At what point are we women going to start celebrating one another instead of secretly being jealous? With terms like “frenemy” being so popular, it’s no surprise that so many women are actively participating in superficial friendships. We praise our girlfriends in public while secretly seething with jealousy in private. We are desperate for genuine connections, but we don’t want to put ourselves on the line to achieve them.
We like to complain about the bigger societal injustices we face without realizing that solving them begins in our everyday interactions. We are contributing to the problem every time we choose to be competitive instead of collaborative. We contribute to the problem every time we compare ourselves to other women instead of celebrating our differences. We contribute to the problem every time we have the opportunity to help another woman, but we choose to do nothing. There should be no room at the table for women who don’t help other women.
Maybe your coworker got the promotion you felt you deserved. Good for her! Take her out to happy hour and listen to her talk about how hard she worked to earn it. That one was meant for her, not you. There’s enough success to go around. Continue to do your best work and trust that you will land in the position meant for you.
Maybe your best friend is planning her dream wedding to the love of her life. Maybe you’re wondering if you’ll ever get past the first date with someone. Good for her! Instead of wallowing in self-pity, ask her how you can help make her big day wonderful! Show up, cry during her vows, and dance under the stars at her reception. Maybe you’ll even catch the bouquet! Maybe you won’t. Either way, you will never regret showing up for her on her special day.
Maybe it’s something much bigger. Maybe you’re facing health issues that seem overwhelming. Maybe your family is facing unspeakable tragedy and you wonder if you’ll get through it together. Maybe you’re facing infertility and it’s difficult for you to celebrate the pregnancy announcements on your newsfeed. It’s easy to look around and feel like you’re the only one suffering. Everyone else’s lives start to look perfect when your life starts to look overwhelming. Their lives aren’t perfect though. You have no way of knowing what they may be dealing with privately. You also have no way of knowing what they may end up facing in the future.
Our girlfriends deserve to be celebrated, not competed against. Over time, these women will become your lifeline. They will be the women standing beside you for every milestone in your life. They will be cheering you on while you chase your dreams. They will be there to pick you up off the ground if you fail. They will love you at your best and your worst. If you can get past the comfort zone of superficial friendships, you will find yourself diving into meaningful friendships that will last a lifetime.
Be the kind of friend who shows up. Listen carefully.
Show empathy and concern. Put your phone down and read their facial expressions. Dig deeper if you sense something is wrong. Be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be. Many of us are hiding our pain behind happy smiles. We all carry burdens throughout this life. It’s how we decide to handle them that matters. No one is getting a free pass to an easy, carefree life. Your struggles may be different from those around you, but we are all struggling. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all start helping each other carry some of the load?