Female friendships form some of the strongest bonds many women will ever experience during their lifetimes. Whether providing mutual strength and encouragement through difficult careers or navigating the daily grind and joys of childrearing, most women’s complex lives need the genuine and ongoing emotional sustenance of true friendship to feel fulfilled in their homes, families, passions and work.
Few things predict a long and healthy life as much as maintaining a meaningful network of satisfying friendships. Even more important than close family ties, having close friendships has been proven to protect against depression, heart disease, obesity and more.
Here’s a list to celebrate the wonder and necessity of friendship — from the friend you catch up with over a bottle of good red wine to the friend who will always believe in you.
The Friend With the Bottle of Wine
Some friends turn every time they see you into a celebration, and every woman needs a friend who feels that way about her. Even if you only see each other once a year for a quick afternoon, this friend has a way of communicating to you that you make her world a more vibrant place. She loves the finer things in life, and you are one of them. This friend will nurture you and prove your importance in even the most difficult phases of life. Be sure to return the favor whenever you can!
The Childhood Friend
Childhood friends are a valuable keepsake. They’ve known you for a long time and have seen the changes — good and bad — that have affected your life. They know your parents and your siblings; so they understand you from a distinct perspective difficult to fathom by people who have only known you as an adult. Childhood friends provide a woman with proof of her continuity of self, identity and storyline. These friends, because they tie you to the past while acknowledging the woman you are in the present, will give you confidence in maneuvering the uncertain future.
The True Believer
Sometimes, you just want to spend time with someone who thinks you’re great. The friend who has always believed in you is steadfast at her job, and while it’s true she looks at the world through some rosy-colored glasses, her perspective is refreshing — and not just because your ego needs a bit of a boost now and again. The friend who believes in you tends to believe in everyone and in the good of the world. She isn’t jaded, cynical or resigned. This friend will be a lighthouse in stormy times, keeping you on the path she knows you’re worthy of.
The Friend Who Never, Ever Judges
Most women have a skeleton or two in their closets, and these can cause feelings ranging from embarrassment to white-hot shame. While not every piece of dirty laundry is fit for public divulgence, it’s best for most secrets to see the light of day at least once. By making sure to tell the truth to your non-judgmental friend, you ensure that you will never be isolated from anyone else in any of your experiences — regardless of the bad choices you’ve made or unfortunate events that have transpired. This friend proves that your worth is deeper than behavior, ideology or creed. It’s exactly the kind of love and acceptance every woman needs.
The Tough Love–Giver
This friend will hold your feet to the fire when you need her to. Unlike the friend who believes in you no matter what or the one who will never judge, the friend who offers tough love expects you to live up to your own potential and values, and sometimes, that’s exactly what you need. When you’re weary of trying to whip yourself into shape, but you still know you need it, she’s the one who will come to your rescue.
Good friendships make for meaningful lives. For women, they not only fill in the gaps that exist in unfulfilling romantic relationships and careers, but they provide a subtle and centering power that gives life a sweetness unattainable anywhere else.