“What I expect from my male friends is that they are polite and clean. What I expect from my female friends is unconditional love, the ability to finish my sentences for me when I am sobbing, a complete and total willingness to pour their hearts out to me, and the ability to tell me why the meat thermometer isn’t supposed to touch the bone.”
- Anna Quindlen, Living Out Loud (as shown in April 2009 issue of Real Simple)I noticed this quote in this month's Real Simple magazine and appreciated it. It becomes truer the older I get. I was one of those girls in high school who ran around in a large group of girls and guys. My male friends added so much to my life. They taught me much about how to relate to men in a non-sexual way--which served me well in dating with integrity and later in the working world.
High school girl drama is exhausting. Friendship with boys was much less tumultuous.
Fast forward 15 years--my husband is really the only male friend I need. (And for the record, Anna, I require a little more of him than etiquette and cleanliness.) I have seen far too many bad things happen from friendships between men and women that get too intimate and rob affections from the partners in their lives. As a result, I am not really reaching out to male friends.
At the same time, I find that my need for and appreciation of the women in my life grows stronger by the day. The kinship we feel as women, daughters, mothers, sisters and wives is something I could have never fully understood in my teens and early twenties. A woman's heart is so wide and deep and strong. Across cultures and generations our experience with life has such commonality. We need each other--and we are faithful to show up for one another. Sometimes it is with casseroles or prayer cards, phone calls, hugs, stand-in babysitting, long chats over coffee, laughter or silence.
I love the group of women God has put in my life who can go from practical advice about where to find the best salsa to deeper conversations about child rearing to side splitting laughter over our latest misadventures in parenting and then on to deep spiritual reflections without missing a beat.
True friendship is indeed a treasure.