How important are girlfriends?

That’s easy.  They’re pretty darned important.

If you’re a woman reading this, you’re nodding your head.  And if you’re a man, just ask a significant female in your life.  She’ll agree with the rest of us.

And recently, I’ve become more aware than ever before that my girlfriends are amazingly important in my life…

Making Changes & New Adjustments

I’ve written before that my husband and I are spending the winter in Jackson Hole in order for him to continue to ski and for both of us to be closer to our kids, three out of four who also live in the western part of the country.

This is a good place to write, sitting at a desk by a window overlooking the Tetons. I’m not the skier the rest of them are although I’ve dusted off my skills and managed to find my way to the mountain on a few occasions. My time is spent writing and editing material for my book. It’s a goal I set for myself a year ago and it’s taking shape.

People are very friendly in Jackson. Without exception they share a love for the mountains and the animals and the sheer beauty of living among them. Cowboys and ranchers, multi-millionaires, ski bums, business owners, soccer moms, and retirees.  They’re all here.

I’ve always said the best part about being in a new area is also the worst part. It’s exciting and intimidating to know hardly anyone. Which means I bring no history and no expectations with me. I can volunteer as much or as little information about myself as I choose. Or I can keep completely to myself and say nothing at all.

It’s being able to walk into a cafe alone, armed with only a book or newspaper and know I won’t see anyone I know. It’s a little like feeling invisible as I read or people watch or just enjoy the space of being alone in a group. Sometimes I get some of my best thoughts or ideas sitting by myself in a group where I know no one.

Where Everyone Doesn’t Know Your Name…

But then there’s the worst part. Having no history with anyone means no one is ever asking those friendly questions such as “It’s so good to see you!!  How’ve you been? How’s your golf game? Are you going to the party this weekend? How are your kids? Did you take that trip you were planning? What have you been up to lately? We missed you!”

And I’m reminded of just how important friends are. And how much I miss them.

Because if you don’t have a history with anyone, you’re never missed by anyone. And it doesn’t matter if I’m near them or far away, my friends have woven themselves into the fabric of my thoughts every day. I’m not sure they know it but if they read this, they will.

In those quiet times, I reflect on the moments we’ve shared. The laughs. The tears. The misunderstandings. The memories. The anticipation of doing it all again.

I don’t know if men feel the same about their friends as women do. But in my own casual unscientific survey, without exception, women value their girlfriends in a very close second to their spouse and children.

And in a tight circle of girlfriends, I’d bet there are times the girlfriends know more about each others’ lives than either their spouse or kids. And that’s not bad. I’m not taking away anything from family members.  But I’m always in awe of the power of girlfriends.

Girlfriends Are Powerful Forces

When someone is going through a tough time and asks me for advice, the first thing I say is this, “Reach out to your girlfriends. They will get you through this better than anyone else in your life.” And it’s true. That’s what I mean about the power of girlfriends.

When it’s a quiet afternoon . . . like it is today . . . my girlfriends pop in and out of my head like little jumping beans.

  • I remember the time we had too many cosmopolitans and the other time we discovered blue cheese stuffed olives.
  • I remember strolling across a parking lot arm-in-arm after a massage, wearing sunglasses, huge white bathrobes and towel turbans because we were too relaxed to get dressed.
  • I remember a nearly toothless groundskeeper following our foursome during a round of golf because I told him my friend was looking for a boyfriend.
  • I remember feeling like a teenager as we rammed around the lake that summer in boats, well beyond any curfew I ever had at sixteen.
  • I remember champagne and grilled cheese sandwiches on Valentine’s Day with our cute husbands in their tuxedos.  I also remember the sprinklers going off and soaking us to the bone.
  • I remember campfires and s’mores and flashlight tag and sitting out under a meteor shower.
  • As a little kid I remember being thrilled to accompany my older cousin and her friends as long as I promised to never rat them out to our parents.
  • I remember days . . . weeks . . . months . . . of being so sad that I struggled to find a smile. And my friends understood. And I remember days . . . weeks . . . and months . . . of you being so sad that the only thing I could do was promise you it would get better. And it did.
  • I remember sharing things I thought I could never share out loud.  And I remember not feeling judged when I told you.
  • I remember saying things I regret and I remember being forgiven.
  • I remember feeling alone and then receiving a phone call and an invitation.
  • I remember laughing until we cried.
  • I remember late, late, late night conversations when it seemed as if we had the answers to everything.  As it turns out, we didn’t have the all the answers but we all had each other. And that was more important than anything.

I don’t think I’m unique. I don’t think I’m anything special. But I am lucky enough to have very special friends.

Aren’t we all?

I hope you take a moment and remember those special girlfriends right now too. Pick up the phone. Send them a text. Write an email. Drop a card in the mail. Tell them how special they are.

Because when all is said and done, what would we do without our girlfriends?

When’s the last time you reached out to your girlfriends and told them how important they are to you? If you can’t remember how long it’s been, maybe today is the day to get back in touch!