So you’ve got your book club and your bestie and you think you’re set when it comes to your women friends? Not so fast. A wider variety of friends enriches our lives in a multitude of ways. Here are five of the most fulfilling women friends we can have…and deserve!
Your Good Times Gal
This gal pal is always game to spend some quality fun time with you. She’s the one who makes reservations—not excuses—for a weekend getaway. When you’re feeling a bit blue, she’ll come up with a way to get you to paint the town red instead. You’re likely to share similarities—you live on the same side of town, your workplaces are near each other, your kids are classmates—which makes it even easier to find time for each other. But she’s no fair-weather friend: you can kvetch to her about your job and she’ll offer a loyal sounding board. Maybe she can’t fix your boss-from-hell situation, but she will show her alliance with you by finding the (possibly dark) humor to help you deal.
Research has shown that women put a much greater value on more frequent contact with their friends than men do. So when busy schedules keep you from getting together, this friend will still brighten your day with a funny text or email—just to let you know she’s thinking of you.
This is the friend who has unwavering belief in you. She knows you through and through and nothing and nobody can change that. Your deepest and darkest are safe with her. She’s the one you turn to in both anguish and exhilaration. Just hearing her voice on the other end of the telephone can open the floodgates of emotions. You trust her to guide you from her heart. Our moms called this friend their ‘bosom buddy.’ Nowadays we hear the phrase “my sister from another mother.” When your heart aches, hers does too. When your spirit soars, she is at your wingtips.
When you need a boost, you turn to your Believer. You can count on her to encourage you when you’re apprehensive about a new twist in the road ahead. She’s the one who asks the tough questions that keep you true to yourself. There’s not a stitch of jealousy in this friendship; the Believer is on Team YOU.
Myriad studies confirm that women seek comfort in their women friends during emotional times, whereas men tend to isolate themselves. Our way is not only gentler on our spirits; our friendships make us healthier. Believe it.
The Wonder Woman in your life is part life coach and part motivational speaker. She knows you have it in you to start that new business or drop 15 pounds. She knows this because she did it—or something similarly inspirational. While she is generally full of keen insight on how you can achieve your goals, she will also walk her talk by meeting you at the Pilates class or the startup seminar. She challenges you on a core level. “You’ve got this,” she tells you, and she means it. She’s the teammate who pushes you to discover the better you within.
Is there something you’d like the courage and motivation to try? A new sport, a new language, or simply a night at the opera? You may need to be your own Wonder Woman and take the first step on your own. But many women meet new friends when they take the plunge and sign up for the rec volleyball league or the conversational Spanish class that always sounded like fun. So don’t be surprised if you find the motivating sidekick you’ve been looking for.
While it’s your Wonder Woman who motivates you to work your core, it’s your Solid who knows your core. This is your marathon friend: she’s in it for the long haul. She’s known you so long that she knows all your backstories: from what you were like as a child (moody and mischievous) to what made you leave your first marriage (um, same?). She’s your archives.
I don’t see my golden oldie friend Peg very often. But I don’t need to. There’s nothing at this point in our lives that could ever change the comfort I feel knowing she is there, and that our decades of friendship have shaped who we are today.
The New Friend
I love making new friends. I love being open to the possibilities that a new friend can bring to my life and me to hers. Mostly, I just love hearing their stories, their points of view, their history. My husband claims that the writer in me loves the character in everyone. But I think what I love best is the evolving mystery of just what type of role a new friend will play in your life—and you in hers. Will she be your twin in good times? The one who convinces you to take up ballet/sky diving/nursing school again? Maybe together you’ll befriend the new family in town or take up a cause or simply help each other juggle the load that is today’s busy life.
All that I really know is that I value all the friends in my life and need them every single day.