All the reasons female friendships are necessary and important

For National Women's Friendship Day, we've asked some of our favorite women—including Mayim!—why lady friends matter
By Avital Norman Nathman  Published on 09/14/2018 at 10:34 AM EDT
Thank you for being a friend! The Golden Girls are some of our favorite lady friends. Sony

September 16 is National Women’s Friendship Day! And while, yes, there seems to be a “holiday” for everything these days, we’re happy for any occasion to support and strengthen the bonds of sisterhood. (Galentine’s Day, anyone?) Ahead of this special Sunday, we wanted to take the time to acknowledge and celebrate the women in our lives who have been with us through it all.

So, we turned to our Feminism 101 crew to answer this thought-provoking prompt:

Tell us about a time when you were most thankful for having a lady friendship.

Mayim Bialik: “I think during the pregnancy/birth process it became so clear to me why women have supported each other through this for all of history, except for the past 200 years when we’ve tried something different (i.e. hospitals, men running women’s care, medicated births over natural ones). The women who I shared pregnancy with and who guided me through labor have been the most critical women in my life and the lives of my children. Also, shoutout to my strong women friends for discussing everything else with me: bleeding, perimenopause, ovarian cysts, yeast infections, and IUDs.”

Celeste Lindell: “When my mom died, my lady friends quietly coordinated in the background and brought me self-care goodies. This core group of friends is still on deck for the full-on, Golden Girls-style “Crone Commune” when the time comes. We used to say that jokingly, but as the years pass, it seems more and more like a solid retirement plan.”

Graeme Seabrook: “Every day. Every single day I find myself struck with gratitude for one of the women in my life. I have an amazing network of mom-friends who continually remind me that I am not completely screwing up my kids (and to save for their future therapy in case we’re all wrong). I have friends without kids who remind me who I am as just ME. A big part of my job is helping other mothers to create a network of support, so I think about this a lot. The answer really is that I’m learning every day and I am grateful every day. Now, when was the last time that I told them that???”

Molly Tolsky: “I was recently traveling through Sicily with my friend Marissa — which was magical and beautiful and also a little terrifying because we rented an automatic car but due to issues unexplainable to us, they could only give us a manual transmission. I’ve never driven a stick in my life; she had gotten a quick lesson from her uncle for a couple hours several years ago. So basically we had a car we didn’t know how to drive, in a foreign country with crazy winding, hilly, narrow roads almost entirely filled with potholes. But Marissa was a CHAMPION. A few YouTube videos and texts with her uncle later, she got us everywhere safely, in one piece, without so much as a single dent on the car. I was in awe of her ability to take on this challenge, and the ways that we worked together to stay calm and positive (even when we almost accidentally drove the car down a flight of stairs) strengthened our friendship and made me so grateful to have such a strong woman in my life to call a friend.”

Jasmine Banks: “I can say, unequivocally, that if it weren’t for my friendship with other women I would not have made it out of my abusive marriage, found recovery from postpartum depression, or be the mother I am today. I have this incredible collective of women that hold me together. Most recently, I found myself deeply grateful for how surrounded by love I was with the birth of my fourth child. The women who are my friends fed me, checked in on me, and sent incredible gifts to support my experience.”

Stefanie Le Jeunesse: “I have friends who are my tried-and-true sisters, and they know how much I love them because I’ll show up with a sloppy dinner to throw on their table when I know they need a hand. But one unsung hero of women’s friendship day is, I think, the cause-centered woman you connect with. Recently I’ve been volunteering for a gal who’s running to retain her seat as judge on the superior court for our county. I’m a stay at home mom who can barely make it to scheduled evening PTO meetings. But being a part of this campaign has reminded me that not only can I make friends with women in positions of power–I can support them in essential ways! Do we have interests in common? Probably not. But my daytime freedom means that I can help campaign. While I cherish my girlfriendships, it’s amazing to feel useful in a functional way.”

Katie Klabusich:Summer of 2013, having just moved to NYC chasing a writing career, my ‘Cool Girl’ facade received its first crack. A newish friend had reached out and added me to a group of women writers and, despite what I was taught by cultural cues over 30 years, they didn’t see me as competition. We were colleagues. Avital Norman Nathman was easily my first, real female friend; she has remained an incredible source of love, support, proofreading, panic attack calming, introvert recovery space, and mothering when I needed her. I will always be grateful that she unlocked the door that allowed me to build so many other female/femme friends.”

Laura Lucas: “Years ago I had a roommate who suddenly started exhibiting very odd behavior. I tried to tell myself I was imagining things/making too much of it, but I did mention some of the things my roommate was doing to my friend T. My friend was VERY alarmed. She told me I definitely wasn’t overreacting—that in fact I was underreacting! I managed to find another living situation on short notice, but I was afraid of what my roommate would do if I said I was leaving. T volunteered to be on call to help me move—with only an hour’s notice!— so I could get to my new place and out of that situation safely. I don’t know what I would have done without her.”

Jennifer Cumby: “I’m in the midst of a divorce after an overlong marriage and my friends (all women plus two dudes) have seriously come through with love and support and starting over stuff. I never felt so loved and secure in my life. It’s like a thousand of the best hugs. I had no idea I was so beloved. And I’m going to savor every bitty bit.”

Seraphina Malizia: “The time I was most thankful for having a strong femme friendship was when I was on the cusp of leaving my ex-fiance. We had a big blow out fight and I was crying on the bathroom floor and my copilot messaged me to say she was coming to get me. When I protested, she told me that I could either pack a bag or she would pack one for me. The level of trust that we had to build in order to have that whole interaction go well and have me accept her help from that point forward was immense. And I am grateful every day for her bravery in saying that to me and my trust in her for assenting.”

Sa’iyda Shabazz: “I honestly cannot think of a specific time because there is never a time I’m not thankful for my female friends. We lift each other up in so many ways that I could never imagine my life without them in it.”

What are moments that made you thankful for having female friendships? Let us know in the comments!

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