Lately I feel like this topic has constantly been brought to my conscious thought. Whether it is another blog circulating around Facebook, Instagram posts about lady friends (or the lack there of), Pinterest quotes, or just a general reflection of my own journey through different female friendships, these thoughts have me actively looking at why some of my female friendships have 'gone the distance' while others have fallen flat (or epically blown up). When composing my thoughts on this topic I knew I didn't want to come from a negative place of failed female friendships, I wanted to highlight and focus on the Fierce Female Friendships that I've developed over the years and some even decades.
What has been different about my relationships with these women is that I've not only developed a social bond, but we have drawn close spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. I'm specifically referring to my FFF's (Fierce Female Friends) that I would trust with the most tender parts of the 'who' that I am, i.e.: my vulnerabilities, marriage, children, relationship with God, and other deep and meaningful attributes that ultimately form the very foundation of who Victoria is and will be in the future.
I am in no way an expert on female relationships, all of my opinions are from personal experiences. However from those experiences I have built a village of incredible women that inspire and uplift me daily. I have a handful of woman who I explicitly trust, and I know that they love me unconditionally. It doesn't mean we agree 100% on everything or that we condone 100% of each other's choices, but we're there willing to accept what the other person is capable of giving (more on that later). My list is incomplete because it's MY list. Different attributes are more important than others to different people, but I tried to gather multiple insights from the members of my FFF lady gang!
Let me know in the comments below what you feel are absolute qualities your FFF have!
Direct, open, honest, communication between FFFs is vital to maintaining balanced friendships. Feeling safe with my friends to express my thoughts and feelings, even if the conversation is hard, is probably the number one relationship make or break attribute. For me personally, if I don't feel safe to express thoughts or feelings and open up that vulnerable side of Victoria I will NEVER be able to fully commit to that friendship. Not that we can't be friendLY, but if I don't feel safe to be the 'who' I am around you, without judgement, then we will forever stay surface friends. My FFF's have seen the darker side of me, they've witnessed the broken side of who I am, and are STILL there to love me through it. These woman who I've built my 'village' with have walked with me through some pretty heavy life events and allowed me to grow and evolve from those circumstances. If there ever were feelings bruised by words shared or actions taken, a candid conversation was had (even if it is uncomfortable) and resolutions were found. Being able to apologize or unconditionally accept apologies during those conversations have really set apart my FFF's from just my friendly acquaintances.
I think beyond just being truthful, it is important to be honest in your self representation with your FFF's. One thing that is a common thread with each relationship I have with these incredible women is that we don't put on a front with each other. It is ok that we don't have 'it' all together all the time. If we're struggling we are comfortable reaching out to one another and asking for assistance without fear of being judged. But on the flip side of that, we also don't always need saving, we're not always in a constant state of drama or neediness. So when we DO have times where an extra prayer or hand up is requested the person who is being asked to sacrifice time/resources knows 100% that you're being genuine. I think the whole paragraph can be summed into: My FFF's live their truths truthfully and unapologetically.
Sometimes being honest with your FFF is hard, you don't want to come across as insecure or too vulnerable, and sometimes you don't want to offend her by saying, 'hey you really hurt my feelings when...'. But if they are truly your Fierce lady friend then it won't matter. The faith to have clear HONEST communication is greater than the fear of rejection and offense. I've learned that the women who are willing to have tough conversations with me instead of just deleting me from Facebook (insert huge eye roll), are the women I want in my village and will be my fierce friends forever.
I think that the biggest issue that pops up in female on female friendships are mismatched expectations for the other person. With my FFF's I feel like we are there for each other as much as we can be, and we appreciate what the other person is willing to give. We're not constantly saying, 'you're not there enough' or 'you don't text me enough', or the infamous 'why didn't you text me too'. If I have ever felt like I was being neglected or excluded by my FFF I try to first look beyond myself at what they have going on in their life. By looking beyond my own initial feelings I gain a new perspective beyond my own feelings that maybe, just maybe, there is something going on that I am unaware of, or that they need me to be more proactive in communicating with them. There have been times where friendly acquaintances and I never get to a deeper level of friendship because our expectations don't match. That is OK- I've learned you don't have to be everyone's FFF and not everyone is right for your village.
The clearest indication that my FFF is truly not just a friendly acquaintance is I have never received a text, email, Facebook message, phone call fueled by anger wanting an explanation why she was left out or why I was not 'there' for her. If my FFF needs me, she reaches out and is vulnerable enough to say, 'hey I need you'. If I can drop everything to be there physically I am and so are my FFF's, if I can't be there I tell her I can't be there but that I love her. She and I are both willing to accept what the other person CAN offer not what we think she should be doing for me.
We've prayed for each other, served each other, and really desired that other woman succeed. No hidden motives just a very pure desire to see her blossom into everything that God has intended her to be. I have been the recipient of this unconditional love and nothing makes you feel more successful than a cheerleading section filled with women who are impressive and gifted in their own right, cheering you on to really BE who YOU are meant to be.
We've prayed for and with one another. There is nothing more sacred than coming together in spirit with your FFF's and collectively aligning your wills with God's. There is so much power in women setting aside a jealous nature and choosing to be confident in their own skin. When we do this THEN we can really appreciate the gifts other's are able to contribute to a relationship.
I think one of the most harmful things you can do to a relationship is to compare it to another. You are unique and your FFF is unique so by default your relationship is going to be unique with it's own complex, deep, and individual nuiances. Don't sabotage something good by getting caught up in comparing that relationship to another FFF's relationship. If your FFF has another FFF that is OK! It is healthy, and it means that your friend is capable of loving people. You want to build your village with woman who can just LOVE.
This directly points back to having common expectations for the relationship. Nothing is more frustrating for me than to have a friendly acquaintance start comparing our relationship to my relationship with a FFF. Those deep long term relationships were forged over many experiences you can't compare, but with work and time we can develop our own fierce female friendship.
When I asked one of my FFF's about this topic she had a very unique take on this attribute. She told me that we aren't friends because we fit some sort of social mold or for our kids to have a play date. We are genuinely each other's friends. We foster an environment of love and friendship with each other first, then it trickles down into an environment for our children to make long lasting friendships.
Her view point made me think of my FFF's from my childhood. Growing up as a Mormon military kid I constantly had to make new friends and new circles. Very rarely did those friends and I keep in contact past our tenure at that duty station (gotta love social media now- military kids have it WAY easier). The friends that I am still very close with today from my childhood are daughters of the women that my mom built her FFFs village with. These relationships that have been tested by time and distance, forged in an environment where our mothers set an example of being fiercely loyal friends, set me up for having positive female friends later on in life. I've literally walked through hell and back with these gals and know our ties go deeper than just common interest. I am grateful that I am giving my children the same opportunities in the village of my own FFF's.
I feel so blessed to know these women. I love and learn from their life experiences and wisdom. I do recognize that I am a lucky lady to be surrounded with some truly incredible daughters of God. I have not always completely appreciated the female friendships that I enjoy. There were a few different points in my life I don't think I was a very good friend magnet. I came to a place in my own personal journey where I had to make the decision to BE the type of friend that I wanted to attract. So if you're reading this, and feel like you're alone or 'just don't get a long with woman', strive to project the Fierce Female Friend light. Those who recognize it, feel it, and who are also searching for the village, will flock to you!
Much love my friends,