How many times has the joke been made about how fake girls’ friendships are? How many times have you heard both men and women claim that girls’ friendships are filled with affection and emotion but break faster than guys can even get around to telling their friends that their shirt looks good?
Throughout my life I have heard girls saying that all their friends are guys because ‘girls have drama’. It’s a tired phrase isn’t it? In fact, I have been one of those girls. Between 12 and 13 years old, most, if not all of my friends were boys. Had you asked me then whether I preferred to hang around the girls or the boys, I would have told you with all the confidence of a teenager who ‘knows’ what they are doing that the boys were closer to me, that they added more value to my life, and of course, that drama line.
While I now hardly speak to any of the people I went to primary school with, every time I compare the friendships I have now to the ones I had then, I can’t help chuckling a little. Currently, within my very small circle of friends, there are only three guys. The rest are women I went to high school with, and a few others whom I met afterwards. So much for that ‘boys add more value to my life’ story!
When I was in high school there was a girl, let’s call her Cathy. She was three years ahead of me and without being aware of it she taught me some of the greatest lessons about being a woman who loves herself, loves others and loves God. To me, Cathy was the ideal girl. She was beautiful, talented (the girl could sing you into a trance) and confident. Most of all, however, Cathy had around her a group of girls just like her. There were about six other girls she spent most of her time with; people whom she trusted and loved fiercely. I would see them praying together in the school chapel, whether in a group or in pairs. They sang together and laughed together and it was obvious to me that what this band of sisters had was what female friendships were meant to be.
When I asked about her friends and how they came to be so close, Cathy told me that she divided her social life into three categories: the outer court, the inner court, and the Holy of Holies. Of course I was interested after that analogy. She said that the people she knows but hasn’t developed any emotional intimacy with were in her outer court. Those she was close to but not close enough to reveal herself fully to were in her inner court. Those girls I saw her with all the time, they were in her Holy of Holies. They knew her through and through, had been there for her whenever she needed them and she had built with them bonds so strong even the devil couldn’t break them. Last I checked, they are all still close friends.
I’ve haven’t had many male friendships since then. I value the ones that I do have and I believe they make me a better person. But I know for a fact that what I get from the women I surround myself with, I cannot get from them. My Holy of Holies is full of women.
There are things about a strong friendship between two women that simply cannot be found elsewhere. Ask any woman. That feeling you get when you are with your girlfriends and you’re telling stories and laughing till your stomach hurts, it’s priceless. That feeling you get when you’re going through a tough time and your friends somehow just know and are immediately by your side, that’s the stuff of sisterhood. The way you can laugh and cry and be nothing but open and genuine with each other; the way there are no holds barred in how you talk to each other and you lay your heart stripped bare…it’s amazing.
We can have conversations about platonic relationships between men and women until the cows come home but we can’t deny the value of being surrounded by people who identify with your experiences. Women can provide the emotional support that other women need and that men cannot provide. There are conversations you can have and activities you can do with your girls and know that even if you did them with your male friends or even your spouse, it just wouldn’t be the same.
I’m not quite sure why 13-year old me thought that having boys as friends was better than having girls. But words cannot describe how thankful I am for the band of sisters that now shows me every day how beautiful friendship can be.
Author: Michelle Korir
Michelle Chepchumba is contributor at Wanjiru Kihusa. She loves cats and enjoys reading and writing in an attempt to discover the mysteries of the human mind. She also works in mental health and writes about life at www.thescroll.co.ke.