Many women struggle with developing and maintaining successful relationships with other women, yet it’s often something we strongly desire. It’s so vital that 34 states have endorsed women’s friendship and recognize September as International Women’s Friendship Month.
International Women’s Friendship Month was started as a single day by Kappa Delta Sorority. When you consider the plethora of organizations created specifically to develop female relations, for example sororities like Kappa Delta and Alpha Rho Lambda, you can’t deny the need for women to have strong female bonds. Our girlfriends are the ones we tend to lean on when we are struggling. We can tell them our secrets and support each other in ways that most men simply can’t provide and often don’t understand.
The book “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” discusses the difference between how men and women function in relationships. Women want someone to talk to and share things with, especially when we’re going through something difficult. Men, in general, tend to see their role in these situations as a fixer, giving recommendations and attempting to provide results oriented support. For most women, we simply want someone to listen to us. Our girlfriends are generally better than men at fulfilling the role of confidante.
Our female friends can be our neighbors, college roommates, childhood best friends, sisters and moms. There are a lot of places where we have the opportunity to develop female relationships. The real issue is maintaining them.
When women mention they’ve had some issue with another women to someone, female or male, the response is often the same – women are catty. This really is an overgeneralization, but not entirely off base. Sometimes we hang on to things we view as offenses and struggle with forgiveness. Men experience the same thing, but they address it by duking it out or giving each other a nod and watching sports on tv. Since men are less apt to talk about their feelings to each other, they essentially ignore what happened and move on. A lot of women don’t accomplish the same result as easily.
Sometimes our biggest cheerleaders are our girlfriends. We can hang out and talk about getting our heart broken, we go shopping or to the spa and we even cook together. Women share time with each other in a way that solidifies their relationship. Letting these bonds die is a travesty.
As International Women’s Friendship Month comes to an end, think about all the women who have ever meant something to you and at some point have added value to your life. If an issue has ever come up that strained your relationship, this month is the time to let it go and reconnect. If you need to, communicate about it. Communication is key to any relationship, so if you hold your anger or hurt inside – something women often tend to do – it festers and becomes something you can give more importance to than it deserves.
According to the Mayo Clinic, holding a grudge can make you depressed or anxious. You may see no meaning or purpose to your life, but more than likely you’ll lose your connectedness to others that would normally add value to and enrich your life. The only solution is forgiveness. You may forgive, but it doesn’t mean you’ll forget. Your not expected to. If you forgive your girlfriend, however, the issue that bothered or stressed you releases its grip on you and makes life more positive.
So if you haven’t done anything this month yet, develop your female relationships. Connect with those you haven’t spoken to in a while. Forgive old trespasses and, well…grow up. When you have women in your life who love you that you know you can depend on, nothing will enrich your life more. Celebrate your female friends for International Women’s Friendship Month and let them know that you are one girlfriend they can always depend on.