November 12, 2012
Dear Ms. Egan:
You scurry into your usual coffee shop fuming from your ears. Quickly you spot your friends patiently waiting in the same booth you sit in every time you meet up. As you rush to them, your heart races and the minute you are within earshot, you scream, “How could he dump me!”
It’s time for your “Friday Morning Bitch Breakfast.” Ranting and raving accepted here. No excuses necessary. No warnings of confidentiality needed. It’s your safety zone and cone of sanity. It’s where you refresh, renew and gain perspective. You can cry, curse and carry on. And no one but the five of you will ever know.
It’s in moments like this that women need their friends the most—not only to vent to, but to turn to for insight, perspective and support. These are the women who will stand by their side both physically and emotionally—not matter what. In this article for Self, I’ll ask your readers if they have a group of female friends who have their best intentions in mind. A friendship group doesn’t have to be dedicated to energy release like the “Friday Morning Bitch Breakfasts”. We can make a commitment to contribute to each other’s lives in real and meaningful ways inside of any group gathering, be it a book club, mommies’ group, Roller Derby team or just a few friends who regularly meet for lunch! The article will cover seven ways to embolden a friendship group, including:
- Realize that to have a friend, we must be a friend. Friendship involves having an intention to encourage, support, and stand by another individual, yet to have the courage to speak the truth and not let your friend blinding “step in it.
- Be open to giving and receiving. What you receive (hearts open to listening and helping) far outweighs what you give (time and listening skills).
- Set a regular time and place to meet to show commitment. Haphazardness does not cause intentional friendship. Let ‘me know if you can’t make it.
- Take turns sending out reminder texts, emails or direct message tweets – and avoid keeping score. Someone’s got to do it!
- Give each person a time to be heard if she wants to. Some women’s groups pass a “talking stick” symbol around to show who has the floor – one a candlestick, another a small glass heart.
- Keep confidences. If you don’t you will not be allowed back. Simple and clear.
- Make a verbal commitment to grow old together. Ask the question, “Will you be women I can grow old with?”
Creating a cadre of close girlfriends is not only a vital to our support system but critical to our health and well-being. Being with friends releases the stress-busing hormone oxytocin, reduces the risk of dementia, helps us more quickly recover from breast cancer, and allows us to recover better after the death of a partner.
As a new writer, I’ll be working with the authors of the newly released book, “Women I Want to Grow Old With” to craft this piece. Diane Lofgren, chief communication office for a national health care system, has written eight other books including Get Published: Top Editors Tell You How and Change Your Child’s Behavior by Changing Yours. She has also written scores of magazine articles for publications like Good Housekeeping, Ladies’ Home Journal and Reader’s Digest. Margaret Bhola has an extensive background in nutrition, business, sales and marketing, and human relations. Currently, she has a thriving business as a health educator and prevention advocate serving as a national marketing director for a national nutrition company.
I look forward to hearing from you,