If you’re a woman who grew up with a sister, you’re very lucky. You know what it’s like to have someone to confide in, laugh with, and—sometimes—fight with. As a sister to a sister, I understand what it’s like to know that someone always has your back, someone who understands what it means to be a woman in this world. Sisters by birth are wonderful gifts.
But there’s also something special about the sisters you choose. Something in their personalities, a shared world view or assigned seating in third grade led you to find each other, and claim each other. These are your girls. Your sisters. Your tribe.
In addition to having a sister sibling, I am so very fortunate to have women in my life who I also call sisters. Some go back as far as high school, where we met as awkward girls (we didn’t know how awkward until years later). We had our first boyfriends, first pairs of high heels and first beers, all within four critical years of our young lives. We thought we knew it all, but we were right. We thought we’d always be friends, and in most cases, we were right.
I also was wonderfully connected to amazing women through organizational memberships that bonded us for life and offered the opportunity to serve our communities. These former strangers took root in my heart and over the years we’ve been in each other’s weddings, watched as children grew up and parents grew old, and witnessed a multitude of changes in our lives. These are also my sisters, now and forever.
Perhaps most unexpectedly are the women I’ve met throughout my professional career, who could have remained perfectly good colleagues, acquaintances or work buddies. But we were drawn into friendships so deep that they, too, could only be called sisterhoods. These relationships are just as special as the others. We root for one another’s professional success, offer career advice (sometimes unsolicited), and discuss the intricacies of code-switching and other workplace survival tactics.
All of these women play a role in my life. They inspire me, influence me and understand me. And each of them is only a call away when I need to talk. Or vent. Or drink. I cannot imagine a time in which these women are not in my life.
The sisterhood is more than good friendships with women who have your back. It’s a summary of shared experiences across the miles, and across the decades. It’s the implicit understanding of a common background, because much of it was built together. You can convey a mountain of feelings with one emoji, because they get you. You will drop everything you’re doing to be there for them, because you got them. The sisterhood is a powerful connection, a catalyst, a refuge. It is where you can most be yourself, or anyone you want to be.
If you are part of a sisterhood, nurture it. Take time to meet or call or text, whatever it takes to stay connected. Schedule dinners in advance, chat during your morning commute, or enjoy a FaceTime happy hour. The investment of time and effort will pay huge dividends as you enhance your bond of sisterhood.
If you don’t have close girlfriends, it’s not too late. Cultivate friendships with like-minded women at church, at work or through civic organizations. You will undoubtedly find that close friendships will bring endless joy to your life.
To all my sisters, thank you for taking the path that led you to my life. It would not be nearly as rich and wonderful without you. Can’t wait until the next girls night out. I have so much to tell you. 😉