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Girlfriends Who Are Kind: Exactly the Kind of Women I Want to Grow Old With

April 30, 2011

Each year for the past half-dozen years, three of my friends and I have met to celebrate our birthdays that fall within a few months of our February gathering.  We usually eat lunch on the patio of a San Diego beachfront restaurant.  It’s a wonderful time of reflection and catching up, and a chance to laugh at the craziness of our lives.

We met 20 years ago when we all worked for a small PR agency. Our  lives are in no way the same.  My son is grown and the others have kids who range from fifth grade to ninth grade.  One of the foursome is single; the others married.  One of us works in a corporate setting; the others own small businesses.  While we only see each other one or two times a year as a quartet, we relate to each other on a visceral level.

I thought a lot about why we get along so effortlessly after our last lunch overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean on a summerlike day in the middle of winter.  We are above everything kind.  We share the funny and inane stories of our lives, yet no one is ever jabbing or mean.  There’s an unspoken respect for what each other is going through.  We worry together when a child is sick or having a difficult go of it.  We scheme about finding our friend the love of her life.  We dream about holding a visioning weekend that one of us will lead based on her journey of spiritual awakening.  And at the same time, we can laugh till it hurts when someone reveals they spent more on a new skin care regimen than her wedding ring cost 20 years ago.

What I admire most is that we deeply care about each other, including each other’s feelings.  We seem to understand our boundaries. Even though we love to laugh, no one would ever think of making fun of another.  We know how to listen and offer a perspective without overdoing the advice.  We never put down on our spouses or kids.  Sarcasm is never used.  It’s a wonderfully thoughtful group that puts each other’s feelings above their own.  I love this group because of the attribute of genuine kindness we share!  That makes them exactly the kind of women I want to grow old with!

Please take a moment to share with us the attributes that make your group of girlfriends special.  We’d love to know!

–Diane

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Catherine Tirey permalink
    April 30, 2011 9:09 am

    I have two core groups of girlfriends that I count among my many blessings. One group of them I have known since I was 13 years old. We have seen each other through first loves, first heart breaks, first jobs, and in some cases, first marriages. Our friendships are based on a long history of shared experience, knowledge of each others’ family of origin, participation in each others’ growth, and unconditional love. There is nothing like having your girlfriend relate your current career-based dilemma with your high school decision to perm, or not to perm, your hair and have it be completely logical, as well as hysterical!

    My second group of girlfriends I met long after I was already an established adult, with my own home, an established career, and much more life experience. We worked together at a technology company where we started our friendship but became real girlfriends after we all left the company. We are all very different but connect based on a deep respect for each other, a desire to learn from each other, and value for female friendship. We spend our time discussing life and sex, brainstorming cool business or vacation adventures we’d like to go on, and laughing at the craziness that is our lives. Lots and lots of laughing!

    Through the good and bad times, my girlfriends keep me sane, grounded, inspired, and of course laughing. I am a very lucky to have these women to grow old with.

    • April 30, 2011 3:43 pm

      Laughing with each other is so essential! Thanks for sharing the spirit of these two groups of close girlfriends, Catherine. You are right, they are such blessings in our lives. We like to call these GOTCHA! groups…grow old together with courage, health and attitude. I think you and your two groups of friends will definitely do just that!

  2. April 30, 2011 10:18 pm

    Hi Diane:
    I’m moved and honored by your tribute to our lovely and enduring friendship! I love our annual celebration lunch and cherish our sister circle. You are right, above all there is a cord of kindness and genuine caring, along with a good dose of humor, that binds and holds us together. Even though we are on the periphery of each others’ daily lives, when we come together, we hold a loving and safe space for each other to show up as who we really are–and isn’t that the ultimate gift of true friendship?

    I love you my friend,
    Deb

  3. May 1, 2011 5:34 pm

    There’s nothing like old friends who really “get” each other…and with whom we can reconnect a year later and feel like we just saw them yesterday. The heartfelt connection is more important than the actual time spent together…I know those timeless friends are always there, but I never want to take them for granted. Thanks for addressing this important subject so authentically, Diane…it’s good for me to be reminded of the lifelong friendships that I am so grateful to have. I can’t wait to read your new book! Please keep the blog posts coming! Best wiahes, Ellen Looyen

    • May 4, 2011 7:58 pm

      So true, Ellen. Connecting at the heart is a friendship vital sign. The women we spoke with unanimously agree that a good friend is someone who you can pick up with right where you left off, no matter how much time passes. Thank you for your kind comments!

  4. Amanda permalink
    June 4, 2011 5:41 pm

    I am so happy to hear that you and your girlfriends still have the same experiences over a nice meal or gathering that my friends and I have at our age. Just this evening, I spent some time with a good girlfriend from nursing school that I haven’t seen in several months. It was so nice to have a respectful, caring and fun conversation and the opportunity to catch up on life. It reminds me that I need to make more time to spend with my girls, but at the same time there is an understanding that we can still pick up where we left off and can enjoy the time we do spend together. I hope that we will continue to have meals like that in years to come and hearing that you do the same is inspiring!

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