As a sensitive female introvert, I need time to myself to restore, and I find lots of stimulation -- including too much small talk with many people -- usually exhausting. But I am fueled by deep connection. Can you relate?
Because of this I’ve never had tons of friends at once, but always enjoyed close deep friendships with a few wonderful people.
Sadly for me, after college my very closest friends all moved west— long airplane rides away from my east coast home.
Like many sensitive women with partnerships and children, my close friendships have become even more selective and few since having children, as so much social energy went into raising them, and into my career. If this is you, too, there's nothing wrong with this, or you!
But, I want to remind you that friendships are such an asset to your whole life, and worth the energy to maintain. (Even if it means picking up a phone--I know many of us don't love to these days!)
I am just returning (with my teen son) from a visit to two of them in the Oakland Berkeley, CA area. As I fly away, I’m reflecting on true friendship, and feeling my heart ache a bit as I won’t see them again for a while. But I’m bringing the love they’ve shown me home.
Even if we spend less time together than I'd like, these friendships are ever so important and feed my heart— and my marriage — in important essential ways.
You can see how lit up we all feel by our squinty eyed-joyful faces in the photo below!
Our girlfriends are such an asset to our lives and our to our romantic relationships. Because our partner can't be our only source of love and meaning and joy.
As women we are creatures of connection, and when we have friends outside of our partnership we are nurtured, supported, and valued in ways that take the pressure off our spouse. Our girlfriends can provide the sweetest most unconditionally loving support in ways our partner perhaps can't.
Friends give us laughter, fun, understanding, validation. All of which shore us up, lift the corners of our mouths, and affirm our goodness.
True friends feel like home (just like when a relationship with a spouse is healthy and loving).
They accept and value you, and you feel appreciated just as you are in their presence.
They believe in you and encourage you when you're struggling. They are there to turn to when you need a listening ear, love you when you are at your worst, and trust you love them, no matter what.
They help you laugh at yourself and at life. They help you feel good, alive, important, loved.
And then you get to take that all back to your partnership. And to not need it all so much from him. (Ironically, though, you're more likely to get more of it from him since you are feeling so good! A weird but true rule of love....)
I know that when I go weeks without connecting with my friends, my heart gets a bit heavier, my marriage more strained.
So even if you are introverted, highly sensitive, and love your quiet space, like many of my clients, keep your friendships alive (or go make new ones!). Even if your closest friends are across the world.
It will give you meaning, confidence, and the knowing you are truly loved and lovable —which always feeds a loving healthy marriage.
My motto is: "The more you love the more you can love..."
The love I felt with my friends is with me now as I return to my husband. And I can't wait to wrap him in my arms.
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