• Stephanie LaBonte

Grown Up Girl's Guide to Friendships

Have you ever made a friend by bonding over something you hate? We’ve all done it. “Omg. You hate that girl. Sameeeee. Let’s be friends.” Obviously it doesn’t go 100% like that, but you know what I’m talking about, and you also know that that friendship is not always authentic. Why? Because you can never really trust that person and they can’t really trust you either. If you talked behind the back of someone else the second you met someone new, what makes you think that they won’t turn around and do the same thing to you? Or you won’t do it to them?

I’m here to tell you that it can be different. You don’t need to bond with hate, negativity and judgement. What if you could meet new friends and bond over kindness, compassion and mutual respect? It is possible.

You need to be willing to take the risk to heal yourself from within. You can do this by making conscious choices to be better. Not talking about other people behind their back. Being true to your word. Not judging. Being compassionate. Giving to others. It’s not easy to do this work, these are learned behaviors taught to us by the media, generational patterns and mean girl culture.

Being a high school teacher, I have seen every kind of toxic behavior in girls for over a dozen years. Excluding others, gossiping and bullying on social media and it's absolutely disheartening to witness. Have you ever experienced someone cutting you out of a picture, creating a new account just to abandon you or ganging up on you? Yea, me too.

I was a victim of cyberbullying myself, and it doesn’t feel good. When I was in college, my roommate set my AIM away message (totally dating myself!) as “Needs to get laid to stop being so uptight.” She put it up when I had class (a 4 hour one) and so many people saw it. I was mortified and of course so upset, I still had to live with this person! I ended up calling for a conflict resolution with my RAs. I remember being outraged because I couldn’t understand why she just couldn’t communicate how she was feeling about me. I always sought out the person to say how I felt and was just floored at the lack of respect she gave me. Not only intruding on my personal items and space, but also being cruel. She didn’t really give an answer when we tried to resolve the conflict. You know why? Because it was a learned behavior. A tactic that she was familiar with. Something that brought her comfort. Does this sound familiar?

I am here to tell you you don’t have to be that girl. The girl that is the mean girl or the girl that is the nice girl who gets bullied. You can choose who you want to be and who you let in. You can also change your current relationships. You can choose to do something different. I have had relationships that have evolved so much over time. These are the ones that are real. So, how do we get to have the most authentic friendships? By being vulnerable, by sharing your truth and forgiving yourself. We have to do better. The more you lead by example and the more you love yourself, the more you can show others the way. The saying goes, if you heal yourself, you heal others.

How you choose to show up in the world is what you will attract. If you are kind to yourself, you will be kind to others. If you pamper yourself, you will pamper others. If you feed your mind, you will feed the minds of others. If you believe you are worthy, you will attract others who are equally worthy. If you treat yourself with loving care, you will attract others who willingly give you loving care. It is simple. Love yourself and others will love you too.

Know what your purpose and core values are. Friends that share the same values and live in their purpose are ones that are the strongest connections you will have. If family is important to you both, you will prioritize that. If freedom is important to you, then you will love friends who understand neither of you are going to call every second of every day and respect each other’s time when you are together. If laughter is important to you, then you will laugh every single second you are in the company of that friend, making crazy tik-toks and screaming lyrics out the car window. If love is important to you, hug them hard, send them gifts and be there for them and show up.

Your tribe is waiting for you, cheering you on and wanting you to be the best person you can be. They got you, girl!

Find them HERE!

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