“Shall we stay for one more drink?”
Those seven words can change a whole night.
Those seven words can change a whole life.
When I first met one of my best friends from University we said those words to each other and the whole trajectory of our lives changed, we met people, we went places, we laughed in ways we never would have if we hadn’t bravely whispered those seven words to each other.
“I am always half in life, half in a fantastical version of it in my head.” – Everything I know about love.
The journey of her self discovery, self-love and acceptance was beautiful and painful and raw. But what I loved the most was her depiction of the love stories she has written with her best friends. The book ends with a wedding speech dedication to her friends, recalling bad habits and “love you anyway” type revelations about her friends, the stuff you can only say if you really love someone (and they know it). It paints a picture of a relationship so basic, in its purest form that you want it. I want it. Her relationships with men were whatever they needed to be, but her relationships with her female friends were the glue that held it all together.
“Nearly everything I know about love, I’ve learnt in my long term friendships with women” – Everything I know about love.
I want that.
Female friendship is amazing, hurtful, powerful, consuming, life-affirming, enamouring, beautiful and confusing to me. We’re sold the story that it’s easy and simple and in some ways it is, but of all the heartbreaks I’ve ever felt, female friendship has been the most painful.
“More often that not, the love someone gives you will be a reflection of the love you give yourself. If you can’t treat yourself with kindness, care and patience, chance are someone won’t either.” – Everything I know about love.
“I would like to pause the story a moment to talk about ‘nothing will change’. I’ve heard it said to me repeatedly by women I love during my twenties when they move in with boyfriends, get engaged, move abroad, get married, get pregnant. ‘Nothing will change.’ It drives me bananas. Everything will change. Everything will change. The love we have for each other stays the same, but the format, the tone, the regularity and the intimacy of our friendship will change for ever.” ― Everything I know about love.
So in all the messiness of everyday life and the puzzle of female friendship how can you be a ride or die BFF? How do we make our friendships count? From all of Dolly’s stories, it’s just about showing up. You show up for the people that need you. You show up for the people you love.
But how else can you be a ride or die BFF?
- Be honest. Life is busy and crazy and stressful, but it’s in those moments in the middle of the messy parts, that’s when we need our ride or die’s. Be honest, ask for help. Be honest and say it’s too much for me right now. Be honest and say I want to be there for you but I don’t know how. Just be honest with your limits and honest with your love. Ask if they need you and how.
- Remember the small things. Like the way they have their tea or that they like crime novels, or how dairy milk chocolate makes them smile. It’s the small things that make life big. The same for friendship.
- Be forgiving. You know when they haven’t texted back for weeks, or they keep missing your calls. It’s ok, remember you’ve been there too.
- But also, don’t put up with anything less than a fully committed two-way relationship. All relationships go through stages when one person needs one more than the other, that’s fine for a time. A relationship takes two people. Ride or die’s pull their weight.
- Turn up on a Wednesday with wine and pyjamas. Just because.
- Don’t just take, “I’m fine.”
- Lift up your friends. Shout to the world how great they are. Be that whisper that encourages them when it gets too much, or when they are scared or anxious.
- Be excited about what excites them.
- Sometimes to be the best ride or die you can be, you need to let go. Say goodbye to toxic friendships and the ones that leave you empty. It’s ok to say goodbye.
- Look after yourself. You can’t be a good ride or die if you haven’t ‘filled your own cup’. You need to make sure you’ve got the energy to be a ride or die, it’s going to take work, so look after yourself to allow you to serve your friends.
- Make your own rules.
- And finally, always always ask, ‘shall we stay for one more drink?’
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P.S It’s not to sort of book you’d want your mum to read.
P.P.S An affiliate link for the book is in this post. It just means if you want to buy the book and you buy it through the link, I get a few pennies. There is no additional charge for you and the book will be the same price. I’ve got pay for my coffee and book addiction somehow.