The Importance of Girlfriends

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by Chantelle K. Dockter, MA, LPC
Associate of CCCOW
cccow.org

Liz and I have been friends since we were seven years old. We are both now in our thirties…that is a long time to be friends. Although we are proud of the longevity of our friendship, we refrain from talking about the actual number of years for it makes us feel old. There have been many seasons of our friendship, and I am happy to say we are as close today as we have ever been.

Since getting married and having kids, I have discovered how difficult it is to stay connected with my girlfriends. Juggling work and family is tough, and sometimes it feels impossible to carve out time to touch base with friends. I have recently been reminded of how important this truly is.

You see, this year has been a challenging one for me in many ways. No one really noticed, as I hide it well. No one that is, except for my good friend Liz. She noticed, she cared, and she called me out on it. Liz took extra effort to meet me for coffee, call me, and would offer to watch my girls (who she affectionately refers to as her nieces). Liz is also a therapist, and even slyly utilized her skills to get me to talk when I didn’t think I wanted to, but certainly needed to (no easy feat with a therapist!).

Then she did what she knew her and I both needed; she accompanied me on a girl’s trip to Vegas. What an amazing get-away! We got back late last night and I am now on my second coffee to get through the day without falling asleep. Needless to say, we had a blast.

Now, of course being away from the demands of everyday life and feeling carefree in a hot climate with numerous pools to lounge by is a treat for anyone. But that really wasn’t what made the trip for me. It was sharing quality time with a special friend. A friend who has been with me along this journey called life, who loves me unconditionally. A friend who has seen the best and worst of me and everything in between. A friend who is in the top 3 people who can make me belly laugh without even trying.

I didn’t realize how much I needed to laugh until we got away. And laugh we did! I don’t remember the last time I laughed so much, most of which was probably not even that funny to those around us! We felt like schoolgirls again, creating a memorable time no matter what we were doing. We had some deep heart to heart talks, and cried together. We talked late into the night, about our past, present, and future. It was exactly what the doctor ordered, and sadly it flew by way too fast. But we made a deal to make every effort to make this an annual trip.

Until our next get-away, we also made a pact to not let too much time go by in between seeing one another. We know we need each other to get through the hard times and to celebrate the good times. I have an amazing husband and wonderful children, but they cannot be a girlfriend to me. There is a hole within all of us women that needs to be filled with girlfriend time. My husband always says he can tell a difference in me when I come home from even a brief meeting with a friend. It is like I have shed the weight of the world, or maybe it is just that a friend is helping to carry it. A true girlfriend is there for you when you need her, with no questions asked. We as women need to make sure not to neglect our bonds with other women.

Friendships need nurturing and care. Even small bits of quality time or special ways of connecting like sending a heartfelt, handwritten card “just because” can be powerfully meaningful. Don’t ignore that inner prompting to connect with a friend when you feel her on your heart. She may need to hear your voice that day for an unknown reason to you.

Liz is a friend for life, of that I am certain. So this article is dedicated to her, and to our friendship. Thank you Liz, for loving me like a sister and for always being there for me, not matter what. Here is to a lifetime of memories to come!

 

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