I think every girl my age dreamed of having a group of friends like the Sex and the City girls.
They’re unspeakably close, they make each other laugh, and they nurture one another through heartbreak and tragedy. While the circumstances around them change, they always make time for each other. Throughout a decade in their lives, these women, more than any of the significant others they pair up with, are each other’s soulmates.
I think more than Aidan and Mr. Big, my generation loved SATC primarily for this reason. We’re women, and we’re meant to be in a tribe. So when we recognize other women in tribes, it calls to us on a deep level. And in all of the experiences I’ve had and things I’ve owned in my thirty-something years on Earth, I can say without a doubt that the close friendship I have with my girlfriends is the most precious thing to me in my life.
I was thinking about this over the weekend, at Elizabeth’s wedding. (She’s the one in the middle!) I was matron of honor, and when I sat down to write my speech last week, I kept trying to write about marriage…but what kept coming out was so much about friendship.
The big epiphany was when I was actually giving the speech. I looked back at Elizabeth, who was dabbing her teary eyes next to her new husband, and had the realization that the person I married isn’t my only soulmate.
I have other soulmates, and they’re all female.
These women have opened their homes to me during breakups. We’ve gotten the phone call and been there for each other when parents have passed away. We’ve racked up god-knows how many hours (hundreds and hundreds) on the phone with one another, talking about boys and work and what the hell we’re doing with our lives. We met at the hospital when one of us gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. When I lived overseas, we skyped and g-chatted like we were just down the street. We’re so close, two of us actually married brothers. (Yep.)
How do I know they’re soulmates? Because I feel incomplete without them. Because I’d take a bullet for any of them. And by the simple fact that when they’re around, even if circumstances are shitty…things are just better.
In life, it’s unbelievably important to find all of your soulmates. Not just the one you’re going to marry.
These people will traverse the rocky roads of life with you. You’ll experience the entire spectrum together of blissful joy to crushing loss. And while they might get annoyed with you sometimes, they’ll never leave you for someone younger or hotter!
You will learn from them to turn your head away from petty jealousy and look instead towards compassion. You will learn what it means when someone needs you — really needs you — and you will get in the car, or call a babysitter, or book a flight to be there for that person. (And they will do that for you. Without a second thought.)
As you get older, those friendships will only deepen. I swear, I can be in the grumpiest of moods and Marianne is able to sense it from thirty miles away and will randomly text me, “Hi honey. Everything okay?”
Almost fourteen years later, Darcy and I still finish each other’s sentences.
Give us a dance floor and the entire world disappears — Elizabeth and I will be there all night, making up moves and laughing our heads off.How do I find these people? you might be asking.
Start by believing that if you want a friendship like Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte (or Meredith and Cristina, or Monica, Rachel and Phoebe), that it’s totally, absolutely possible — I’m living proof! Know that other people crave that deep level of communion too. And know that what you seek is also seeking you.
Start paying attention to the people you interact with. And if you’re not interacting with a lot of people, start! Go to places where YOU like to be — museums, libraries, conventions, yoga studios, comic book stores — places where your tribe would be likely to hang out. Say hello. Ask what they’re reading. Strike up a conversation in the line for your morning coffee. And if going out isn’t an option for you, you might not have to look that far. I met all of my besties at different jobs I had over the years!
Look for the people in life who really see you…the ones who just get you without you having to explain everything.
Pay attention to the ones who make you laugh until you snort.
And get to know the people you can talk to for hours and hours and get off the phone feeling exhilarated instead of drained.
When you find your people, there are three things you should keep in mind:
1. Date your friends. Experience things together; it’s the fastest way to bring you closer. Grab coffee. Go to movies. Take a trip to an amusement park. Read the same book and get together to dish about it. Binge watch a TV show. (Darcy and I got super close 10+ years ago watching Grey’s Anatomy, when I was in Berkeley and she was in LA.) Get a manicure, go to the zoo, or go on a road trip! Even if you have a significant other, keep a date night for your friends. It’ll make you a more balanced person and it’ll remove the pressure from your significant other having to be your “everything.” (Have you heard those women say, “He’s my best friend, my soulmate, my everything” when talking about their SOs? It makes me want to stop them mid-sentence and tell them to get some friends!) It’ll keep all of your relationships healthy and growing. And while your significant other might change his mind about you, your platonic soulmate will not!
2. Answer the phone when they call feeling discouraged. Grab the box of tissues and wine and drive over there when their hearts get broken. Get out of bed when they say that they need you. Let them tell you the entire story multiple times if it makes them feel better. Remember when they’re interviewing for a new job, or going on a first date, or getting ready to have a difficult conversation…and wish them good luck. Remember the little things that are important to them. Text good morning. Send flowers. Plan brunch for their birthday. Create traditions together.
3. And most importantly, never badmouth them. If they hurt your feelings, tell them immediately and don’t create a big argument. Tell them how much they mean to you and why your feelings are hurt. Then only take steps to move through it and heal. Talking shit is poison for everything in your life. It’ll ruin your relationships and destroy everything that matters to you. Don’t do it! Learn to confront and clear issues as fast as you possibly can.
Close friendships that make you feel valued and loved are just as important and rare as great romantic relationships. When you find someone who has the capability to become a platonic soulmate, don’t let go easily. I think one of the biggest mistakes we make in life is tossing relationships, both platonic and romantic, aside like they’re replaceable. (You must not know ’bout me.) We always assume something better will come along, when the truth is that most things don’t start out “better” — they get better with time!
And finally, when you have 2-4 amazing people like this in your life…introduce them to each other. 🙂 Ta-da! Instant tribe.
I wish you the best of luck in finding ALL of your soulmates!