Although female friendships are important to married women, such relationships are the lifeblood of any single woman’s existence. Why? Because without a spouse or steady “boyfriend,” life can get lonely. I’m one of those sociological statistical rarities: a never-married woman nearing 65 with no children, grandchildren or nearby relatives. That’s why I rely so much on my female friendships.
I have female friends of different ages. In fact, I just got off the phone with my friend, Monika, who is 19 years my junior. Our commonalities include our profession, our single status, our birth month, and our geographic heritage. We are both from the Midwest. Despite the age difference, Monika and I share core values, and we can talk honestly about any subject in the world. We can truly “let down our hair” and know that we will receive, in return, good, honest feedback and support rather than judgment.
Just as I have friends who are a generation younger, I also have friends who are a generation older. For more than 30 years, a group of 10-12 female friends has met for monthly potluck dinners and occasional camping trips and other outings. Most of them are older than I, so the oldest is now 88. Despite the age difference, I have learned a great deal from these ladies. In fact, they have inspired me with their life stories over the years. They have weathered divorces, job losses, hip surgeries, falls, car accidents, the betrayal of friends and family, and other life challenges. Despite the challenges, they have all emerged stronger and happier. I believe the support of our group has contributed significantly to their resilience.
“The only way to have a friend is to be one,” said Benjamin Franklin. With that in mind, I strive to be the best friend I can be, especially when a female friend experiences tough times with family, career or other issues. I will literally drop what I am doing to counsel a friend by phone, e-mail or (when possible) in-person visit. I’m happy to serve as her “lifeblood” when she needs me most.
–Pat Rarus, MS, Principal Consultant, Marcom Consulting Group