Who is your intended audience?
This book is written for women of all ages, but especially for those women 40 years of age and older. It is written in a manner that encourages readers to read one chapter a week or a day with a place to journal after each chapter. It is meant not only as a book that can be journaled through alone but also as a book that women can journey through together to celebrate the beauty of female friendship. I also encourage women to not only journal through the book, but also to set up similar one-on-one dates with girlfriends, as described in the book, to share and talk about the meaning of the friendships and life lessons learned from one another.
What inspired you to write the book?
As I embarked on my challenge of meeting 50 women over the course of the year, I posted each date on Facebook. By the time that I reached date 20, I found that I was receiving regular messages and calls from women who were following my journey, sharing their inspiration to do something similar and requesting guidance on how to begin. The idea that was simply my own self-challenge grew into the book and the movement the #5050friendshipflowchallenge.
What do you think will surprise readers the most?
It will surprise readers to find that a simply written book with short chapters, such as mine, can change their lives – by simply journaling and taking the Challenge themselves, they will find that the experience will deepen their connections to everyone that they meet. Recognizing that everyone who comes in and out of our lives are both our teacher and our student, brings so much gratitude for all of the experiences and daily encounters that we have, even the not so pleasant ones.
What was the inspiration behind your writing and was there a life-changing event?
The 50/50 Friendship Flow Challenge project began in December of 2018. I happened to be turning 49 that month, which prompted me to seriously ponder what I wanted my life to look like — not just at 50 years of age, but also what I wanted my life to be from then on.
My 40s were a time for both mental and spiritual growth, much of which stemmed from several significant physical challenges. The biggest life-changing physical challenge occurred in 2017, when I received a breast cancer diagnosis at age 47. I began to reflect upon and recognize the vast importance of the relationships in my life. During this same time, I attended a friend’s memorial service. At the service, many friends and family members stood up to share the great impact that this woman had on their lives – which was great, but these were words said about her and not to her.
After that day, I made it my mission to not allow another year to go by where I did not take the time to sit down one on one with each of my girlfriends to share the meaning that she brought to my life. I proceeded to make a list of 50 women who I wanted to meet with over the course of one year to share with them what I admire about them and what having each of them in my life has taught me. Some women on the list were longtime friends, others were relatively new acquaintances.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what is it?
I learned that acknowledging the lessons learned from a friend and telling her not only what she means to me but also the gifts that I see in her carried more power than I had ever imagined. I guarantee that each woman I met with remembers our Challenge date because these are conversations that we never have with one another – we talk to our friends, but we never talk about our friendships.
What would you say to women who have never had a girlfriend?
I would give the same advice that I recently gave to my 20-year-old daughter, who moved this year to Florida to attend college, and after a few weeks away from home she was feeling lonely – unsure of how to make friends, especially during this year of social distancing. I suggested that she give herself daily goals. Starting with every time that she went out of her home, in her case her dorm room, saying “hello” to one new person each day. As that becomes comfortable, set a new goal to say “hello” to 3 new people a day or a goal to strike up a real conversation with someone new each day. Relationships take time to cultivate. We all are nervous or a little uncomfortable forming new friendships. It takes vulnerability. I find that it helps to remember that there is nothing lost in attempting to make a new friend. You can’t lose a friend you never had, the only thing that can change is that you may gain a new friend – it is a no-lose situation.
What advice would you give young girls on how they can maintain long term friendships?
It is the little things that count, and matter. It is the checking in with one another from time-to-time, remembering birthdays, and celebrating life’s milestones – not necessarily with grand gestures but with authentic kindness. It is taking the time out of a busy schedule to set regular dates to get together one-on-one and share a meal, coffee, or even simply phone or video chat time. The gift of time, time together or time spent writing a little note or making a call, supersedes anything else when maintaining long term friendships.
What would you say to married women who let go of their female friendships once they marry?
It is never too late to rekindle a friendship, nor does it take a lot of time. As a life coach for women, I always encourage my clients to find balance in their lives which includes investing in self-care. Self-care includes taking care of our female friendships. The number one predictor of happiness is the relationships in our lives. While marriage certainly can make life busy, it is absolutely necessary for self-care to take the time to nurture female friendships. Everyone has time to send a simple text to at least one girlfriend a week. Start with that, even schedule it for the same day and time each week, if necessary. After that becomes a habit, start to reach out to two friends, maybe this time adding in time for a phone call, and eventually make it a goal to meet at least once a month with a girlfriend whether it be through Zoom or in person, I guarantee it will add to your life and will not take anything away from the marriage – if anything, it will add to the marriage as you find that rekindling and building these female friendships generates feelings of connection and happiness, and happiness is contagious.
Has technology changed friendships?
Technology can always be viewed as either positive or negative. I find if we focus on the positives that technology has brought to our female friendships, the negatives become less important. The top 5 positive effects of technology:
- It takes very little time to send a text to let a girlfriend know that you are thinking about her.
- Even during this year of social distancing, we’re able to connect and see each other through technology in real time.
- We’re able to easily record our meetings with photos – which allows for reflection and it extends the enjoyment of the time together.
- We can connect with more friends in a single day than we ever could before.
- Technology evens the playing field. Friends who are shy and feel a little awkward at times, especially in large groups, are able to have the time to think and respond — in a more comfortable environment – allowing everyone the opportunity to be social and to cultivate these important friendships
How can we contact you?
You can contact me by visiting my website https://animperfectlyperfectlife.com/
Where can we purchase your book The Fifty-Fifty Friendship Flow: Life Lessons from and for My Girlfriends?
The book Is available for purchase by visiting my website or Amazon.