JUST ME: A Love Letter to Girlfriends


What would we do without our girlfriends? As women we walk fuller because of our good buddies. A dear friend is someone who will celebrate your joys and work through sadness with you; someone you can cry with and laugh your guts out with; someone who brings out the best in you and allows you to shine even brighter. Let’s celebrate the ones we love this Valentine’s Day—not just our significant others, but the friends who are dear to us.

To have great friends, you have to be a great friend. I make a conscious effort to nurture my friendships every day. That means taking time to talk to my dear friends and really listen to what’s going on in their lives.  Listening is a gift you can give each other, both yourself and your friend. When I listen, I try to be present, to sit in that moment with that person. If I really listen to them and lift them up, they walk taller, which makes me walk taller.

By the way, one of my favorite girlfriend activities is still a slumber party. Who says we have to outgrow them? It brings me back to my girlhood to watch movies with friends in our pajamas and still be laughing and yakking when the lights go out!

The beauty of friendship is that we can be very different people and still bring complementary qualities to the friendship. I love each of my friends for different reasons. One of my buddies is quirky and always brings a smile to my face. Another one is always ready for adventure. I don’t have to love every single thing about each person but I find that one quality that makes it worth working through all the other things. I like to say “look with kind eyes.” Soften the lens and lead with good intentions. You’ll focus on the best qualities of those you love and the rest will fall away.

True friends fill your bucket by affirming your best qualities. No one needs to spend time with people who make them feel less than their best. A friendship should be 50/50—what you give in the friendship is what you want to get back. True friends surround you with love. Before my mastectomy, I made sure to go for a bike ride and margaritas with good buddies, knowing that would send me off feeling full and supported.

As a friend, I always try to shine the light on others. It starts with noticing something about them and calling it out, like how the color they’re wearing complements their eyes or how their kids are doing. When they see that I’m genuinely interested in them, they become animated and feel fuller, and so do I. I love to see people shining brighter than they even realize they can.

This Valentine’s month, take time for the good buddies who make your life full, and tell them how much they mean to you. Remember to laugh together, listen, shine the light on others, and look with kind eyes. Say “I love you” to your girlfriends because good girlfriends are one of life’s greatest gifts!

-Mary Ellen

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