Finding My Tribe: A Female Friendship Story
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Female friendships can be challenging. We have all been there; finding your female tribe isn't always an easy feat. Some girls find their group in elementary school or high school and remain friends forever, while others never really find a tribe. My experience? It sometimes felt like I might never find my female tribe. For me, it took longer, but each woman in my tribe was well worth the wait.
When I was younger, I changed schools many, many times. Because I was changing schools every year or two, I never developed a large group of friends. Instead, I had friends from different schools, camp and family friends, most of whom were just “kids I knew” versus good friends. I had a few really close friends, who remained my friends for life, but they seemed to have their own groups of friends that I never really fit into. While I was in school, it seemed like one's quantity of friends was more important than the quality of those friends. I spent many nights at home, miserable and lonely, feeling like I was missing out on what high school was supposed to be like. I used to wish those years away, ready for a new phase of life. My confidence was so low and I felt unworthy of strong female relationships.
While my years in college were better than those in high school, I could see how, as the people around me matured, my relationships were growing. Slowly but surely, I was adding to my girl gang, girls that I had something in common with, girls that would stand the test of time. In my second year of college, I was reintroduced to a girl that I had known in high school. We had gone to school together for a year, and she was tough to get along with. We had friends in common, but it was clear that we had nothing in common. However, a few years and a whole lot of maturing later, we found that in fact we shared a lot of interests. We were enrolled in an education class together and became quick friends. Sixteen years later, we are extremely close. As that relationship began to grow, my own confidence began to grow. The older I got, the more deep and meaningful relationships I built with other people.
Path to Friendship Through Motherhood
The most impactful phase of growing my female tribe was when I became a mom. When I looked at my own mother’s group of close friends, it was clear that many of her closest friends were made after she had me. She found her tribe when she became a mother. For as long as I can remember, I had dreamt of being a mother. Like many women, when I got pregnant with my first child, people would tell me about their sister or friend who was pregnant and asked if I wanted to be introduced. I became friendly with a few women who were pregnant and due around the same time as me, but it wasn’t until I gave birth to my son that I truly began growing my group of girlfriends, or asI like to call them, my mom tribe.
It seemed almost instantaneous; I had a baby and along with that came a whole group of friends. My social schedule had suddenly become very busy with playdates and mommy groups and mommy lunches. It felt as if I had gone to sleep in one life, longing for a tribe, and I woke up in another life with girls that I had many things in common with who were in the same stage of life as me. I felt like I had finally found my place, like I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
Shortly after my son was born, I lost my sister. It was sudden and awful and I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage to get through it. While some of my mommy friends were women I had just met and others I had known for years, these women came together to support me. They each showed up daily with their babies, to support me and keep me busy. I was unbelievably grateful to this new tribe of women and my life-long friends without whom I would never had made it through. It was clear that these women weren’t just there for the “new mom” phase, but that they would be around for the long haul.
A few years later, I had my daughter. This time, I was lucky enough to give birth just a month before my best friend gave birth to her first daughter. Less than a year later, another close friend of mine had her first daughter. It was during this year that my friends became friends with one another. While many girls grew up having one group of friends, I had many groups of smaller friends over the years. Watching my groups come together, albeit later in life, was an amazing experience that completed my female friendships, making me feel like I was in the middle of a group of friends that I had longed for my whole life.
As the years have gone on, I have made more friends through my kids. I have become close with some of the neighborhood moms, many of whom play a huge role in my life. I could have never imagined that I would find my girl gang later in life, but I also couldn’t imagine raising my kids without them. If you ask me, I say better late than never!