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I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of strong female friendships. It’s crucial to surround yourself with women in your life who support and encourage you on your journey to fulfill your potential. Friends who see qualities and talents in you that you may not even see in yourself. Too often, women are pit against one another as competitors and made to believe that if someone gets ahead, everyone else has to get left behind. Instead, we should be helping one another by pushing and challenging each other to find the very best versions of ourselves. There’s room for everyone at the table of success. I’ve written about how to support your girlfriends during their wedding planning; here are a few other ways to help those you are close to when they may be in need of some extra TLC.
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Final exams. The GRE. The Bar Exam. The MCAT. Even just the words can induce anxious tremors! As you focus in on your studies, everything else becomes secondary, and that often includes necessary things like eating, sleeping and cleaning. Have a friend who’s hunkered down with a study guide? Stop by and lend a helping hand by taking 30 minutes to straighten up her place while she’s buried in her books. A clear workspace can do wonders for mental clarity. If your best friend is existing on a diet of chips and soda pop because she doesn’t have time to cook between practice exams, drop off a favorite meal – preferably something hearty like soup or refreshing like a salad that includes some protein. If finals have her tied I knots, a goofy stress ball she can keep next to her computer is a quick way to help her get some relief.
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When things go awry in your love life, sometimes a night in with your best girlfriend is exactly what you need. If you have a friend who’s going through a break up, rustle up some of her favorite comfort food like these incredible “slutty brownies,” and head over to her place to bond while watching a dynamic onscreen duo like Thelma & Louise or anything featuring Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. Your secret weapon to getting her to smile? If there’s a dance scene in the movie, such as in The Heat, starring Melissa McCarthey and Sandra Bullock, surprise your friend by jumping up and joining in. It doesn’t matter how well you do the moves – what matters is the grin you’ll bring to your girlfriend’s face when she sees how much you are willing to do to bring her out of her funk.
STARTING A NEW JOB
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Starting a new job is an exciting time, but it can also be a bit nerve-wracking. New people, new challenges, new things to learn. Help your friend launch into her new position with confidence by reminding her what an incredible asset she is. They day before she starts, send her an email listing all of the wonderful reasons that made her a great hire. If she’s having a tough time as she acclimates to her new surroundings, she can quietly pull up the note during lunch or a break and be reminded of why she’s such a great addition to the company.
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A new space is an opportunity for refreshing and redecorating, but packing up the boxes is never fun. If you’ve got a friend who’s changing her address, stop by with some pretty packing tape and bright markers to help label everything. It’ll be a lot easier for her to settle into her new home when she can easily find the toaster oven and the coffee maker! If you’re not available to box things up, offering to act as a character reference on a rental or loan application is another way to show support for your friend’s move.
Above all, the best way to be there for your girlfriend as she goes through a change or stressful time is by listening.