Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ten Friends Every Woman Should Have

Friends! I think that having a circle of friends in your life is important, not just important but a key driver to happiness. I had a fairly tough week and once again two of my friends in particular pulled me out of the quagmire - one with gentle reassurance and an I love you and one with a tougher talk - knock it off, make a change and get it in gear. Both were messages I needed to hear at the time.

Even when in a relationship or marriage, friends are as important as air to breathe for women. It may be the same for men but not being one, I will leave that post to a male writer. Friends fill a variety of roles- playmate, confidant, advisor, companion and sister. They will laugh with you, cry with you, celebrate your joys, hold your hand, drag you through hell and back, stand by your side no matter what and they understand. They understand what it feels like to stand in your shoes and try to balance all the roles: daughter, mother, sister, spouse, lover, provider....etc.

In the spirit of fun and celebration of friendship and kindred spirits, here are the ten friends every woman should have in her life:

1. An old friend.. OK, I don't neccessarily mean old as in age, but someone who has known you for a long time. There is something strangely comforting about having a girlfriend in your life who knew you 20 years and 20 lbs ago, when you had boundless energy, could rebound in a blink of an eye from a night out and had no need for Spanx. She knows your youthful dreams, first love(s) and nickname in college. That shared history can keep you and and your friendship grounded. We can lose these friendships as we grow, move away from one another and develop new interests. But with a true "old" friend, when you do chat or re-connect it feels like it was just yesterday that you were last together.

2. Fellow mom ... I tell all of the younger women in my life who are about to have babies- there is an unexpected bonus coming your way- you will be making wonderful new friends in the parents of your children's classmates and playmates. The common bond of motherhood, especially with kids of similiar ages creates a quick sense of intimacy with these women. I have found some of my closest friends through my kids. Birthday parties, carpool, school activities - take full advantage of meeting these women. The sisterhood of motherhood is very real.

3. I am game girl. You know the one- always up for a party, shopping trip, impromptu night out or weekend. She will be there at the drop of a hat. In her heyday, she might have been the life of the party on a regular basis and she can always be counted on to bring fun, joy and humor to any situation. Planning a party or a shower, need a boost of confidence, a laugh or someone with whom you can share a bottle of wine or pitcher of martinis- she is the girl to call. No party or gathering is complete wihout her spirit and sense of fun.

4. I have your back girl. She can always be counted on to be on your side, no matter what. There are times when you just need that. You don't need someone to analyze the situation, make suggestions, to do lists- blah, blah, blah. You just need someone who will tell you that you are FABULOUS (because really you ARE fabulous no matter what you think), that you do not look fat, agree that your boss is an ass, your husband/boyfriend is acting like a jerk and that EVERYTHING will be OK in the end. She will dry your tears, make you laugh and pour you a glass of wine or a cup of tea while making a voodoo doll of your ex.

5. The straight shooter. She is a true friend who really has your best interests at heart. She will be completely honest - your new hair color doesn't really flatter you, you can complete that half marathon if you try and forget the skinny jeans. This friendship is built on trust and love. You may cry your eyes out with the "I have your back girl", but the next morning you are on the phone with the straight shooter getting advice on headhunters, career plans, divorce attorneys or the best way to handle a problem. She is smart (very often smarter than you- always have at least one friend smarter than you are), organized and loves you, always. She will be compassionate and help you at the same time- she is the one you want dragging you through a tough time.

6. The workout buddy/special interest friend.. the alarm rings at 5 a.m. to exercise...bleh, BUT your workout buddy will be waiting for you. She may hate or may love to workout but she forces herself to do it and is a great influence on you. If exercise isn't your thing, what is- having a buddy who shares your passion for cooking, french class, scrapbooking, photography, dancing makes it twice the fun.

7. The mentor- I have been fortunate in my life to have had some amazing professional, spiritual and personal mentors. Women who have advised, guided and supported me during career and life changes. These women have been older than me, more seasoned in the work place and pushed through barriers ahead of me. They have often been through similiar life challenges and give great advice. I am now trying to pay it forward and mentor some of the younger women in my life. Find a mentor in your field and be a mentor- what a great way to enrich your life.

8. The stylish/shopper friend- She or he always knows where to find the best bargains and has that innate sense of style - think of Clinton and Stacey on What Not to Wear. Need a shopping trip? This friend is ready. Buying a special outfit or gift- she would love to go with you and gives great advice.

9. The platonic male friend - find him at work, the gym, school, anywhere. Many women fill this role with a gay male friend but it can work with a straight guy as long as there is no unspoken attraction or agenda. Men have a great way of clearing through the clutter and giving focused advice. It is lovely to have that look into the male psyche.

10. The spiritual one. Think wisdom, great conversation, sharing ideas. You probably share a similiar spiritual philosophy but perhaps not. Reading a great new spiritual book, attending a seminar, class on meditation, bible study- you have that in common. Lets face it, sharing your opinion on "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle is just more meaningful when the other person "gets it."

Celebrate friendship!

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