Friendships are just as important as our romantic bonds, yet somehow we have the potential to fall short of our responsibilities as sisterfriends. Marriages are unions before God in which we vow to our significant other “til death do us part” and any other parameters we see fit for our relationship. There are very specific expectations set in place. What I’ve found is that as gal pals we often hold our friends to different standards than we would the men in our lives. We may run a tight ship when it comes to a love connection, but when friendships are involved things are more lax but not always more functional.
One of the many aspects known to be paramount in a functional relationship is communication. Girls like to share stories, gossip, beauty advice, bash guys and shop together, but when we truly think about it, are we sharing as much as we think we are? Females historically poke fun at men for their ego trips and the dynamics of their bromances, but it’s time we reevaluate the makeup of our own bonds ensuring that we too are not thriving off of egotistical behavior, past pain, envy and poor communication. Some may say women are superior to their opposites in matters of communication, but it’s time we stop gender categorizing flaws and look at what’s real.
Communication is important. We know that. But what is communication without expression in the absence of fear, barriers and pride to a fault? This can also be acknowledged as a well-known and feared noun: vulnerability. True communication is not possible without vulnerability in any way. By definition, communication is a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system or an act or instance of transmitting. If you are guarded or blocked by emotional walls, how can any information get out or be let in? It is because of this that friendships, relationships in general really, can go on for years without both parties truly knowing the other.
Society encourages women to be emotional. They want us to see that heart tugging commercial on television and tear up or watch The Notebook and grab a box of tissues and chocolate, but just because we do that doesn’t mean we are truly in touch with our inner emotions. With anything in life you seek to prosper at, you must first be aware of where you stand in relation to the goal. Self awareness is always the first step. If you as a woman are not loving and accepting of self, it may be hard to lend that to another woman. Thus, you may have a hard time in some aspects of your sisterhoods. When it comes down to it, no matter how close we think we are, we may not be baring our souls or showing our true selves to even our closest of friends.
By being vulnerable we must be okay with showing our weakness. Weaknesses are not a flaw, we all have them and they are part of what make us human. Weaknesses are why we humans need one another-to feed off and learn from those who complete us. Strength and weakness are not mutually exclusive and can totally exist in the same person. To show where we lack strength is to offer our whole selves to our girls who are there as a support system and many times our voice of reason.
In actuality, shying away from weakness is the only weakness. We are all a work in progress and choosing the right friends means you choose supportive, loving individuals who will accept you for you and build you up where necessary.
If your relationship is lacking security, then chances are you don’t feel safe enough to be vulnerable because you are avoiding judgment. No one wants to be judged and looked at sideways because of a decision that they choose to make, whether it is agreeable or not. There is no room in sisterhood to be ostracized because homegirl doesn’t think that you should’ve slept with that guy. Before I go any further, I would like to put out the disclaimer that all said in this regard is applicable only to real friendships where two or more parties actually love each other and have the best intent. We know what it feels like to be judged, but maybe your friend isn’t “judging” as much as she is giving you brutally honest feedback and the eyes you feel staring back at you full of disdain are your very own. Again, that is self awareness. It’s not always them, boo, sometimes it’s you.
With that said, we have to know our friends. I’m confident that we’ve all played the “I’m going to hold this over your head just to screw with you” game with our boyfriends. No? Okay, maybe I’m just showing my level of petty (which I do not proudly proclaim as many do these days), but nevertheless most of us are guilty of guilting and/or pulling the I told you so card. This may also be applicable in friendships. If Sally declared for years that cheating was a deal breaker for her and then her piece of crap guy goes and cheats on her and now she’s singing the, “Well no one is perfect” tune, some friends may be quick to put her on mute and revert to preaching, “Remember that time when…” It’s the fear of if I let you in and fully expose myself it can potentially be brought back up and thrown in my face at a later time. Our ego won’t let us be human enough to not have all the answers and accept help from someone who has our best interest.
We are here to walk with each other on this journey through life. If we don’t open ourselves up fully to both give and receive there will be no possibility of either experience. There is a quote that says, “Friends are angels that lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.” Without showing vulnerability we don’t allow our friends to know that in this moment our fortitude may be lacking so we could use a helping hand. The absence of support can mean stumped progress causing one not to elevate to a place where they would then be able to uplift the next person. On the surface it may seem like the makeup of men’s and women’s relationship dynamics are worlds apart, but maybe us gals are just good at putting on a good new face in more ways than one.