Female Relationships

What female relationship look like today may determine what female relationships will look like in the next generation of females. Will they consider the lessons they learned and see in us to be a gift or a curse?

Society provides several adjectives to describe women (us). I know you have heard them and maybe, just maybe you have been labeled a manipulator, critical, jealous of other women, power hungry, controlling, judgemental, and the statement “I don’t like to work for other women.” Last but not least, women are devious.

My story

I grew up in a small midwestern town where It seemed everyone knew everything, about everyone’s business. Most of all they felt they needed to enlighten my aunt about what he or she knew about me! People had their idea about who was good to hang around with and who was not, and my aunt and my mother had no problem telling me to stay away from certain people. My aunt and mother drew their conclusion on gossip. Needless to say, I thought taking someone else’s word was unfair. What I heard most often “you are known by the company you keep.”

In this same midwestern town, the black community was small and most lived on the same street. We attended the same church, and the friendships seemed natural. However, life took all of us in different directions once we graduated from high school.

In times of loss, we find ourselves together because our families shared a deep and real connection during the time we were growing up. During those times you feel the bond, but due to the limited amount of time, we continue to go in different directions.

The friends from kindergarten through high school seem to come naturally as well. Our high school class population was 45 +plus students, and after graduation, still, everyone left to go in different directions.

Today it is hard to have relationships with strong bonds. Friendships are more artificial with social media and technology. People tend to move from place to place more so today than in yesteryears. It is not easy to just pick up and unite with friends as it once was.

After I moved to California, I begin to learn that friendship is a two-way street and not a one-way street. I spent significant time and money to stay in touch with friends. I never gave thought to the changes relationships may go through. I thought our relationship would be the same forever. However, God liberated me with new understanding, “child things will never be the same again.” I wanted to hold on, and God said “No.” I love them still, but my move had not only changed my life but their life too.

Later I became curious about women and their perceptions of female friendships. I heard and thought about all the adjectives used to describe women in today’s society. Most often the conversation about women was not pleasing to the ear. I admit, most of my experiences with female managers were not good, and we both were disappointed and hurt.

I thought about my experiences in friendships with women.  What qualities did I look for? How did I choose my friends? How did I handle hurt and disappointment in those relationships? My thoughts turned to other women and I wondered how they would answer the same questions I had asked myself. I decided to ask for the opinions of other women to make a comparison. I prepared a survey about what women look for in theirBEST woman to woman relationships. There was a total of 9 women who responded to the survey and the ages ranged from age 30 to age70. Below are the responses to the study.

Study

The following is information acquired through various questions.

First Group: All the women responded to the same questions:

How do you choose your female friends?

What criteria do you use or determining factors?

All the women responded with the same or similar answers to how they choose their female friends like:

  • Keep confidence
  • Proven trustworthy
  • Recognize and respect boundaries
  • Strong and intelligent
  • Same stage of life
  • Compassionate
  • Honesty
  • Love of God
  • Loyalty
  • Respect
  • Good of sense of humor
  • Able to articulate on various topics
  • Enjoys community service
  • Similar interests
  • Motivating and encouraging
  • Good listener
  • Truthful
  • Concerned
  • Caring and kind
  • Fun to be around
  • Happy
  • Pleasant personality
  • Maturity
  • Non-judgemental or critical
  • Grace and mercy
  • Morals
  • Commonality
  • Friendly

A few of the women have remained friends with their classmates from either high school or college days.

The women reported that their friendships with the other ladies either developed naturally or through their children’s activities.

Lady S

Comment: “If you pick a friend who is a confident person you are less likely to have major disagreements but I think you are more likely to resolve differences with someone who can be objective and values themselves as well as your friendship. Also, my friend needs a sense of humor. If you know me, you will understand.”

 

Second Group: Some women responded to additional questions:

Have you been hurt in one of these type friendships?

Were you able to resolve the problem? If so, please describe briefly how you and your friend solved the problem?

Because you were able to resolve the problem is the relationship stronger than before the issue, strained, or no friendship currently exist?

 

 

Lady M

Question: Have you been hurt in one of these type friendships?

Answers: If so, please describe briefly how you and your friend solved the problem?

A brief description of how the brokenness was repaired: “I removed myself from the situation. I have been hurt and disappointed many times. I try not to dwell on the negative.”

Question: “No relationship exists.”

 

Lady P

Question: Have you been hurt in one of these type friendships?

Answers: If so, please describe briefly how you and your friend solved the problem?

A brief description of how the brokenness was repaired: I have been more disappointed than hurt. It is my perception that friends should be able to talk about issues. When that does not happen I resign myself to the fact that the reason for the friendship has been accomplished so it is time to move on. People are in our life for a reason and sometimes only to a season. I  Expect that since we were friends we would be able to work through it, but their philosophy was once it was over it was over and I chose to honor that.

Question: “No relationship exists.”

 

Lady B

Question: Have you been hurt in one of these type friendships?

Question: If so, please describe briefly how you and your friend solved the problem?

A brief description of how the brokenness was repaired: “When we do not see a situation in the same way it can cause a rip in the relationship. In one particular instance we both love each other and would do anything for each other, but the friendship remains a bit strained. Of course, I moved away which didn’t help. However, we remain in touch.”

Question: Because you were able to resolve the problem: is the relationship stronger than before the issue, strained, or no friendship currently exist?

Answer: “Strained”

 

Lady T

Question: Have you been hurt in one of these type friendships?

Question: If so, please describe briefly how you and your friend solved the problem?

 

A brief description of how the brokenness was repaired: “We were able to reconnect after many years of losing touch with each other. Sometimes, although not intentionally, life gets in away and the circumstances that come with that sometimes take over. Our friendship still exists today, but not as strong as it was before our disconnect. Nevertheless, we are in touch and have maintained our friendship.”

Question: Because you were able to resolve the problem is the relationship stronger than before the issue, strained, or no friendship currently exist.

Answer: “The relationship is not as strong as before the issue.”

 

The following two women experienced hurt but developed a more solid friendship. Here are their responses on resolving the problem:

 

Lady Y

A brief description of how the brokenness was repaired: “There was a disagreement, and we both misunderstood what the other person said, and we both are left with hurt feelings. After we both had time to reflect on the situation we decided to revisit the conversation. Listen to the other person’s perspective, which we realize it was a misunderstanding, and we valued our friendship more to allow this to end our friendship.”

 

Question: Because you were able to resolve the problem is the relationship stronger than before the issue, strained, or no friendship currently exist.

Answer: “The relationship became stronger.”

 

Lady R

A brief description of how the brokenness was repaired: “It took a few weeks, but with her constant reminder that she loved me and didn’t want our friendship to end, I forgave her, and we remain, good friends, today.”

Question: Because you were able to resolve the problem is the relationship stronger than before the issue, strained, or no friendship currently exist.

Answer: “The relationship is stronger than before the issue.”

 

We can tell from these responses that friendship is sometimes hard, sometimes messy, and a little of the time ugly.

Decision time

I believe we have a choice. 1.) we go back to the basics of relationships and take a biblical perspective, and create female friendships that please God and are blessed by Him.  Or, 2.) we remain as we are and hope for the best.

According to different sources, female friendships are important. In a study done by CND UCLA  www.anapsid.org/cnd/gender/tendfend.html, it is suggested friendships between women are special. They “shape who we are and who are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we are.”

To have the authentic, transparent, BFF, female friendship, that we desire and need; we need to study and align our choices with Scripture. We need a model to guide us and to imitate.

Examples of Biblical friendships

Ruth and Naomi. David and Jonathan, God and Abraham, Jesus and the disciples. There are characteristics in each of these relationships that can be duplicated and imitated. You could say the characteristics of these relationships set the standard for forging, keeping, and treasuring our friendships for today and for tomorrow. Meaning the way and the path to friendships will never change.

Each of these friendships demonstrates the qualities we need to feel fulfilled in a meaningful friendship: qualities like agreement, faith, uniqueness, commitment, loyalty, love, trust, honesty, mutual respect, reliability, emotional dependence, truth, open communication, risk, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

These Scripture Verses demonstrate uniqueness and necessity of real and close friendships which can be seen in the biblical models mentioned above. However, I encourage you to find more or different scriptures that might help you on this friendship path.

Proverbs 27: 9, Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from earnest counsel.

 

I love Ruth and for her to make the pledge, and commitment made in (Ruth 1:16-17) it seems she was a watchful understudy of her mother-in-law. Can you imagine how Naomi felt? Ruth gave high praise to a woman she wanted to be like.
“Wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God, my God. Where you die I will die, and there be buried.”

 

Proverbs 18:24 (NASB) – A man of too many friends’ comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 17:17 (NASB) A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.

A friendship may require a significant risk at times, difficult decisions. A high level of commitment, and loyalty because it was the right thing to do and due to the love for our friend.
A friend will defend you when you are not around. People who want to be friends for what they can get are not a real friend.
A friend who is there when times are good and when all hell breaks lose. A friend who will do everything that lies in their power for his/her friend.

Proverbs 27:17(NASB) — Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.

Proverbs 18:21“death and life are in the power of the tongue”).

As friends, we have similar qualities, ideas, or interests. You know those “aha moments” A friend feels close and understands. A friend is careful with the friendship but maintains the integrity of the relationship. A friend gives time and room for intimate, wise, and profitable conversations. Conversations that adds knowledge and is intended to build one up and not to tear one down or destroy another. A discussion that will provoke one another to love and to good works and so to make one another wiser and better. These talks also include one of those “You know I love you” conversations.

Genesis 26:5 because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

Isaiah 41:8 But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend;

God called Abraham friend because Abraham met the conditions God requires for friendship.
God required a no-matter-what kind of obedience and God required an unquestionable faith.

John 15:13-16 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends if ye do the things which I command you. No longer do I call you servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends: for all things that I heard from my Father I have made Known unto you. Ye did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide.” 

Jesus describes the qualities of a friendship. Give up life out of love, time, teaching, obedience, commitment, sharing information sharing life, He reminds them of who they were and what who have become to Him, faith in the relationship to go and share/bear fruit that will live in the lives of others.
Can you imagine what it feels like to be introduced by Jesus “this is my friend, Darlene.” Every day I mess up and Jesus intervenes with the Father for me and reminds God “Remember I paid for her Darlene is my friend”

The Challenge:

What I learned throughout this research is challenging because it will require change nevertheless, it is the right thing to do.

  1. I want to be a woman that God and Jesus will call a friend.
  2. I want to give Christ total control over who He chooses to be in my life for a season, and who is there for life.
  3. I want to demonstrate to the women of tomorrow the Biblical dynamics of women’s friendships. I want what I leave to be a blessing and not a curse.

Finally, I cannot think of anything better than to be referred to as “this is Darlene she is my best friend” this reflects satisfaction, delight, wonder, and acceptance in any friendship but especially in our relationship with one another.

Tell me what does being a BBF mean to you?

When introductions are made “this is ___________ she is my best friend” how do you feel?

 

2 thoughts on “Female Relationships

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