While juggling multiple roles, don’t forget you are important too. Make yourself a priority because no one else will with #KhayaalRakhna
As women, so many of us lose previously close ties with our girl gang after marriage, as our focus is expected to change to husband, in-laws, kids, and family.
Men do not think twice about separating their wives from the world outside, expecting them to be tied to the home, and women’s friendships suffer. It becomes doubly crucial for women then, to consciously invest in friendships that will definitely make life easier!
I was determined to write this little piece when I returned from a weekend-trip with my three-decade old gal-pals (in a pre-COVID world).
In a world where teenagers and millennials are grappling to find honest relationships and are in pursuit of more non-committal equations, I find myself running back to my gal pals for stability and sanity. As an ambivert and a very private person, being in the midst of people who understand it and let me be, is definitely a safe space for me.
I have close male friends with whom I can crack up over silly jokes and banter over all that is sane and intelligent. But somehow the warmth of a cocooned hangout with the ‘girlies’ is a totally different feeling.
No man can fathom the joy of giggling over repetitive jokes and conversations. But they relent and let it be for they have seen it resulting in a happier home thereafter.
No child can understand how a group could meet, chat incessantly for over 24 hours, and forget about clicks for social media posts. But, the only answer here is that, it has meaning to only those who are there.
In an attempt to figure out why this happens, I found some insightful material.
Friendships are important, but especially for women. For men, according to a 2012 study at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London, family bonds are more essential.
Scientists studied 6,500 British men born in 1958. They found that marriage is most beneficial for men’s mental health, as it enforces their family ties. However, the opposite was true for women, as they tended to lose friends to lack of time when married.
Female friendships can greatly affect the type of person these women are, and the type of person they’ll become. They also help them cope with stress. Starting or maintaining these relationships releases oxytocin, a hormone that reduces the tension levels and produces a calming effect.
If you are a woman, I’m sure you’d agree with the lines above.
There is no replacement for a set of girlfriends, especially those that have seen you through a decade and more. Movies and TV series have driven home this point in a million ways. The latest web series like Sweet Magnolias and The Bold Type on Netflix are quite telling.
We need a platform to vent — A feeling that someone is listening is central to this sense of belonging. Most women aren’t able to verbalise their feelings because they are overwhelmed with the emotion behind their thoughts. This conversation, then, is misunderstood as a rant or a nag. Only women can understand this misconstrued ‘rant’. It’s a mutual language learned from the school of empathy.
There is familiarity of experiences — Women don’t need to explain every emotion or action to each other. We understand some of the untold reasons and the root of those actions. 50% of the women in the group would have probably undergone similar experiences. Understanding becomes easier.
Hugs are available in plenty — Most women never shy away from hugging each other to demonstrate the important phrases — ‘I get you’ and I’ve got you’. Nothing feels safer than a hug or a hand to hold in moments of vulnerability.
There is encouragement – Your gal-pals will always be your cheerleaders, sometimes even for the wrong things. Egging each other on to make the best of our lives and on dealing with ‘crazeee’ are vital functions of these groups.
There is support – It is said that women are ‘natural multi-taskers’ but I’m not sure if it’s scientifically proven. It appears so because women like to get shit done, and fast. This results in high burn-out, leaving them with little or no time to think about caring for themselves. A gal-pal group ensures there is support here. They remind you to take those breaks and indulge in some self-love.
Perspectives are shared with genuine concern – Hanging out with your girlfriends is like free therapy for the soul. You receive different perspectives to a problem and are left to choose the one that fits you the best.
Food and drinks are taken seriously – Of course, there is always lots of food and probably alcohol to get you past those early inhibitions. Warming up before a marathon is always necessary, you see!
The older these relationships are, the more open, warmer, and deeper they become!
I often wondered why we compare stronger relationships to aging wine. We know for a fact that wines do not necessarily taste better or stronger with age. These lines from an article I read, brought home the point and it all made sense.
Some wines take time to reveal their true nature. Once age allows fruit flavours to subside, a magical new world of flavour opens up that is far removed from the initial accessibility of the youthful fruit. At the height of their development, mature wines speak eloquently of time and place.
Nothing in wine is ever static. Acids and alcohols react to form new compounds. Other compounds can dissolve, only to combine again in another fashion. These processes happen constantly and at different rates.
Every time you open a bottle, you catch the wine at another stage in its development, with new and different nuances. While the proportion of alcohol, acids and sugars stay the same, the flavours continue to change.
Look at it in the perspective of your relationships with the girl gang you’ve held close to your heart. You can draw a metaphorical parallel, right?
First published here.
Image source: a still from the web series Four More Shots Please
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