Happy Galentines Day! 💕 Samantha Tonge is here with a blog post about the power of female friendships and relationships! Read all about it below ⬇️✨
When I was a younger woman, the benchmark for female friendship, in my opinion, was that portrayed in Sex and the City. Four strong women who shared their secrets, their fears and ambitions, going out on the razz together, meeting for lunch, being there for each other during the most difficult moments. And I’ve enjoyed something like this at different points in my life… at school, then university, in jobs, to some degree with playground mums. However those friendship groups have never endured.
As the years have passed, partly due to mental health struggles, it’s been difficult to stay committed. I’ve thought about this from time to time. Wondered if I’m the odd one out. But the older I get, it matters less, because I do have female friendships in my life that may not fit that razzamatazz mould, but that are important nevertheless.
Friendship is about total acceptance of who you are, without being laughed at, without point-scoring. Whilst I loved my late mum dearly, we were also friends, and shared ongoing private jokes, we confided in each other. I miss her every day. Yet I also enjoy a strong bond with my wonderful daughter. Female relationships are so important because you are looking at the world through the same-shaped lens, one where there is patriarchy, unacceptable societal expectations, one where it helps to talk to like-minded people about hopes and doubts, about hormones and emotions.
These days, of course, friendship has an added dimension thanks to the people you come across online. The author community is fantastically supportive and I’d say I’ve made important friendships there, despite not meeting all of these people in real life, where we’ve shared our concerns in what feels like a safe space, where we’ve supported each other with more tangible things like marketing. I don’t go on retreats with other writers. I’m not much of a social butterfly. This doesn’t mean my life isn’t enriched by the female writers I know, along with intelligent, sensitive, funny readers, bloggers and female publishing staff.
It’s these kinds of friendship that permeate my books. Like Robin, in Under One Roof, who gets back in touch with Tara, her high school best friend. Due to tragedy that friendship didn’t last, but it’s picked up again, years later. It’s an intense friendship that’s faced problems. It’s not about brunch out or drinking cocktails, it’s simply being there with a hug or at the end of a phone – being a listening board. Then there’s Dolly and Phoebe in Lost Luggage, there’s a big age difference between them, but they are drawn together by a lost notebook. Each of them has hidden away from months and they discover common ground that helps them each find a new normal. My upcoming novel, out in a few months, also focuses on a female friendship between two women who randomly meet and by doing so, change each other’s lives for the better and boost each other’s confidence.
And that’s what the best female friendships are about, whether they grow, in a group, over a Cosmopolitan in a glitzy bar – or one to one, in a messaging app or over a Latte in the local coffee shop.