Why do women go in groups to the bathroom, and what do they do in there? They do what all girls do; talk, talk, talk, laugh, laugh, laugh… then they wait 10 seconds and laugh again, at each other, and take lots of “selfies”. Honesty, that’s why you see so many “selfies” from the bathroom on social media! I mean, no one asks what men DO when they go to the bathroom because, frankly we women DON’T care!
Then, of course, there is that one girlfriend that waits behind for you – maybe your closest friend… your best buddy “bud” because that’s what buddies do. They stick by you, wait for you, when things are good… or bad… and are there for you when you’ve become undone, stuck or in a crisis. It’s that special someone (or more than one) who is there for you through thick and thin when it feels as though no one else is. The girlfriend that just “gets” you, and you don’t have to explain yourself to, someone you can share those private moments that only the two of you “get.”
This type of closeness is not easily described on paper, but I bet if you are reading this you are right now smiling thinking of that special friend who warms your heart. A true friend is loyal; someone you can trust with your biggest fears and darkest moments. A true friend will cheer you on and celebrate your brightest moments; making a big deal over the little things she knows are important to you. This “real deal” girlfriend is there for you, loyal to the end – in good times and in bad.
I LOVE my special “partners in crime”, my “confidants”, my “sidekicks”. They add such a measure of enrichment to my life. I don’t think I’d even want to live without my best buds.
So what is the glue of “chick-bonds”, “perma-friends”, and “non-Disney magic moments” of womanly friends-for-life bonds?
It’s like my dear friend, “Lori”, who is like another sister to me. (I have an awesome sister too, but I am going to save that for another post!) Lori and I grew up together as “Jersey girls”. We were buds since the second grade surviving Catholic school and high school together, and we have managed to stay close friends all these years. Lori lives in South Florida, and we try to get together at least once or twice a year. We have an unspoken bond where we can talk for hours or just sit and relax without saying a word. (Of course, as you have probably guessed, Jersey girls are never quiet for too long!) And no one makes me giggle and laugh like Lori. Our lives have often run parallel at various stages, and our daughters are very close in age, so we have also shared some tears over the years. Together, Lori and I have walked through financial crises, the loss of our parents, challenges with our teenagers, job crises and much more. A good cry may be therapeutic, but a good cry with a good girlfriend can be healing.
Every year, for the last 4 – 5 years, Lori and I have vacationed on the shores of South Florida. We have been blessed with a “free” condo for many of those trips and that, my friends, is a blessing straight from the Lord! And it always comes right on time – when we both feel like we cannot do another thing physically, emotionally or mentally. We get together and we share funny moments, peaceful and tranquil moments, good food, 70’s music, some brewskies on the porch, a good seafood dinner, and lots and lots of rest and relaxation. We float in the pool, go to the beach, and Lori cooks spectacular meals – and I might add (wink, wink) she waits on me sometimes too!
One time, we walked into a movie theatre 3 or 4 minutes late, and it was dark in the theater. I said, “Lor, over here, PSSSSSTTTTTTT, there’s two seats over here.” (And of course I said it so loud, tripped, and almost fell … which caused both Lori and I to giggle loudly like a couple of school girls. We got so silly; it’s a wonder we didn’t get kicked out of the place! Thank goodness the movie was “Wedding Crashers” and the audience’s laughter covered up our silliness. Just thinking about it makes me start laughing again. (Of course, when you are sitting by yourself laughing out loud, it does make people wonder if you have lost your mind, but that is another post for a different day.)
Another time, Lori was up here visiting me and we went to see “The Eagles” perform at the Jacksonville Arena (they were splendid by the way). Afterwards, we ended up at the Waffle House starved, as it was the only restaurant still open at that hour. We howled and giggled at the silliest things, and if you haven’t been to a Waffle House lately at 1:00 o’clock in the morning, trust me, no one even notices a couple of middle-aged women laughing hysterically. That made us even sillier!
I am blessed beyond measure to have such a dear soul in my life like Lori. And there are others too, very dear to my heart. I have all kinds of girlfriends, young, “mature”, single, married, and divorced. Some have kids, some have no kids; some are stay-at-home moms while others have high-end careers, and some are retired. And these wonderful women come with all types of personalities – some type “A”, some type “B” easy going, and some type “J” jokesters (my favorite of course), because variety is after all the spice of life, and it makes life so much more interesting! My life would be totally boring and dull with no zest if I didn’t have these special women in my life.
I can’t help but grin when I think of some of my other “sidekicks”.
A few years ago (it seems like last week), I ran out to lunch with my dear friend, “Andrea”, and another friend. Andrea stopped to drop off a file at another office while we girls waited in the car. Unfortunately, Andrea slipped on something on the floor. She managed to catch herself, but she did this funny uncoordinated little dance in order to avoid crashing in a heap to the floor. Of course we witnessed everything from the car, and we did what every GOOD BUD would do – we howled in laughter!! I happened to be pregnant at the time with my youngest, Caitlin (now 22 years old), and I was shaking so hard with laughter that I thought I was going to have her right there in the car! Andrea and I are still dear friends to this day…. and I still bring up that “event.” And yes – it still gets us rolling!
My dear friend, “Pam”, helps me “get the grey out” of my hair. (Maybe we should just say she “adds color” to my hair so it better matches my personality!) I go to Pam’s house, she makes me a delicious dinner (she is a fellow Italian American and a fabulous cook), and then after she feeds me, she slings my head over the sink to wash the dye out. I always manage to stuff myself because Pam is such a great cook, so slinging my head over the sink is almost like asking me to suddenly become a gymnast. And yes, I do it every time!
Good girlfriends don’t need to be in the same state. “Tam” is my biggest fan, my biggest cheerleader, despite living two time zones and many thousands of miles away. And “Mary”, she always makes a point to carve out some time with me when she comes through town.
It may seem one-sided with all of the little “snippets” I have just shared, but I do my best to be there for my good friends too. It is a two-way street, and if you ask any of them, they would tell you that good girlfriends really are friends that give and take. Which leads me to a very important point…
If you are lacking a close friend or two, I can’t stress enough, to make a friend you have to be a friend. And I have learned (sometimes the hard way) that with any relationship, you have to nurture your friendships. I am certainly not telling you I am the absolute authority on friends, but a couple of things that have helped me over the years may help you:
- Plan an actual local “day trip”. Maybe a road trip to Fernandina, St. Augustine or just a trip to the mall to walk around.
- Make the first move and pick up the phone. When was the last time you had a real conversation with your close friends? (And I don’t mean a text message or an e-mail, ladies.) That’s all good for a quick “hi, how are you”, but I mean to actually hear someone’s voice on the other end of the phone.
- PLAN something, or you will never do anything. Do whatever you two like to do – grab a quick meal at your favorite spot, a cup of coffee on a weekend or a nice cold one together after work.
- Remember your friends on important dates, like birthdays and holidays. If you can’t get together for their birthday, send them a nice heartfelt card.
- When your girlfriends are in crisis, pick up the phone and ask if you can get together. When you do, don’t talk. Just sit and be still. Listen not only with your ears, but with your eyes. Be comforting, and don’t “give them advice” unless they ask you for it. (For some of us gals – this is a tough one!) Be still…. Be there for your friend. They don’t need words, they need your comfort …and maybe a hug … and possibly a tissue.
There is NOTHING like a good girlfriend. I really think good girlfriends are a gift from God. Learn to celebrate your girlfriends, and your girlfriend moments! Laugh together… cry together… or just sit together without saying a word. Good girlfriends are those allies that listen to you whine about your man, understand those awful parenting moments, share horrible workday stories… and the list goes on. They know your flaws and manage to love you anyway. Good girlfriends have baggage too, but they don’t mind helping to carry each other’s baggage.
“Best friends are the people in your life that make you laugh louder, smile brighter and live better.” – Author unknown.
“Best friends don’t necessarily have to talk every day. They don’t even need to talk for weeks. But when they do, it’s like they never stopped talking.” – Author unknown.
Well, what are you waiting for? Call your best bud and figure out your next “road trip” together! Maybe Lori and I will see you strolling down the beautiful beach at Sanibel Island, or Andrea and I will run into you grabbing lunch at Al’s Pizza.
Your Best Bud,