If you grew up in the same era as me, then you have probably watched shows like “A Different World”, “In Living Single”, “Girlfriends” and probably even “Being Mary Jane”. You’ve watched how the friendships and sisterhood were celebrated and admired after. Every woman deserves a circle of friends that she can rely on, she can trust, someone that she can confide in and bring joy into her life. Of course, not all friendships will survive, but for the ones that endure the most, and still remains strong are to be cherished.
I have had a lot of female friends for as long as I can remember. Once I got into high school that was when my friendships between girls and guys became more of a balancing beam. During high school when you are going through, what may feel like the most prominent time of your life, you may learn that some friends are better at listening than others, or even better at cheering you up when you are down. You will also learn the difference between a GOOD friend and a BAD friend. When I first started high school back in 2001, I left all my friends from middle school behind. I was the only one from my school that got accepted into my high school and I was more than happy. I met a girl that very first day and we became best friends for the next two years. Bianca was different from any other girl that I have ever been friends with, she was bubbly, talented, and funny. We had this inside joke where we would compare our friendship to Kerry Washington and Julia Stiles’ friendship in “Save The Last Dance”. We both were together when 9/11 happened and we watched each other’s back from that moment on. We drifted apart during our junior year and I regret that even to this day. She was my first true best friend. After a couple of months, I have befriended three more girls who also played a large part in my high school life. Lucy, Adilene and Jasber and between the four of them, I didn’t need any more friends because I got what I needed from them. Someone who listened, someone who encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone, someone who made me laugh through my darkest of times and someone who just had a peaceful spirit.
As I started to write this post, I had to accept that a lot of friendships I have had dissolved, because I didn’t know how to be a good friend in return. And as a young girl growing up, my best friend was supposed to be only my best friend, and to see her getting closer to another friend was hurtful. Sharing wasn’t an option. Despite how things fell apart almost 10 years ago, I still keep track of how she is doing and wishes her nothing but the best in life. And after fourteen years of trial and errors, I discovered what type of friends every woman should have or have had in her life. But with every good there is bad, and I discovered what type of friends every woman should also avoid. Unfortunately, people do not come with caution tapes or a bubble over their head that read, “WARNING: Approach with Caution.” But there are always signs, ladies. Always.
Five friends you should have:
Every woman should have someone who listens to them and even gives advice. It is hard to find someone who won’t secretly judge you by the things that you choose to share with them. This is the woman who will the most important to you because she will be the one who will know you the best. She will know your deepest secrets, your biggest desires and if you are lucky, you will know her too. Sometimes, the best listeners you will ever come across is your own mother.
2. The Ride or Die
Every woman needs a “Thelma” to her “Louise“. You won’t get a better best friend experience than the one who is down for whatever, whenever. This woman will have your back throughout it all and you will have hers too. She will also be the one who will stand next to you whether you are right or wrong, but will tell you when you are wrong. This friend will be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow because she is truly a prize to have.
3. The Socialite
Every woman should know someone who knows everyone and everyone knows them. This is the friend who will keep you updated on parties, gatherings and things of that nature. She will probably bring a lot of excitement into your life, but be careful with a lot of excitement comes drama. This friend won’t let you stay at home sulking after a breakup, and probably have a list of eligible bachelors on hand. If you haven’t met anyone who fits this personality, then it is probably you who are someone’s “Socialite” friend.
4. The Spiritual Guru
The Spiritual Guru is the friend who will keep you spiritually grounded. Whether she is an avid Church volunteer or teaches Meditation at your local gym, this friend will make sure you don’t go without centering yourself. She will be interested in knowing how you are keeping your spirits happy and may even encourage you to spend time alone to learn yourself. This friend may also encourage you to change your eating habits, if she detects that it is going against your spiritual growth. She won’t be hard to find, she will be the one with the glow.
5. The Career Woman
This friend will be the most important to your growth as a woman. She will be the motivator, the Goal Digger, the “take no prisoners” kind of friend. She is goal oriented, wants to leave a legacy behind, and she will encourage you to be the same. She won’t have time for what she will consider frivolous activities, but will make time for you. Her livelihood is very important to her and she won’t tolerate anything coming in between that.
Three friends you should avoid:
1. The Drama Queen:
The Drama Queen is not hard to find, she will be the one that always make a situation about herself. When I was friends with certain girls and I would bring up an issue for me, they would somehow turn the situation onto themselves. This is a girl who doesn’t feel complete unless the spotlight is on her. When that situation surfaces, run for the hills and fast! Nothing good will come out of this relationship.
This is the friend who you can not rely on for anything. You are there for her, you listen to her problems, you have helped her out of bad situations and when you need it in return, she is no where to be found. A friendship is a two way street and to make it work you have to give in order to receive. If you are feeling depleted and used, then it is probably time you sever ties with them. Keep yourself happy.
The doppelganger is the friend who doesn’t have their own sense of individuality. This person goes out of their way to be and do everything like you. Yes it can be seen as a sign of flattery, but deep down inside you probably hate it. I have learned in my experience that sometimes this is on a much deeper level, a psychological level. There is no changing this person and when talking to them about it, they will deny it. When you start to see signs of this instead of becoming angry, just walk away. Chances are this person will find someone else to latch on to and it will continue on, in a never-ending cycle.
Every woman has their own unique personality and style, whether it is strong and dominate or delicate and submissive. There will be personalities that clashes and those that fit together like a hand in a glove. We can’t force friendships to work, we can’t force people to change and we can not force a relationship to go past its expiration date. We can learn from our experiences and make the rational decision of leaving those experiences in the past but carrying on the lessons to the future. I have made a lot of friends that I will love to the end of time. I have also made a lot of friends who although I wish well, I would never put myself in that type of situation with them ever again. It is all apart of growing, maturing and moving on to the next step in life. Friends can be your soul mate or they can be just a karmic reminder of a past life. Cherish those that you love and loves you while they are still here.