Welcome to Kathleen Pooler, who has joined us today to discuss the nature of friendship. It is a subject of considerable interest to me, as the protagonist of my novel has never had the kind of girl friends that Kathy describes here and in her novel.
I have plenty of awesome male friends whom I respect and admire but there is something unique and special about girlfriend relationships.
I have always valued my girlfriends from every phase of my life. Together, we have experienced the joys and sorrows, the frustrations and challenges, the ruts and growth spurts of our lives. As I age, I find that I value them even more—both the old and new friends.
In the words of a popular Beatles’ tune: “I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.”
Martha tried to convince me not to marry when she listened to my doubts. Sharon coaxed me up the stairs and out the door the day I left my first husband because of his drinking. Judy supported me before, during and after both my divorces. Eileen opened my eyes to God’s presence in my life. Mary Sue and her family became my family away from my family. Meredith and Denise rallied around me when I escaped from my second husband for fear of physical abuse…
These are a few of many who stood by me—steady and true—through my life challenges. I had to find my own way in my own time but their presence in my life made a positive difference in helping me move forward.
Therefore, it came to no surprise to me when I read this UCLA Study On Friendship Among Women posted by Gale Berkowitz in 2002:
“This landmark study suggests friendships between women are special. They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage and help us remember who we really are”
And the friendship phenomenon is research-based.
As stated in the article, this study came about when two women scientists, Dr. Laura Klein and fellow researcher Shelley Taylor discovered in a casual conversation over coffee in a lab at UCLA one day that “when men get stressed, they hole up; when women get stressed, they make coffee, clean the office and bond, ‘tend and befriend’.” This spearheaded a movement to include women in stress research and the results confirm what we already know:
“Women live longer than men and friends help us live longer.”
In the same article, The Nurses’ Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that
“The more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life.”
I am fascinated by this study even though it confirms what I have already experienced throughout my entire life—girlfriends matter. And the older I get, the more they matter. As we age and face more hardships—physical decline, loss of family and friends—we need each other more than ever.
In my memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, I show how my girlfriends give me strength and help me to move forward in my life. When I sat down to write this story, I had no conscious intent to include them. They showed up in my writing as they had shown up in my life to counsel and guide me.
And the many friends—YOU– (girls and guys) I have had the pleasure of bonding with on my writing journey are on the top of my list of people who matter and have made a positive difference in my life.
I will admit to being partial to girlfriend time—to bond in ways only girlfriends can bond. Who else can I go shopping with, spend hours on the phone or over coffee, get honest opinions about fashion trends, giggle over silly memories or whine over minutia with without getting a glazed-over look? Just saying….
How about you? How have you experience girlfriend relationships?
About the Author: Kathleen Pooler is an author and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner whose memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, published on July 28.2014 and work-in-progress sequel, Hope Matters: A Memoir are about how the power of hope through her faith in God helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments: domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.
She lives with her husband Wayne in eastern New York.
She blogs weekly at her Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: http://krpooler.com
You can reach Kathy at: