Inconvenient Friends: Finding the Power of Female Friendships Where I Least Expected

 

Female friendships can be hard.

Can I get an Amen?

Nowhere other than in a group of women can you feel so insignificant, chubby, unstylish, judged, and out-of-the-loop.

I’ve recently learned, though, how beautiful and powerful a group of women really can be.

A few years ago, my family moved to Washington, D.C. for my husband’s job. It seemed absurd for me, the country girl who prefers the smell of cow manure to perfume and would rather wear rubber boots than heels, to be living in the chaos known as Northern Virginia. A fish out of water, if ever there was one. We moved into a neighborhood that had clearly not gotten the memo that neighbors were supposed to be strangers.

Neighborhood parties were a regular occurrence, with music blaring, kids running around squealing, and tables loaded down with food. Sometimes the women of our neighborhood got together to make mason jar salads. Other times, we would sit on each others’ porches and share a glass of wine or a bowl of leftover mac and cheese and talk gardening and potty training and jobs. We watched each others’ kids when a sibling was sick or daddy was gone on a trip and mama just needed some help. We helped put away the scooter while the other mom carted in her tantrum-throwing preschooler. We left chocolate in mailboxes.

Slowly, I began to understand what female friendships could be.

It wasn’t that we were all so very alike. Our ages spanned a thirty-year range. Some worked full time. Some stayed at home. Our religious beliefs were different. We voted differently. We fed our families differently. Our husbands had different jobs with unique hours and pressures.

But none of that mattered.

The community I found there didn’t just happen by accident or by some magical “friendship fairy dust” sprinkled over our neighborhood. As I thought about why this group of women was so different from anything else I’d experienced, I came to the conclusion that it really boiled down to one thing.

As I was reading Ann Voskamp’s book The Broken Way, one sentence in particular struck me and immediately made me think of the women in my neighborhood. She writes that a “willingness to be inconvenienced is the ultimate proof of love.”

There it was: a willingness to be inconvenienced.

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