I almost started crying the other day when I was out to lunch.Â There were 2 tables near mine full of women, clearly celebrating the holidays together.Â I donâ€™t know how the ladies knew each other, but I daydreamed that perhaps they were book clubs, or neighbors, or maybe had children in the same preschool years ago, or were part of a big family of sisters.Â Whatever their relationships, watching them was enchanting.
While the ages of the women varied, they all had a few things in common: they all carried cute little gift bags, and they all wore something holiday-ish (a red scarf, a Christmas pin, a sparkly bag).Â And they all looked happy – they smiled and laughed and hugged. It warmed by heart.Â And it also got me thinking about the importance of girlfriends.Â Because they are essential for women – and no matter how hard we try to make our husbands/boyfriends/partners into a girlfriend, it is never going to happen.Â There are just some things that girlfriends can do, that the men in our life never will.
â€œOooooooh, I love it!â€ I heard a lot of this at the restaurant the other day.Â As each woman approached the tables, the others exclaimed loudly: â€œOoooooh, I LOVE that pin – did you make it?â€ or â€œoh my gosh! I love your highlights!â€ or â€œJane, you look amazing – so young and fresh!â€Â The enthusiasm and affection were overwhelming – and infectious.
I think Iâ€™ve heard that before. I can spend hours talking about the same thing.Â And then I can talk about it for hours again the next day.Â One of my favorite things about girlfriends is that they donâ€™t get sick of listening.Â The smallest development in the latest saga, and they listen to the whole story again – and actually seem interested! I know very few men who can hang in there for years on end as the women in their lives wax on and on about the same old thing – but girlfriends can do it with ease.
I think Iâ€™ve felt that before. In my clinical work I frequently offer group sessions because I believe in the power of shared experiences.Â It is so affirming – and such a relief – to discover that someone else has gone through rough patches in their marriages, gone into debt, struggled with weight, or fantasized about the bachelor down the street too.
I think I can make it now. Spending time with a girlfriend can be energizing.Â Laughter, shared experiences, and feeling understood can go a long way in helping to manage stress during this time of year (or anytime, really).Â So enjoy those Christmas get-togethers, gift exchanges, holiday teas, and impromptu cookie feasts – and know that you are doing something good for your mental health!
photo by: Cafemama