Letter from the Publisher: “You gotta have friends” ~ Bette Midler
Apr 30, 2014 02:56PM
“Women have something most men don’t have,” my single male friend laments, “intimate connections with each other to share their lives. You don’t need us when you have each other.” He relates that he has only one male friend with whom he can share true feelings and talk about any issue of personal consequence.
Typically, women’s friendships are more likely to begin with a conversation about some intimate detail of their lives and then proceed to generalities. It isn’t unusual for one woman to talk with a virtual stranger and within a few minutes, know whether the other woman is in a relationship; if it’s a good one, how many children she has and if they are happy; and perhaps details about another important relationship or issue in her life.
Research has long shown men’s friendships with men and women often are based on shared activities. Women ordinarily seek out a wider variety of reasons for creating and maintaining connections with others.
This month’s Women’s Wellness issue reminded me once again how important heartfelt relationships are in my life. Some friendships go so far back that details are lost in the sandbox and schoolrooms of time. They knew me in the context of my family when I was growing up and share memories of me that no one else can. My siblings do the same thing, and occupy the tip-top of my support team and fun friends list.
New friends gathered along the way that have no preconceived notions about me, have helped ignite and bring forth new aspects of myself. They connect me with new networks of people or activities that further enrich life. One yoga friend, for example, often provides the glue that makes me stick with this healthy habit.
Our relationships with our mothers usually helps shape all of our relationships in one way or another, however subtly. Blessed by my own mother’s big heart, which expresses the patience of a saint and compassion for all living things, I find my own penchant for being a friend to others springs from her example. Thank you and happy Mother’s Day, Mom!
Most important, of course, is our foundational relationship with ourself. Getting to know ourself can be an amazing and rewarding adventure. So how do we befriend ourself? Dr. Pamela Peeke, of the University of Maryland, recommends repeating the following mantra as a touchstone: “I love and honor myself as I do the other people in my life.” As one way to give ourself the TLC we deserve, we do well to write down things that make us feel happy and healthy and then make sure we do at least one of them every day.
May we remember this Mother’s Day to tell the women in our lives that have “got our backs” how much we appreciate them. Then work to be that kind of person in return.
To good friends,
Sharon Bruckman, Publisher