This quarter I’ve been writing and thinking all about culture – specifically workplace culture and what cultural elements create high performing teams.
But this week; having celebrated a very close friend’s 40+1 birthday (a 40th birthday that was celebrated one year later due to COVID), I’d like to think more broadly about culture, and specifically celebrate the sisterhood. The girltribe. The culture of women.
So this blog is not only for the women out there, but for the men who want to understand us better…
For women, being with girlfriends is like drinking a long cold glass of water when you’re thirsty and didn’t realise it.
To be able to spill your stuff to other women who understand, who won’t judge you, who want to be there for you. Who will listen to you, who will give you their feedback and opinion, support you, but also challenge you with that special mixture of grace, humour and empathy reserved for other women, who will help you find a resolution over more than a few glasses of wine.
Who’ll laugh, laugh and laugh with you.…
Women (particularly those in their 30s, 40s and 50s) are juggling multiple balls – children, life partners, business partners, jobs, bosses, businesses, employees, ageing parents. I’m not suggesting men don’t juggle the same number of balls, but it’s a well-publicised behaviour trait that women typically think about someone or something else 99% of the day. We are forever mentally listing – tasks, groceries, housework, friends and family who need us, kids needs / wants / schedules, things to pick up, things to drop off. Life turns into one long list that just…never…ends.
But with our girlfriends – we can finally think about ourselves. When a girlfriend asks how you are – you know it’s a genuine question. With our girlfriends, we finally have the time and space to check in ourselves and give the real, unfiltered response.
When girlfriends ask “How are you”, the answer is usually one or a combination of:
“Completely over it”
“Up to my eyeballs”
“Desperately in need of a wine”
“Literally living for Friday”
This is usually followed by a chuckle, a knowing smile, and a genuine reply. “Oh honey! What happened? Tell me, what’s going on?”
And with your girlfriends, you settle in for a good story. It’s going to be juicy. It’s going to be detailed. The story has been building and building inside their minds and finally it’s all being spilled.
Friends are the oasis. They are the rest stop, the recharge station. Our friends pick us back up, turn us around and gently push us back out there, into the world with a “go get em!”.
Women need other women. Men need other men. We need our friends to help us normalise our experiences – to make sense of our lives – to put things into perspective. When we share what’s on our mind with our friends, we put words around the feelings that are brewing. We give those feelings shape, context and story, and this brings the shadows into light, turning them into something we can know, understand and work with.
Even more importantly, we need our friends to have fun with. To laugh and release the tension that builds up in the daily ebb and flow of life. With our friends, we can laugh at ourselves and the world that can at times feel cruel and unforgiving.
To all the amazing, special, talented women in my life – I love you and I couldn’t do this without you.