How to be a Ride or Die BFF

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.

This post is all about that type of friendship and it’s my book review of Dolly Alderton’s book – Everything I Know About Love.

I wasn’t sure about this book, I thought it was going to be a book about a party girl who landed her dream job in London and talked about her dating pitfalls. (It was and wasn’t). But everyone was reading it, I’d seen countless Instagram flatlays with its unmistakable cover and it was on a bestsellers list (that usually sums up how I pick my new book and how I read more books each year). I immediately and with ‘head over heels’ fell in love with Dolly’s storytelling. That girl can spin and craft and weave the most epic stories from tiny causal and unassuming sentences.

“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 think female friendship is one of the few relationships in our life that goes through so much change.  We meet new partners, we change jobs, we move house, but we expect our female relationships to be the same. That’s hard. That’s pressure. And things go wrong.  But as Dolly repeatedly states –  “With no blame placed“. We can’t blame each other, it’s just not fair. It works both ways.

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?’

**I’m building a tribe of likeminded wonderful people who love travel and life and adventure. Join my newsletter to be first to read my posts and to see how you too, can become part of this tribe… See you next Monday!

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.

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