Although I grew up with an older brother, identified as a tomboy, and mostly felt like one of the guys, I’ve also had the great fortune of building long-lasting, loyal relationships with all sorts of amazing women. Here are a few of the things I learned along the way about why female friendships are so important:
They knew you when! I have known my oldest girlfriend since birth (we are 10 days apart and share the same name), and she makes me feel the most connected to home even when I am 3,000 miles away. Talking to Lisa about anything is comforting, even during difficult times. We never went to school together and have not lived in the same city since we were 18, but we are as close as ever, and any time we get together, it brings back childhood nostalgia that makes me feel 12 again.
Total opposites, but on the same side. Another thing I love about Lisa is that we are so different. I was sporty; she was artsy. We never really liked the same things. At times, it was a stress on our friendship (Summer camp scheduling was a bitch), but we learned we could grow up and apart while still supporting one another. What happened in our teens had no negative effect on our friendship today.Forever young, wild, and free! There are six of us from college who are still superclose. We plan girls' trips every other year to leave our kids and significant others behind and to unwind. Now that we are spread all over the country, we need to reconnect IRL. We take care of each other and make sure we are all happy, healthy, and thriving. On some trips, we realize one of us needs more support than the others. Other times, we all just need to revive the wild sides we had in our early 20s — dancing, sunning, and sharing rooms just like back in the day. We do our best to see each other often in between our group trips and actually call each other on the phone, too, but those trips reconnect us, and we leave feeling loved.
New city, new friends! Moving to SF was tough! Leaving the East Coast, which was a big part of my personal identity, and trying to find my way out west was much harder than I imagined it would be. I was 22 and starting all over again in the friend department. Within a few months, I met some great women who were also new to the city, and we bonded quickly and became inseparable. We also experienced our first big earthquakes without our significant others, and bonding through terrifying times like that made being far away a little bit easier. Sadly, those girls would eventually leave SF, but we are still dear friends today. Along with annual visits to NYC to make sure our kids know each other, we make time for dinners when I am back east for work.
Friends as family. My parents always set great examples of how to have lifelong friendships. Not only have they been married almost 50 years but they have best friendships that long as well! We've shared holidays and traditions with friends who became closer than bloodlines for 30-plus years. Seeing my parents' commitment to these friendships and each other has allowed me to build the same traditions. Whether it's a weekly gathering or an annual tradition, I learned from my mom that these friendships are the most important. It helps you realize who you really want to spend your time with. The kind of friends your kids call “aunt” and “uncle.” The kind of friends you don’t keep track of money with. The ones you want to spoil any chance you can because you feel so spoiled by them.The work wives! POPSUGAR currently has 350-plus employees, and more than 70 percent are women. We spend so much time together, and I love it. Over the years, I’ve paired off with women on specific projects or running departments and at times spent more hours with them than with my own family. These individuals have inspired me, kept me honest, motivated me, and even carried me through some of the hardest times in building our company. Others have kept me creative, smart, and laughing. I am forever grateful for the team that I get to work with every day.
Sharing the goods! For my wedding weekend, I complimented my girlfriend on her perfect Louis Vuitton black clutch. She immediately gave it to me to borrow so I could take it on my honeymoon. I was shocked. I was so nervous to take this perfect bag, but I did and I wore it every night. (Thanks Jordan!) Ever since then, my closet has been open to anyone who fits into the dress, wants to borrow the bag, or take my shoes! It’s way more fun to share all the splurges, big and small.
No little lies! Having a friend call you out is totally important. Someone who really knows you and is confident enough to tell you that you suck. As hard as it is to hear you are doing something offensive or obnoxious, wearing something unflattering, or making something that tastes terrible, we all need to find a friend who will tell us the truth. I have a handful of these amazing women to keep me in check, and I could not be more grateful for them!
Friendships take on all shapes and sizes, and as you get older, you realize you want less BS in your life and more BA women who lift you up. Learn to find the women in your life who make you stronger, smarter, and sweeter — it will rub off on others as well.
Give a shout out to all the #hipowered women in your life this International Women’s Day and share!