Since September is Women's Friendship Month, it's a good time to think about how we women support (or fail to support) each other. We often hear that women can't get along, that we're petty or jealous, or some other negative trait when it comes to how women interact. Is that true?
My personal opinion is that strong, mature women appreciate and support each other. I see this in my personal life and even in my professional life. Although there are times I also see women criticize someone who hasn't made the same life choices they have.
If you suspect that you could do better when it comes to offering support to another woman, here are a few ideas.
One trend in the last few years has been about women calling out other women who do things differently. This includes:
- Having children or not
- Working outside or inside the home
- Breastfeeding or not
- Adopting or not
- Staying with a man who cheats on them
- Choosing not to get married
- Dating younger men
There's so much we could add to this list. Blogs and articles everywhere talk about the "right" way to do something, but if we're going to support each other as women we've got to stop criticizing. We need to recognize that the way another woman deals with her life and family has nothing to do with us.
Become a Mentor
If you see someone else who reminds you of a younger version of yourself, ask her to coffee. Get to know her and see if you can impart your hard-won wisdom about life choices. You might not be able to save her from going through tough times or painful experiences, but at least you can give her a different perspective so she can choose the right path for her.
Be Free With Compliments
Have you ever admired the way a woman in your life runs her business? Or the unique way she's able to show she cares about you? Tell her that.
Too often, we hear criticisms from each other and in our own heads. No matter how much we've accomplished, it's nice to hear that someone else has noticed something positive about us.
Make Time for Your Women Friends
If there's one issue all my women friends and I struggle with, it's our tight schedule. But in order to make real connections, we need some face time. Facebook and Twitter are great, but they can't replace the joy we have in seeing our friends in person, hearing their voice, and listening to them laugh.
Set up regular times to get together with your girlfriends and stick with them. Everyone is busy, but spending time with friends is just as important as working out and eating right. We need some friendship time to ground us and recharge our batteries.
Women have the ability to be great listeners, but do we do that with the women in our lives? Do we really sit back and take in what they're trying to say?
Not every woman is articulate in getting out her thoughts. If you have a friend that doesn't say much or is on the introverted side, spend an hour just letting her vent. She'll get the benefit of being heard and you'll have the positive experience of helping a friend.