Friendships with other women can be perplexing. My personal history is filled with both longtime relationships enduring decades, and foolishly choosing “friends” who, in the end, were anything but friends. When I was younger, the nature of my female friendships could be prone to drama. As I grow older, and watch my mother-in-law at 92 years old navigate her social circles, I hope I’m glimpsing my own future.
Like her, I’m social by nature — though with fewer quarter-ante card games, and more Facebook. The romance writing group I belong to has been a tremendous experience. Discovering a large and diverse group of writers (mostly women) who wish each other the best– even when their personal views are in deep conflict with each other — has been enlightening. Not that anyone in the organization is supposed to talk about politics, religion, etc. I’m just saying that when we gather, some opposing views are obvious. Like a steadfast Christian author sitting across from a writer who specializes in demonic possession erotica.
But guess what? It doesn’t matter!
We meet to find common ground, and that’s what I love about the Rose City Romance Writers. We’re all trying to navigate this new and shifting publishing landscape. We are sisters of the new frontier.
Which brings me back to my mother-in-law.
While many of my friendships revolve around writing, her core group is made up of World War II widows who remarried. Since the 1950′s, they’ve met several times a month to lunch, gossip and play pinochle, canasta, dominoes and bunco. Does her group have conflicts? Drama? Oh yeah! Once, in the 1960′s, one of the “girls” got tipsy and made a play for another’s husband. It’s still a hot topic. There are also spats over senior dating, their children’s sexuality, and score keeping. At least they all agree on one thing… the value of that quarter!
I guess when it comes to groups, conflict is always bubbling under the surface. It’s a gamble I’m willing to take. Like my mother-in-law, I’d rather play for long-term friendships than focus on passing disagreements and squabbles. We don’t all have to be the same to be friends. What’s most important is respect and trust… bonds than can last for decades.
So I’m going to take my own advice, be open to new friends and roll the dice.