Heartbreak has cracked me open more than once. It has knocked me to my knees, drained me of my tears and left me questioning everything that I thought I knew for sure. Sometimes I look back and realize that it really wasn’t that serious. Other times the wind gets knocked out of me by the memory of the consequential pain I experienced.
The culmination of certain romantic relationships definitely led to significant anguish and grief. However, the heartbreaks that have left some of the deepest scars came from the ending of close friendships with women, leading me to believe that my platonic relationships with women are generally more sacred to me than romantic relationships with men.
Moving from girlhood to womanhood was the catalyst. Maturing in my own self-confidence, forming lifechanging bonds with other women and the highs and lows of romantic relationships all helped me parse out which connections were important and which were disposable. The sentiment that most romantic relationships were destined to end sooner or later juxtaposed itself with the reverence of kinship between women, and eventually I came to see my friendships with the women close to me as indispensable.
That very sense of being indispensable is a big part of what makes the end of these friendships so utterly painful. Breaking up with a boyfriend? My girls who’ve also experienced romantic heartache can relate. But breaking up with a sister-friend? Even though my male partner may have had similar experiences with his friends, I still feel that the only people who can truly understand that bond are my sisters.
On the other hand, that same reverence of kinship leads to a difference in starting a relationship with women versus men. In my adult years, I’ve felt minimal anxiety about approaching a man, buying him a drink, or suggesting the first date. But shooting my shot with a dope sista who I want to connect further with? Eek!
Picture this. You’re out at an event and perhaps you’re seated next to a fly sista or you’re introduced to one through a mutual acquaintance. You might have shared a couple of jokes, complimented each other on hair/makeup/outfit/shoes, or found yourselves nodding in tandem at a particularly poignant moment. It feels like there’s a bond there, so you try to stay casual as you ask, “So …what’s your Twitter/IG handle?” and you realize that her social media persona is as dope as her in-person vibe.
You communicate online and maybe run into each other again soon after. You feel familiar enough that you think it would be cool to go out for coffee and chat more, but do you dare make that move?
For me, this scenario is much more risky and anxiety-inducing than approaching a man I’m interested in. This isn’t to say that further connection with a cool woman automatically means we’ll become besties, or that any friendship with a woman should be revered if it isn’t nourishing to all involved. But the significance I give to my connections with women means that I don’t take those interactions lightly. The love, support, and upliftment I get from my sister-friends can’t be replicated in any other relationship, so I take it seriously when those connections are created and when they’re broken.
One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to build upon my connections with women. That means anything from introducing myself to that sister I follow on Twitter when we first meet offline, to setting up more brunch dates for like-minded women in my area, to being committed to seeing my closest girlfriends more often. Almost halfway through 2017, I’ve been doing alright, but I can definitely improve on my resolution fulfillment. Here’s to celebrating the end of the year in the literal and figurative embrace of amazing women, and here’s to you picking up the challenge if you need to, too.
Bee Quammie is a freelance writer, blogger, and media commentator. Find her across all social media platforms at @beequammie, and learn more about her work via her site www.beequammie.com.