending her to college!) I always worried about that transition... you have eased some of those worries. Thank you.

    XOXO

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  6. Great Post! I always vow to be better at returning calls and keeping up, because I always feel better after a girls night or a good dinner with friends!

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  7. This was beautifully written! And SO TRUE!! I have a handful of solid girls I know I can REALLY count on. And Lord knows we will not be posting any Jr.High pics EVER!! ;) Talk about awkwaaaard! Happy Birthday Priscilla! Ya'll are so lucky to have each other! xoe

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  8. What a great post! I needed this today, too, as I have a list of about a half dozen friends that I need to call or call back. Time to make those calls!

    I am blessed to still be close to several of my best friends from elementary, middle, high school. I do my best to keep in touch with my sorority sisters that I was close to, who have moved (literally) all over the world. & now I'm lucky to call a few of my "momfriends" from MOMS Club & playgroup "best friends."

    Hope she enjoys her birthday!

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  9. I have to say, I really needed this today too! Beautiful post, Lori!

    Wishing Priscilla a fabulous birthday. You two enjoy celebrating and break out the bubbly!! XOXO

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  10. This is a great post. I can't say enough about my bffs. Life does get in the way sometimes and we tend to let friendships slide somewhat. I know I am guilty of that. I am however,very blesed in the fact that my bffs and I are always only a phone call away and after all these years can still pick up where we left off regardless of how long it has been since we last spoke.
    That's what it's all about.

    What a wonderful tribute to Priscilla. You are a great friend. I hope you have a ball celebrating!

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  11. Wonderful post... I have a few BFFs, and I know I don't keep in touch like I should. They are all out of town. :(

    My friends in Aiken (have been in this town for almost 3 years) are wonderful, and I know I could call on them for anything. I need to cultivate them though...

    Then I feel I have some really good friends that I have met in blogland. I am so excited to be able to get to know them more and more!

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  12. What a sweet post! I'm so lucky to live with my best friend as we are both in college. We are on our 3rd year living together and it couldn't be any better! Everyone told us living together would wreck our friendship but it has only made us closer!

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  13. How true....and something we tend to take for granted. Great post! xo

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  14. So true... I have so many life long girlfriends who are close by now that I've moved back but since we have drifted apart with the distance and years, I have felt a little awkward about calling them up and asking them to go shopping, or to lunch... This makes me want to start re-kindling some of those great friendships. xxoo

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