Who needs friends? We all do. At least, that’s my opinion.
It took me years, but I guess what I finally figured out is that I learned how to attract and keep friends by watching my mother. I never thought about this as I was growing up, but it must be true.
It seemed that women of all ages were pulled in by my mother’s warmth and acceptance. I watched her take young women under her wing to offer guidance and nurturing. Women in her age group and older found solace and comfort in her constant encouragement and willingness to be transparent. Her sincere compassion and empathy easily attracted women who also needed a connection.
I learned how to be a friend and attracted friendships by observing how my mother treated and treasured her friends.
I watched my mother and her friends stand by each other through the worst of times and rejoice with each other through the good times. To the day of her passing, these women called her “friend” and they mourned as deeply as I did.
As a result of observing and mimicking how my mother modeled friendship and connected with other women, I’ve been blessed beyond measure when it comes to friendships. I tend to make friends easily and have friends with whom I have been closely, intimately connected with for decades.
There’s a lyric to an old song that goes, “people who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” As a young person growing up, it sounded a little strange to me that I should aspire to “need” people. I was raised to be independent. When I left home for college, I learned to practice that independence and self-sufficiency. Sure, I was adept at forming good friendships throughout my life, but I didn’t consider how much I would need them in the years to come. However, as I matured, the lyrics of that song began to make perfect sense.
I began to see the true value of friendship.
Too often I have heard some women make comments such as, “I don’t do women” or “women are too messy.” This saddens my heart because I know just how beneficial it is to have great female friends.
Each of the women whose friendship I cherish today entered my life at a time that I now recognize as defining moments in my journey. I found that those relationships were mutually beneficial. It’s as though God gave us a special assignment to carry out to influence and benefit each other’s lives.
We formed a network, a family of sorts. These friends were actually more like sisters to me. We have loved and supported each other through all types of tragedies and triumphs. We have watched our children grow up, and we still feel that special kinship with them as they navigate through life.
We bonded and nurtured that bond through all types of life transitions—marriages and the deaths of those marriages, births of our children, deaths of our parents and other loved ones, illnesses, employment issues, and financial disasters.
We know intimate details about each other’s lives and continue to support and accept each other through our weaknesses and flaws.
That’s why I know it is so important to have an active support system—a group of friends, family members, mentors, and spiritual connections that will encourage, support, and walk with you through the tough times in life. Because I have been so richly blessed with a loving, consistent, encouraging support system, I have been able to get up time and time again after having been knocked down by life.
It’s true that people will sometimes disappoint us—even good friends. Also, it’s true that some have used others as a crutch throughout their lives—what some may call co-dependency. You don’t want to create a co-dependency, but that doesn’t mean you should purposely go through life without bonding with others.
We need friends because they add such a rich texture to our lives. When you have the right kind of friends, they offer different perspectives, encouragement, support, and a layer of protection. Having a solid support system is also extremely important to our emotional growth and well-being.
To those women who have not experienced the joy and love of having healthy friendships I say, find at least one woman who you can trust who will share your joys and pains of life. Create a bond and nurture that relationship. It’s definitely worth the effort.
“Needing” people doesn’t have to be scary; it is a blessing.