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24 November 2019

The Groundbreaking Value of Female Friendships




NB: Despite the title saying 'female' this blog post is for anyone who identifies as a woman. It is written to be inclusive of any minority and it is for all of us. Thank you for your strength and unity.

The other night, I said potentially the most meaningful words I've ever said to anyone - honestly, like a film - to my best friend. We were talking about our upcoming Christmas together and I just suddenly felt overwhelmed by how lucky I was to have her in my life.

I spent a lot of time as a teenager, trying to find my Ace Gang. (Applause and wine to all of you who will understand this reference).

I morphed myself to fit into different groups, I social climbed, equating popularity to friendships, and so when I was stood up by a group of 'girlfriends' on prom night, I decided I was done.

I'd grown up being consciously aware and constantly reminded of the 'bromance'. The bro-code, bros before hoes, whatever you want to call it male to male friendship was romanticised.

Meanwhile, female friendships were painted to be bitchy and territorial. And partially due to my own experience, I grew up thinking fights, sly comments and arguing over guys were part and parcel of being friends with women.

But in reality, female friendships are a world away from what they've been painted to be for generations.

The 'friendships' I had forged with the group of girls in my early teens were awful because I had very little in common with them. They weren't my people and I wasn't one of theirs, so the Ace Gang I longed for were never going to accept me because frankly, I was a fake.

However, once I faced the reality that life isn't like chick flicks, I instead put more time and effort into the individual girls who had continuously, effortlessly enriched my life without me even realising it. I was finally realising that friendships didn't need to be competitive or bitchy. That when you find your people or person, you want to encourage and help each other, not drag them down.

And maybe it was pure luck, or maybe it was due to this new understanding, but either way, in pretty much my first week of university, I found my Ace Gang. A group of girls who came together with no obligations, no hierarchy to climb and nobody to impress. Life with them was a blur of wine, cheese and waiting up for dates to end. And I once again had an epiphany of how fucking brilliant female friendships can - and should - be.

This enrichment is one of the most important lessons I've learnt. Being around strong women makes you a strong woman. They have taught me so much, and I've become incredibly dependent on the girls I call my closest friends.

Th gender-bias of society which has ironically shone a spotlight for years on 'bromances', actually means women can connect emotionally to each other on a much larger, much deeper scale. From sexual harassment to office-based sexism, all of us have a story and all of us can relate. It creates a unity like no other, and one which I am both deeply saddened by in its necessity, but equally feel strengthened by the 'sisterhood'.

It may seem warped to call female friendships a 'trend', but there's definitely been a push of support for one another, carried largely by body positivity and the #metoo movement. Dolly Alderton's 'Everything I Know About Love' cited the truest love of all, friendship, in a way which seems to have encapsulated the spotlight on our support system.

On the surface, female friendship is laughter, joy and uniting in period pain and aunts who ask you when you're having children. At its core, it is a navigation through the uncertainty and dangers of being a woman.

It was Queen Carrie Bradshaw, who said: "Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with."

Frankly, I've been aware since I met her that my soulmate is the 5'6 blonde I was introduced to on my first day in Australia, and I could not be more delighted with the result.

And so I wish you all far more than tall, dark strangers, I wish you more than whirlwind, write-home romances, and I even wish you more than incredible sex lives.

I wish you the unfaltering, everlasting love found in the rawest female friendships. Because they are the ones who will stay with you for the rest of your life.

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