The past year has been something of a wipeout really hasn’t it? What started as a single lockdown to help us contain Coronavirus just built and built with slight breaks here and there. But ultimately it has been a year of not being able to get close to, hug, or not even see some of our friends and family members. Not something any of us had ever imagined dealing with, but we have done, and here we are, eagerly waiting to see if 2021 will see things finally easing up and some sense of normality returning.
As International Women’s Day is here once again, it got me thinking about the things that have got us through this crazy time, and one that stood out for me is the support and connection with all the amazing women in our lives. Our strong female friendships. I don’t know about you, but I would have found this a whole lot harder without the supportive, loving and downright hilarious WhatsApp chats with some of my best female friends! The freezing cold garden gatherings (when those were allowed). The socially distanced walks and birthday doorstep visits. Unexpected cards or thoughtful gestures and the quick or long messages and calls to just say hi. We might not love Zoom, but how lovely it’s been to see their faces sometimes too!
International Women’s Day, and everything we have been through, has made me want to celebrate all the women in my life, and how they make my life better. From the love and care of my mum and sisters, to the old school friends with that unspoken bond that doesn’t shake even if you only see each other once a year. The friends I made when my children were young and who I’ve shared so much with, and the women I’ve met through building a business, who have gone on to become great friends.
Lots of us are fortunate enough to have these strong female friendships. There may be just a handful who are there forever, with others coming and going perhaps. But these women enrich our lives so much. And without them, where would we be?
Who are those special women in your life and what do you value about those relationships? Maybe even those you have sadly lost but hold on to dear memories or learnings from their love and the marks they left on your life.
I asked some of our members to share their thoughts about the strong female friendships that they wanted to celebrate. Here’s some of their heartfelt contributions:
I have a small really close group of girlfriends. Our group came about from a post I put on Facebook about learning bridge. We signed up to a 6 week beginners course and then started playing each week at each other’s houses. Thursdays night became bridge night. That was 7 years ago. There is wine of course and snacks and we practice and continue to learn. But mainly we talk. Each week there are combinations of mental downloads, celebrations, rants, advice, laughing, gossip, support, listening, understanding – anything we need. We call it our therapy. Obviously we are not meeting at the moment and haven’t done for almost a year but we are all at the end of the phone for each other, a click or a text message away for each other. We are the bridge birds. Of course my Tabono tribe provides the exact same support but in a work environment. Tabono members are my work colleagues.Sally Todd, Virtual Assistant www.sallytodd.com
My closest friendships are the ones I have formed later in life. My gorgeous girlfriend I met at Saturday college when my first marriage was breaking up 25 years ago, has been there for me through all the laughter and tears over the last 2 decades. We don’t live in each others pockets, but I know she is ALWAYS there for me and me for her. I also have a handful of very special friendships with my tribe of gorgeous women in business. These have been nurtured over the last 4 years and I love them all dearly.Karen Rosser, Inspire My Soul www.inspiremysoul.co.uk
My two school friends – of 35 years – both live in Kent, we can go months without chatting but when we do it’s like time hasn’t passed. Interestingly, neither are on Social Media so they know very little about my businesses day to day which is really refreshing, so our focus is generally on our families. Six years ago, last week, my mum passed away. Not a day passes without a thought or memory of her popping into my head. When I’m feeling a bit ‘bluh’ I remember how, as a single mum of 5 children, she worked night shifts in a care home, to provide for us. While hers was a generation of minimal self care and constant self sacrifice, her work ethic & strength contributes hugely to the woman I am today.Rachel Tyrrell, Cricketers Gin www.cricketersgin.com
The one consistent in my life is my tribe of women in business, they are my go to and a place where I can be vulnerable. They are my safe sharing space and they mean a huge amount.Clare Cogan, Creating Calm www.clarecogan.com
So, this International Women’s Day, why not reach out to the amazing women in your life and let them know how special they are to you. Let’s celebrate our strong female friendships together.