Female Friendships

images-2I am speaking at a retreat this weekend (Brookside Church) and my friend Tim and I are tag teaming on didactic relationships: Male/Female, Female/Female, Parent/Child and then Self/Others (how do you communicate yourself to the world? body language, clothing, comfortable in your own skin, Facebook status, etc) I found this quote by Elizabeth Gilbert, (author of Eat, Pray, Love) and I plan to share it as I am leading the segment on female friendship......

"The bonds between women are (rightly) so often celebrated as perfected models of emotionally supportive true love, but we all know that there can be a dark side to these bonds, as well. Female friendship can be just as often marked by competition, resentment and disappointment as by affection and loyalty. Moreover, I don't know a single woman (myself included) who has not suffered through at least one absolutely agonizing break-up with a dearly beloved friend over the years. These break-ups can be just as painful as any severed romantic relationship, but they are often even more shameful and secret, because we don't really have a common societal language with which to discuss the sense of shame and loss that comes with these failed unions."- Elizabeth Gilbert


....and then I want to read this excerpt from Friendships Don't Just Happen by Shasta Nelson:

"There is a lie out there that real friendship just happens. 

 When I was new to San Francisco eight years ago, I remember standing at a café window on Polk Street watching a group of women inside, huddled around a table laughing. Like the puppy dog at the pound, I looked through the glass, wishing someone would pick me to be theirs. I had a phone full of far-flung friends’ phone numbers, but I didn’t yet know anyone I could just sit and laugh with in a café.

 It hit me how very hard the friendship process is. I’m an outgoing, socially comfortable woman with a long line of good friendships behind me. And yet I stood there feeling very lonely. And insecure. And exhausted at just the idea of how far I was from that reality.

 I knew I couldn’t just walk in there and introduce myself to them. “Hi! You look like fun women, can I join you?” I would have been met with stares of pity. No one wants to seem desperate, even if we are. We don’t have platonic pick-up lines memorized. Flirting for friends seems creepy. Asking for her phone number like we’re going to call her up for a Saturday night date is just plain weird. All the batting of my eyelashes wasn’t going to send the right signals. And so I turned away from the scene of laughter and walked away.

 No, unfortunately, friendships don’t just happen."


After doing some research....here's a few thoughts I had regarding Female Friendship.


Building real friendships (some "how to"):

-take risk (asking to grab coffee, have dinner, go for a run, have a play date or seek advice…..there is initiative…takes risk)

-take time (deep roots aren't grown overnight….)

-take effort (investing thought, investing gestures of care, investing in being a learner and student of the other)


Lifegiving friendships (what they look like):

-have an element of ease (very low amounts of competition, resentment, and disappointment from unmet expectations…forced friendships have high levels of those)

-have an element of fond companionship (you enjoy the same things, can do a lot of life together)

-have grace and truth (they are there for you when you fall in the ditch…and they tell you when there is a ditch to begin with)


My segment is short.....but anything you would add?