An Ode to Girlfriends – What Men Can’t Do

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the importance of good friends
as I age, girlfriends are even more important than ever before

Men are good at many things. Changing light bulbs, opening pickle jars and wine bottles, killing insects, filling the gas tank, washing the car, playing the tough parent role, buying and lifting the heavy items at the grocery store, unloading the car, grilling on the BBQ, fixing the engine and a clogged toilet and running out for the items forgotten on the list; all the things that women can do, but would rather our strong men show us how it’s done. The things men cannot do, and the reason we need our girlfriends is men hate talking about their feelings, and would rather die than churn over a past conversation in detail until we feel better.

I tried reaching out to Alfonz, but  the conversation lasted about 10 minutes on the topic before he offered his manly solution. When I rehash again, he says, we already figured it out, why are you running through it again. My girlfriend F and her husband calls this ‘Reenacting the Game Show.’ the perfect analogy for what women do. 

Do you know what I’m talking about?

You see, when we try to talk to our husbands or partners about how it happened or why it happened, they want to fix it as fast as possible so we are out of pain. Men don’t know that it is not the solution we are after but the conversation. The inquiring of information for us, is to make a solid decision on our own.

The direct route to happiness for a man is avoidance of such lengthy talks, for women it is predicting every possible solution for every possible situation before it arises, so when it does happen, the research is already done. That is the purpose of our gal pal gabbing sessions. And laughing at ourselves. And finding ways to grow as people. And how to parent better. And to ask the hard questions. And sometimes self analysis. I think women have a deep seeded need  to talk.

I miss my Canadian friends
My Canadian friends

Which brings me to the reason for this post. I miss my girlfriends. The lack of language is a problem when making new friends, as you can imagine.

Leaving my girlfriends behind was heart breaking and is possibly the hardest part about moving to France.

I often wonder where my sanity was when making the decision to leave Canada. Why would anyone in their right mind leave such an amazing group of friends? The circle of friends I waited for my whole life had just been established in the last 10 years.

When I was settled in France and found myself making new relationships and felt I needed my friends advice more than ever before.

My girls back home are made up of a vast variety of people, each given me strength and knowledge to deal with life in different ways.  Some keep me silly and laughing through some tough moments over the last decade, and I even have a few friends from junior high school still in my life that are more like sisters that grew up with me.

In France, sometimes I am misunderstood. I seem to be moving very fast compared to the laid back southern life we try to adapt to. Involved in a great many of things, with a vast amount of interests in many directions, it is hard to keep up.

Since coming to France the mission was to get established. It has been pedal to the metal, full speed ahead since we landed. With failure not being an option, it was a matter of time before our schedule filled up and we had to try many different routes until we found our way. It hasn’t been easy and what got me through were those long Skype calls to Mom, my best girl Shan and family back in Hungary. Endless chats with close girl friends, asking for advice and just downloading all the stuff we have learned in the last 2 1/2 years. I felt that keeping the women in my life in the loop with updates and informing them through my website; they were witnesses. My friends laughed along side during the funny things I discovered, they watched and as I changed and how I grew as a person.

You know how amazing it is to have girlfriends that don’t judge you, that you totally trust, that know your heart inside and out and would help you through the details we women sometimes get caught up in. Friends help through those tough moments, and the more complicated questions.

And my girlfriends seem to help me through the same issues over and again, the only difference is that I live in a different country. I am still a little naive when it comes to people and think everyone has a Mary Poppins outlook of their fellow man. Sadly, anytime someone is cruel to my family, or me I am totally shocked. You would think by 40 I would grow a thicker skin to such trivial nonsense, but no. I remain unchanged and hopeful that people are generally good.

People may think because I am happy, optimistic or nice; that I lack a better understanding of the real world. But I would disagree. It is hard to be happy. Like a muscle you train your thoughts, you focus on being present in the moment you are in, and then the real world is an amazing source of experience and information.

In the face of diversity, and especially when people can be so harsh to me, it is hard to fathom they have time. They should be focused on all the great things going on around them. People misjudge nice for a lack of intelligence. For me it is an important choice to remain happy and positive, to never be nasty to anyone back, to sustain my child-like enthusiasm for life, to always see the silver lining, and to continuously learn from everyone I meet. Even after countless blows, I refuse to break. And that is when I miss my friends knowing my heart.

Unkind people lack the knowledge on how to make themselves happy and seek to destroy other’s happiness to feel better about their own misery. So I forgive them instantly. It is not their fault. They haven’t developed the tools.  And maybe they will never get there.

It is perhaps a wiring defect in my DNA… I am designed to smile and forgive. I think eventually I will one day rub off on some of the curmudgeons of the world, but sadly these types are annoyed by my high frequency positive energy. I continue to be a foreign entity to them. C’est la vie! And again, I miss my girlfriends.

I reached out to my girlfriends on Facebook yesterday, and with over two dozen personal message in my inbox within an hour of posting, I had a good gab session with my mom and a close friend that day and chatted and messaged for hours with another friend who stayed up late to walk me through step by step the scenario that was bothering me. I was showered in girlfriend love. It was amazing. And I am reminded that although they are far, they are always here for me. And my new friends, slowly become close friends and I start to reach out to them as my language improves. I am grateful. I call them my French circle of friends and I look forward to developing those relationships as time goes on.

These are the kinds of relationships we women need to survive; the gift of a good girlfriend can save your spouse hours of trying to stay awake. Girlfriends know it is not the solution but the discussion that weighs in as the most important.

Girlfriends are my stress relief when we laugh together, sometimes at each but mainly together. They make me feel connected even when we are far apart and when we talk; we pick up where we left off. My friends boost my confidence; when I am unsure they remind me of past events that we got through together. They teach me new things all the time as I watch my friends grow and succeed in their own lives. We are never jealous but support each other through thick and thin. It is through my girlfriend’s love and loyalty that I am strong. Without my girlfriends, my life wouldn’t be as rich and colourful.

Thanks girls! You know who you are!

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