One of the really cool things that happens when you live a life with eyes wide open is that you notice “the little things” that make a difference in your world. And sometimes, especially when you write a weekly blog, you observe those “little things” over and over in the course of a week, you thread the needle to tie them all together and you realize…THAT must be this week’s blog topic!
I was invited to speak to the Stephens College Alumnae Club of Dallas this past week. As I reviewed my remarks before I began, a woman a bit older than I made a simple statement that stuck with me, not just for that presentation, but also for so many experiences yet to come in my week. “As we get older, the most important people in our lives will be our girlfriends. For some, it might be all we have left.” And as I began my presentation, her words continued to resonate and make their way into my remarks to the audience. A room filled with alums from the same women’s college…some tied by friendships that dated back to their college days together; others tied by the simple fact that they had graced the same hallowed halls, generations apart. Women finding friendship and camaraderie and offering support and kindness to each other.
I carried that sentiment into my Women in Business networking social the next evening. As I stood at the door, just before gathering the ladies’ attention for announcements and door prizes, I absorbed the importance of the dynamics of friendship in the room. There were sisters, there were long-time friends, there were new friendships being formed. Women building each other up, supporting each other, welcoming the camaraderie. Women understanding the importance of our SHE friend relationships, not just now but for a lifetime.
In the midst of this busy schedule, I had the opportunity to connect with two dear childhood friends – I call them my “lifers.” I called one to tell her a funny story of “guess who I ran into today?” and enjoyed our 15 minutes of just catching up. The other no longer lives here in Dallas and recently had to move her father into a memory care facility as he battles Alzheimer’s. Her tears flowed, partly from losing the father she has known and loved as he no longer recognizes his family members, and partly from the fact that he is in one city and she and her family are in another. Without even thinking twice, I got the info on his new home and went to see him. He had no idea who I was anymore, but we had a lot of fun laughing, taking a walk and watching a bit of a movie. We even took pictures to send to her. Why? Because that is what friendship is. Girlfriends being there for each other…during the good, the bad and the ugly. Women, now in our 50’s, understanding without words, the importance of our connections, our friendships, our support of one another.
So here is the most baffling part of my week…that I shared out loud (transparency is a beautiful thing!) in each of these situations: I continue to witness in the media and rampant on social media women tearing other women apart. SHE friends, I just don’t get it. I don’t care where you are from, what you look like, how much money you do or do not have or who you voted for. You are my friend and THAT is the tie that binds us. I do not walk away from your friendship because of a choice – a personal choice or viewpoint – that you made or have. I only walk away when you condemn me for my choice.
Kindness. Understanding. Thoughtfulness. Respect. Wine. Laughter. Tears. Joy.
THIS is what friendship is about. Are you living your life eyes wide open? Are you judging others, spewing unkind words behind a computer screen? Are you criticizing other women openly?
SHE friends, let’s walk the talk together. SHE friends, let’s build each other up.
SHE friends, we need each other today, tomorrow and years from now.
SHE friend challenge: Live your life in kindness, good thoughts and support of women for 7 days. No tearing women down because of something you read on Facebook or saw on the news. No judging because of a post someone made. View every woman you talk with, work with or even see on TV as a friend…let’s see what happens.
Note from the SHE Files:
We are the difference. We are walking our talk. We are FRIENDS.