I want to tell you a story about women and Friendship…
I recently found myself in conversation with 2 different friends who said to me, “I don’t really have any friends,” or something like that. I stood before them, offering friendship, thinking we are friends, so I thought it an interesting thing for them to say. Was I mistaken, were we not friends? It's possible but I think not. Then I noticed that when it came to actually getting together, it’s been a challenge. At first I took it personally; then I started to get curious.
Before I go on, I want you to know that I recognize this might be my own need, to connect with other women in friendship in a very real way, and fairly easily. However, if you are open to reading more, I’m inviting an inquiry to see if anything resonates with you.
Watching Behavior – Men vs. Women
I hang out at the Whole Foods cafe/bar area in Sedona, Arizona where I live, sometimes to work and sometimes just to be social. I have noticed how much easier it is for me to say hello to a man, or him to me, than it is to other women. I began to wonder why it was difficult to strike a up conversations with women and invite friendship.
The men do it! I’ve been watching them, too. I have learned that a group of them have standing “dates” with each other, they look out for each other, and they make room for each other. One man told me he thought it’s because, genetically speaking, men are wired to “hunt” in teams and so they naturally connect. Now, I also know men who completely retreat, so this isn’t a universal statement. But what is it about US? That’s what I want to understand.
I’ve been watching my own behavior in this too. One day a woman sat next to me on the Whole Foods patio, both of us alone. She didn’t say “hi” and neither did I until I stepped away and returned. But it was an effort! (We now smile at each other when we see each other so progress!)
A few days prior to that I "made" myself sit next to a woman I didn’t know who was talking to a man I do know. Again, effort to reach out… not natural. She ended up buying me a glass of wine and later invited me to a party. So it’s possible, yet???
Friends, especially girlfriends, are becoming increasingly important to me. Truthfully, they always have been but I lived with the status quo these past few years, not giving it much thought or attention.
What shifted? Why now?
I think it started with a lovely fiction series I read last summer by Audrey Faye, The KarmaCorp series. The women in that series - each has her own book - are first of all kick ass women with unique talents and skills in their own right. They were brought together to be keepers of order in some future world. They often worked independently, and at the same time they were fiercely loyal. Sign me up!
Then, for a couple of months when I lived in Phoenix, I became fast friends with a woman who had been an acquaintance before I moved there. She and I hung out at each other’s apartments, we had keys to our places so we could look out for each other. Sometimes we wrapped our arms around each other when we talked. We even launched a work project we were over the moon about. We both admitted how unusual that was and how good it felt.
I think we might need that! Maybe not that intensely, but more than many of us enjoy... in the circles I cruise in anyway.
Getting our Needs Met
I’m going to take a leap to the “needs” part of this conversation, Getting our Needs Met. When talking to a very good friend who lives too far away to get together cause well, she's 2000 miles away, I was either talking about this issue or a relationship challenge, or both. I don't remember. No matter, she remembered the “NeedLess” Program (tm) from Coach University and shared it with me.
And then it struck me. Needs…women…not good about getting needs met.
Tired, fatigued, depressed, needy -> limited capacity for Friendship?
What if we’ve so sublimated our needs – perhaps inside our primary relationships and other responsibilities, past and/or current – that we don’t have the capacity for much more than the everyday things our life requires, or required. In other words, we’re exhausted in mind, body and heart. Instead of reaching out, connecting with friends, we isolate ourselves instead? Maybe, maybe not, but I'd like to find out.
The NeedLess Program - the Opportunity
I’ve already started to work with the NeedLess program myself. I think it’s a simple yet extraordinary program in that it fools you. It is about getting your needs met (especially the ones you don’t want to admit to); so much so that eventually they won’t be Needs! What’s more, the process requires you take responsibility for getting them met. Oh, responsibility!
The NeedLess Program - a Brief Outline
1) Identify what your 4 personal needs are. Personal needs are defined as those things you MUST have in order to be your BEST self.
2) Learn how to get your personal needs met.
3) Design an effective system to have them vanish!
I love that last one…to have them vanish.
I invite you to join me in a 3-month launch program Woman to Woman: Getting Our Needs Met. We tend to our own needs, but we do it in conversation with other women.
When we get our needs met we depend less on others.
Sovereign in ourselves we are stronger for it. Interdependence replaces Dependence.
When we get our personal needs met we are better able to do our work in the world.
When we get our needs met we will have more energy for what and whom we care about in our lives.
By taking responsibility for getting our needs met our Voices become stronger.
And maybe, just maybe, we can reclaim the girl heart, the innocence of a child who enjoys playing.