Graduating? Give yourself the gift that keeps on giving

Published: June 7, 2008 | Last Updated: June 8, 2008 By | Reply Continue Reading

If you haven’t yet realized it, graduation from high school
or college can be a friendship-killer. When you are no longer living side-by-side
or seeing each other every day, it will never be quite as easy to keep up
once-close female friendships or to make new ones.

With more than $55 million in domestic box office sales, Sex and the City made its mark as the
highest-grossing chick flick in history on its opening weekend. Why did working
women and working-at-home women leave their boyfriends, husbands, and kids
behind, flocking in droves to see a movie that will likely be available on
Netflix and pay-per-view in the blink of an eye? They wanted to see each other.

Sex is the
ultimate excuse for a girl’s night out—something that women are desperately
craving as our multi-tasking lifestyles leave less discretionary time for
female friendships. The march of Stilettos to movie houses across the country
was nothing short of a surge. Women clicked on Fandango and lined up for
tickets because they were eager to redress their friendship deficit. Regardless
of our age or stage in life, many women simply don’t have enough friends to meet
their needs for understanding and being understood.

Sex, both movie
and the series, hit the nail on the head when it comes to female friendships.
We all covet the close friendships like the ones mirrored by Carrie, Miranda,
Samantha and Charlotte. Women went to see Sex
but they were more excited about the before and after cocktails, dinners and
parties they had planned with each other. They wanted to walk in the footsteps
of the foursome.

Getting back to my commencement remarks—Graduation often
means going home or moving away, leaving the familiar and making new starts. As
a result, it is a time when many of us lose touch with women whom we see every
day and call and text in-between—both besties and entire friendship circles
that are meaningful parts of our lives.

Make yourself a promise to keep up with your school
chums—especially the ones with whom you have been able to share both
happiness and heartbreaks. As you age and life becomes more complex and
demanding, you’ll realize that you have given yourself the most wonderful
treasure. A few of the basics:

1) Always make friendship a priority (right up there after
family). If you need a rationale to convince you, here it is: Research shows
that social support and close friendships are linked to improved health and
emotional well-being.

2) Get rid of toxic friendships that are consistently
negative and emotionally draining. We all have one or two gal pals that are
annoying to be with, people we feel ambivalent about and who probably feel ambivalent
about us. Just let go of them.

3) Find any excuse to create rituals to stay in touch with
the good friends. It shouldn’t be a one-time affair. Make a plan to get
together every month or at least several times a year. It can be on milestone
birthdays or periodic girlfriend getaway jaunts. Or even the opening of a
long-awaited chick flick!

4) In-between, use every way possible to stay connected—via
cell phones, Blackberries, and old-fashioned letters until the next time your
see each other.

Female graduates: Congratulations—Go forth with your


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