Just hearing the word “girlfriend” brings to mind happy thoughts of good times with the women in my life.  I have a friendship that is over 40 years old.  Kimberly and I became childhood friends when I was four years old.  Her family bought the house two doors down from us.  Today, we keep in regular contact and see each other several times a year even though we live in different states (her work travel schedule helps us do that).  Whenever we get together, there is never enough time for us to talk about all the things we want to share — updates on our families, work, and lives.  Over the years, we have celebrated each other’s accomplishments, shared our deepest fears, comforted each other through sorrow and loss, and watched each other’s families grow.  Whenever I receive an email from her saying that she is going to be in Phoenix, I immediately read it so that I can add the dates of her next visit to my calendar.  It is a relationship I truly cherish.

We make girlfriends all through our lives.  In childhood, we have friends with whom we often lose contact over the years.  Facebook has made it easier to reconnect with them and I enjoy seeing where their lives have taken them.  If you attended college, you may have developed some really strong female friendships during those years.  I was not a traditional college student.  I got married and had a family right after high school instead, so I didn’t have the dorm experience.  But my friendship with fellow students from my master’s program has blessed me with many women friends who work in my industry.

We also develop friendships with women through our work or business.  I am fortunate enough to own a business where I work primarily with women as clients. Because I come alongside them during a very difficult and emotional time in their lives – divorce – I am able to have meaningful conversations with them and often develop deep friendships.  As they move forward in their new lives as singles, I receive such personal reward in seeing them learn to confidently manage their finances.

Whether you are single or married, you may have several girlfriends who share your marital status.  The friendships often develop because you have similar lifestyles.  These women can understand the particular challenges of either marriage or being single.  Having girlfriends you can turn to when you are struggling or who will celebrate you reaching new milestones makes the burdens more bearable and the successes more rewarding.  There is a Swedish proverb that I love, “Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”

Family is another source of female friendships.  These are the people we didn’t choose to be in our lives, yet we often form the deepest relationships with them because we are related.  In my family, I have a sister-in-law who is a dear, dear friend and my sister, Lynda, is my trusted advisor, counselor, confidante and friend.  When something goes wrong or right in my life, the first person I want to talk to is my girlfriend, my sister.

Associations, support groups and other social organizations can also be a wonderful arena for friendships between women to develop.  As a co-founder of Platform Scottsdale, I share in our mission to bring women from various areas of our lives together to meet, be inspired, support, mentor and connect with each other in a fun, friendly, social environment.  At one of our events you are likely to see stay-at-home moms, high level executives, business owners, singles, marrieds and family members across different age groups, ethnicities, geographical areas and backgrounds.  We believe that there is great value in connecting fabulous women with each other and watching as they lift each other up.  We have seen it come to fruition time and time again.

Today is a good day to reach out to a girlfriend in your life and let her know how much she means to you or how much you value the relationship. I have a few to reach out to right now!