Why Female Friendships Are So Important (And How To Make Them)
I’ll admit it. I used to be one of those girls who was only friends with guys. I went to an all-girls high school and after four years, I was sick of being surrounded by girls all the time. So, in college, I made sure things were different. I made a lot of guy friends that I’m still close with today and I genuinely enjoy these friendships, but I soon realized something was missing.
I never would have thought to look for that something within a group of girls, as I had trouble clicking with them throughout high school and even in college. But that happens to be where I recently found it. I have finally come to find a group of strong women that I’m proud to call my close friends––and now that I have them, I literally don’t know how I survived this long without them.
I went through a tough breakup this summer and that was when I realized I needed the support of other girls. I needed the support of people who understood what I was going through, people who could empathize and help me get back on the right track. I came to realize that my guy friends could not do that for me––only women could. Unfortunately, since I was severely lacking in female friends, I had no idea who to reach out to.
Luckily, I had befriended a girl at a random party a few months before. We didn’t know each other very well yet, but after the breakup she was the first one to show up at my door with chocolate and a teddy bear.
She has quickly become one of my best friends and she soon introduced me to her group of friends. This group of girls defied everything I thought I knew about females––they weren’t judgmental, they weren’t territorial, they weren’t dramatic or shallow. Quite the contrary, actually. They’re unique, with strong opinions and values, and very accepting. They understood me and welcomed me into the group with open arms. It didn’t take me long to realize that I had finally found a home.
For the longest time, I was not interested in the slightest in making friends with other girls. I actually tried to avoid it. But within a few short months, my entire mindset has been turned around by a small group of girls and I now see exactly why female friendships are so important.
They understand in a way that guys often don’t.
Girls understand how the female brain works, so when we have thoughts or do things that may seem “crazy” or “weird” or “obscure” to guys, other girls will be there to back you up, validate your reasoning, and tell you that you’re not actually crazy for feeling the way you’re feeling. In other words, girls will be there to accept you without judging you for your feelings.
They make you more comfortable.
I don’t know about you, but I enjoy knowing that within my female friendships, I can openly share things about my body, my mental health, and ask literally any question I have without shame. I don’t feel the need to hide things or avoid certain topics with my female friends the way I do around guys. Even my closest guy friends would look at me funny if I started talking in detail about the minute things I worry about when choosing an outfit every morning. With my girl friends, though, they not only nod in understanding, but they are also able to disclose some of their own tips and tricks from when they’ve dealt with the same thing.
They give you a different level of emotional support.
While this may be a product of the problematic gender roles in society today or it may just be a result of biology (or a combination of both), women are more open about their emotions than most guys are. We don’t hide from our feelings. Often we feel them so strongly that they can drive us to do and say things that, in hindsight, seem so unlike us that we wonder what came over us.
When we’re going through a tough time, we need to speak to someone who feels just as deeply as we do, someone who won’t say “just get over it,” someone who takes the time to analyze and inspect every facet of the experience and the feeling in order to help us get through it.
They make us stronger.
And most importantly, female friendships are important because associating with other strong women makes us stronger in the end. Unfortunately, we live in a world that tries to tear women down, make us the lesser half of society, and discounts our emotions and opinions much too often.
We’re told we’re too sensitive, too emotional, and that we’re to blame for all the bad things that happen to us. Well, none of this is true––and the only way to stop yourself from falling into the trap of believing it is to surround yourself with other strong women.
In your friendships with them, you will be able to keep each other in check, be brutally honest with each other, be angry together, laugh together, and cry together. And you won’t feel crazy, too sensitive, or too emotional for any of it. You’ll just feel like you. When you and your girl friends are able to build each other up despite all the negativity circulating in the world today, you will feel confident and invincible.
So what if you’re one of those girls who doesn’t have many female friends? How do you go about meeting other girls, let alone become close to them? I clearly struggled with this same question for a long time, but it’s not as hard as it’s made out to be!
How to make female friends
Most girls will be pumped if you reach out to them with something personal and they will return the favor the next time they need someone to talk to. So next time you’re going through a tough time, or even if you just want some company to try out a new coffee shop, reach out to female acquaintances to see if they’ve got some time to meet up.
If you’re lacking even in female acquaintances, you’ll need to put yourself out there! Try taking an all-female class, whether it’s yoga or painting or whatever else you might be interested in. It’s a good way to meet people who share your interests and you can always invite a new friend for a smoothie after class and get to know each other better.
Join a women’s Facebook group.
Another option is to join a women’s group on Facebook. There are TONS of groups on social media exclusively for women. Some of them are location specific. For example, I’m part of the “Expat Women in Prague” Facebook group, while others are aimed at common business goals. Some of my favorite online communities are the Facebook groups “Location Independent Biz Babes” and “Female Digital Nomads.” If you happen to be in the same place at the same time as some other members, you’re guaranteed a friendly and supportive companion to meet up and explore with!
Become a “yes” woman.
When someone invites you to do something, say yes even if it makes you a little nervous! I have the group of female friends I have today, because I accepted an invitation to a party at the apartment of a guy I met at a video shoot once. And yes, I went to the party by myself. I knew I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone and meet more people, so I showed up and this random British girl approached me when she heard my American accent, wanting to tell me a story about when she studied abroad in New York. She’s now one of my best friends. Sometimes all it takes is opening your mouth and saying yes and the rest will fall into place.
Last, but most definitely not least: remember to keep an open mind and try not to be judgmental. A judgmental female friend is the last thing other girls want. After all, most people turn to their female friends as a safe and comfortable place where they can be themselves without fear of judgment.
Ask yourself what you would want in a female friend and become that. Soon enough, you’ll have plenty of girls to share your innermost life with and you will be so happy you found them! Coming from a girl who used to only be friends with guys – the effort is certainly worth it.