Do you have gal-pals? A bestie or two? Do you know female friendships are vital for most woman?

“From what I’ve experienced, when my friends and I are there for one another, the whole world feels a lot kinder and way more hopeful. There’s a glow that lights even the bleakest moments,” writes Susan Skog in a Huffington Post article.

International Women’s Friendship Month

September is International Women’s Friendship Month. Started by the Kappa Delta Sorority, this special recognition of the value of female friendships “encourages women to remember the important roles friends play in their lives,” according to the organization’s website.

“Women are each other’s emotional support system. From giving advice, being a shoulder to cry on, keeping secrets, lending a listening ear and boosting self-esteem, to developing strong and healthy female friendships is something all women can benefit from,” noted Kristen Fuller, M.D., a physician and clinic mental health writer.

By nature, most women need emotional connection, which other women provide. Female friendships help us navigate the murky waters of life, from health to opposite-sex relationships. Our girl-pals offer advice and provide a listening ear. They cry with us, laugh with us, spend time with us, and care about us. Female friendships often provide help and support during distressing times as well as during the regular, daily grind. Female friends can help encourage us, giving us greater confidence, and provide comfort during times of crisis, helping us realize we are not alone. Having such support to lean upon, call upon, and rely upon gives us women increased hope and the ability to be vulnerable.

Kate Leaver, author of The Friendship Cure, recently told a U.K. newspaper reporter, “The most beautiful thing about female friendship, to me, is its strength. Women make each other more resilient because, when female friendship is done right, it is this astounding source of confidence, reassurance, comfort, joy and candour that can truly guide you through life.”

Celebrate Your Friends!

During this special Friendship Month, find ways to celebrate your friendship with other women, whether she is your sister, cousin, mother, co-worker, fellow student, or treasured friend for years. Here are some ways to show those gal-pals you value their friendship:

  • Send a card or short note telling your best friend that you appreciate her.
  • Gather a friend or two and go out to dinner and movie together – or invite them to your home or apartment for a potluck and “chick-flick” on DVD or Netflix.
  • Go hiking, biking or walking and share lunch in or out-of-town.
  • Do a volunteer day together at a homeless, women’s, or animal shelter then enjoy a lunch or dinner afterwards to share the joys and challenges of your experience.
  • Plan a spa day together complete with haircut, manicure, and pedicure.

Is there someone you haven’t seen or heard from in quite some time? Reconnect by phone, mail, or email, in-person or on Facebook.

What If?

What if I don’t have any friends? you may ask. What if my last best friend betrayed me?

Sadly, not all friendships last forever. Many of us have developed deep female friendships and trusted other women only to have that confidence crushed. Or, we are more of an introvert and making friends isn’t as easy as other women make it seem. We all have people in our circle with whom we can spend more time, sharing a coffee or lunch, engaged in a hobby like running, walking, quilting, or reading, or have common interests like pets or travel.

Don’t let shyness or distrust keep you from potential quality friendships. Take time to get to know someone and carefully nurture the friendship like one does a garden – doing so can produce a bond that emotionally benefits you and the other person.

Skog puts it well in her Huffington Post article:  “When women support one another, our opportunities, joy, health, and worlds, personally and globally, keep expanding, one woman at a time. This is our time to lead and light up the world. We have no time to waste by being anything but our best.”

Who was your best friend in school? Who is your best friend today? Do you have a group of women that you frequently spend time with and who bring out the best in you? Do you do the same for them?

Happy International Women’s Friendship Month!