This is International Women’s Month. It is an opportunity to reach out to a friend in need with some tender loving care. Or a friend or family member who deserves some praise or a well-deserved compliment. There are many ways to do this. Lunch for two, a note in the mail, and even a token gift of appreciation for their friendship. How about a ‘just because’ note asking them how they are?
I loved living in Honolulu. Everything about life in the Islands suited me. The women in my life were from all over the world. My closest friends were from all over America. An eclectic group of all ages. I am still friendly with many. These women taught me lessons that I value to this day.
One of my closest friends was ten years older. She grew up in Kansas, moved to LA and then Honolulu. We would often take walks together. She did most of the talking. One day she discussed how much time and energy she put into her friendships. I never forgot her words.
“It is not easy to be a very good friend. It is a job. If you take this job seriously the pay is far beyond monetary.”
In the Islands it was easier to be a worthy friend. The Island’s natural mood was caressing. In today’s world, it is far harder. In the far-reaching communication world of today, there does not seem time to ‘just be.’ To enjoy the peace and laughter with women friends.
WOMEN NEED WOMEN
It is necessary because women need women. And, now is a good time to begin your ritual of reconnecting with women you admire. Those who mirror you and who peak your fancy in meaningful ways.
The masks are off! We can see smiles and facial expressions. There is so much to catch up on. Two years of living in fear, cooped up in our homes, and masked up when we ventured outdoors is over. Americans have spoken up. Now it is time to commit to the wonderful ‘job’ of rekindling your friendships.
This will take discipline because every job you undertake requires self-discipline. Reach out to a few women and support them. But remember…
SOME WOMEN FIND COMPLIMENTS UNCOMFORTABLE
Last week I wrote a story on the importance of giving compliments to other women. Upon probing, I learned there are women who prefer not to receive a compliment and the reason why. Read my story on The Power of a Compliment.
I was surprised yet not surprised. After all, when you don’t feel worthy of a compliment you may perceive the person extending the remark as speaking with a forked tongue. In other words, she is not authentic.
BE AN AUTHENTIC WOMAN
On the other hand, if you respect the person who is flattering you it is time to take stock of how you feel about yourself. Most likely, you are selling yourself short. After all, we all have personal insecurities.
But here is another thought. Do you trust the complement of the woman who is extremely confident? Or a woman who is authentic and shows her vulnerable side?
Personally, I don’t think uncertainty has to undermine trust. Actually, I prefer the person who is not always certain. Because they question before they speak and give a compliment or offer their help or advice from the heart. The opinion of the overconfident woman, if you ask me, may not be as reliable.
A girlfriend who is open to uncertainty shows her vulnerabilities. One who doesn’t feel insecure doing so. She is worthy of my friendship. I am touched by her authenticity.
6 WAYS TO SUPPORT OTHER WOMEN
- Celebrate an important woman in your life. Celebrate your friend’s achievement. Have a get-together.
- Inspire and mentor a younger woman. Share your knowledge and encourage a younger woman. Share the stories of your trials and tribulations that eventually empowered and enlightened you.
- Give a little shove. Some talented women are afraid to make a move for fear of failure. Encourage and enlighten them about themselves. They will respect your opinion if they believe you are authentic.
- Listen to a friend’s woes. A good listener is an important quality in a relationship. Listen long and hard before jumping into the conversation.
- Connect women to other women. Women need women. Be a connector. Make a call. Give out phone numbers. Arrange a get-together. Call it a celebration of life.
- Participate in her decision-making. Women crave advice from those they respect. If you have something to say, say it.
There have been so many women in my life who supported me. I am grateful to all of them. They know who they are. If you are reading this story, thank you for being by my side through my joys and sorrows.
TWO UNEXPECTED STORIES FROM UNEXPECTED WOMEN
BARBARA WALTERS AND ME
Barbara Walters made me feel special. She made a deliberate gesture not once but twice to call me over to her table at La Grenouille, my favorite romantic restaurant in Manhattan. We had never met.
The first time she gestured with her hand for me to approach her, I turned my head to see who was behind me. The second time she gestured I put my index finger to my chest and mouthed, “Me?” She nodded a yes.
She sat at a table with seven other people. They were Brits, French and American.
When I arrived at her side, she asked me to bend down so she could speak to me. She told me she loved my ‘look, my style.’ I could not believe what I was hearing from the Barbara Walters. Needless to say, I was in 7th heaven and in shock mode.
LIKE IS DRAWN TO LIKE
She was wearing a white silk stunning long-sleeved blouse that matched her short silver bob. Her jewelry was gold but not fancy and I do recall the scent of her perfume. Not flowery, strong but tasteful. She wore clear nail polish. We were actually similarly dressed.
My outfit was winter white wide cashmere slacks with a winter white top loosely draped over the pants. I wore my signature gold band necklace and plain sparkling gold earrings. My hair was short and slicked back. Truth be told, I would like to cut my hair and wear my hair that way again!
I have read that when women complement each other they often are saying, “You are like me or I enjoy you for some reason.”
We conversed privately for a short time. Before I left her side I thanked her for the compliment and expressed how glad I was to know her. I then leaned in very close to her and whispered in her ear, “You are a woman of valor.” She looked up at me as I was standing up, took my hand in hers, and gave it a squeeze.
After leaving the restaurant, I told my husband chances are we would have connected again and become friends.
DEAR ABBY’S DAUGHTER
As you know the new Dear Abby is Dear Abby’s daughter. We spent time together at summer camp. Our bunks were next to each other. During daily rest hours, she would draw on her large drawing pad with charcoals. I was drawn to her but the other girls in our cabin were not. I protected her from my cabinmates.
Fast forward to a few years ago. We had a phone conversation. Our conversation was very warm and fluid. The shocker was she allowed herself to express her feelings in such an authentic manner. Out of the blue, she brought up how I protected her at summer camp and that to this day she considers me one of her best friends. I will never forget those words.
The words of my girlfriend in Hawaii come back to me. What is the meaning of a good job in a friendship? My interpretation of a good job is time and your ability to prove your worth. They are very different jobs. One is hours spent to reach a goal and the other is a woman’s call to take a stand and do her job well.
During International Women’s Month, think about your meaningful friendships and do your job well. I am smiling because I have hopes you will take me up on the worthwhile ‘job’ called friendship.