Some of you will remember the song A Girl Worth Fighting For from the 1998 Disney film Mulan. And if you haven’t seen it or don’t remember it then please put down this blog post and watch it because it is a wonderful movie. I loved it so much when I was a kid that it even inspired me to cut my hair like Mulan does in the movie… it turns out that I didn’t look good with bangs but that’s a whole other story.
A Girl Worth Fighting For is a song about the women that inspire the male characters in the movie to be brave and fight in a war. Today’s post is not about that – it’s actually about friendship, and the strong, incredible women who inspire me in general. But I couldn’t resist the Mulan reference.
I have many male friends who are wonderful people, however, this week I’m focusing on celebrating female friendship and sisterhood. In the future I might write about friendship more generally but for now, as you read, please apply it to your own experience of friendship as you see fit.
(Platonic) Love Affairs
I have found that in life there are ebbs and flows of friendship. We go through different experiences, go to new places, meet new people, and develop new relationships. Some friendships grow slowly evolve into life long affairs, some are intense but short phases.
Sometimes we meet people earlier in life and reconnect later; two of my good friends are people I knew when I was young and became close to again in university. There will be times you might have falling outs with people, which can be incredibly sad, or friendships that fizzled because you move away or develop new interests, but there will also be people who you work to stay close with and come out as stronger friends on the other side.
I’m not saying there are relationships that aren’t worth fighting for, every person is a unique and incredible being who brings something special to every relationship. But there will be exceptional people in your life who you will want to go out of your way to hang on to.
What friendships are worth fighting for?
In the song A Girl Worth Fighting For they list attributes of women worth fighting for; they are pretty outdated, and apart from Mulan’s contribution of “How ’bout a girl who’s got a brain, Who always speaks her mind”, it’s not very flattering to women a really only speaks to physical appearance and “wife material” qualities.
So here, I would just like to say that the people and friends I think are worth fighting for are the women who you laugh with, cry with, and the people who stick up and show up for you – women who build up other women. The sisters who are always there to give you a hug, who are willing to drop anything to be with you when you need them. The people who “feel like sunshine” and make you feel so good about yourself you’re glowing. The women who you can be yourself around. Women of character and integrity. The friends who love you fiercely and you know, even if you haven’t seen them lately, will be there for you.
I think when we care about people it’s easy to feel like they are the best, we look past the flaws and get blind sided when they let us down. Newsflash: Nobody is perfect and in all relationships. We can get hurt, feel let down, or misunderstood. We annoy our siblings, hurt our friend’s feelings, even when it’s unintentional we can damage relationships. There is a quote attributed to Bob Marley about how everyone will hurt you but you choose the people you want to love despite that; the people who are worth it. What I think is important to remember is that despite getting hurt we can’t hold people to a standard of perfection – we all make mistakes and if you aren’t willing to forgive and move on you’ll miss out on amazing people.
What does it look like to fight for a friendship?
If you’re feeling like things are up in the air with a relationship, or you’re experiencing conflict or tension, it can be hard to say to a friend “hey that thing you said really hurt my feelings,” “hey are we doing okay? I feel like something is off,” “I feel like we are drifting, want to hangout more?”.
Or the worst one… “I feel insecure about our friendship because you’re hanging out with other people a lot and not me” – because you might feel incredibly clingy saying that. But hey, if you really do feel that way and it’s an important relationship to you, it might be important to talk about it. Those can be awkward conversations to have and questions to ask – but if you don’t push through the awkward feelings you might lose that connection.
Other ways to fight for friendships are:
Initiating a conversation. Its 2017 and we are SO past waiting for friends to text you first, don’t be too proud to reach out.
Avoiding competition between other friends. Insecurity is a 100% natural feeling, especially when we throw around terms like ‘best friend’ that make us second guess how our friendships compare to others. I think that stems from a feeling of scarcity – thinking your friend only has so much love to give to people you might fall to the side. I really try to not call people my “best friend” and prefer to use it as a general term like “some of my best friends” because I don’t want people I care about to feel like they matter less than someone else. Simple solution? Don’t compare your friendships to anyone else.
Telling them how you feel. If you know me in real life you know I L O V E talking about my feelings and I think it’s really beneficial to tell people how much you care about them. One time I even convinced a group of my friends to sit in a circle and all go around and tell everyone how much we liked them – it is a great way to let people know they matter to you (but less public interactions like cards or notes also work).
Make an effort to connect. Missing a friend who you haven’t seen in a while? Wondering where the relationship is at? Try inviting them for coffee, or to an art show, or whatever it is that you’re into. Sometimes sleepy relationships just need to be woken up by putting in a little effort.
Acknowledge your part. I’ve been flipping through the book Uninvited by Lisa TerKeurst lately and in the chapter about Friendship Breakups a line I loved was “She has her own version, and to deny that would make me guilty of more than just losing a friendship. It would further complicate things with selfishness”. It can be easy to blame issues in relationships on the other person but that is truly not fair. Conflict is never that simple and it is rarely one person’s fault.
I think we like to avoid feeling awkward and putting ourselves on the line. It seems safer to just not say anything – and I really have been there where I wanted to say something to a friend I was losing touch with and didn’t because it felt silly and I thought she was fine for us to drift. But I would just like to pose a question, would you rather avoid an uncomfortable conversation and miss out on a friend because it’s “natural” to drift? Or open up yourself and potentially keep that wonderful person in your life in a real way.
When I look back on the journey I’ve been on with friends I have, I am glad for the friends who called me out when we were drifting, and for the times I found the courage to say “hey I want us to hangout more”. The other night I was driving home from hanging out with friends, some of the women who inspired this post, and I felt happy to know that through the ebbs and flows of friendship I’ve found some incredible people who are truly worth fighting for.
I am thankful for the strong, amazing, kind, driven women I am proud to call my friends. The ones that inspire me and teach me to live life to the fullest. I hope this post can serve as a small inspiration to be brave and fight for those important friendships in your life and to celebrate the people we are lucky to call friends.