Friendships are like seasons. They change…
There’s a metamorphosis that happens to women as each decade passes. Have you ever wondered why friendships falter or your love language shifts? Maybe you experienced trauma. Maybe you lost a relationship. Or, maybe you hit a financial goal and it’s elevated your net worth which alienated your previous network. Each season requires a different level of tenacity and grit as mothers, wives, business women, entrepreneurs. We are allowed to evolve. To shift. To grow. And especially in the sacred space of a sisterhood. The same grace we extend to our friend at her peak should be extended as she sits, fragile, in her valley.
You see, this concept of friendship is nothing new to women. In fact, some of us have a very complicated relationship if we’re being honest. As girls, we are taught “to have a friend, we must be a friend.” From a young age, girls are encouraged to bond with one another. From sleepovers to Girl Scouts to fights about boys in middle school; to sororities to wine night to group chats; the list goes on as to how we yearn (for) and lean (on) our girlfriends over the years. It feels wonderful to be included and wanted and valued! It’s so nice to call a girlfriend for advice on love, business and parenting; some of life’s greatest challenges. And many are solved over a shared bottle of wine. Who doesn’t want to be invited to a fabulous event or a surprise birthday party or a couple’s trip to Greece? But as women, it is inevitable that we will go through transition in life.
Your identity often impacts your associations. But, what happens when there is a shift in your relationship status or you encounter a hard patch in your business or you exhaust yourself caring for an aging parent? Each of these can emotionally chip away at the you, you were and the sisterhood that you had hoped would sustain you may disappear because of the weight of whatever it is that you are going through in your life. Take business for instance. They say it’s lonely at the top. Female entrepreneurs understand this notion best. Often, the “wins” in life appear so glamorous but they require long nights and long days and may not leave room to take that trip to Napa. One woman may not be an ideal client for you but she may create magic with someone different and that needs to be respected instead of questioned. Some girlfriends may not understand that level of sacrifice and discipline to your business. Some may see your personal trials as “drama” or “none of their business” when in all actuality, you are sinking under the weight of being misunderstood and misrepresented when our deepest desire is to feel seen and connected.
Let’s be real. There isn’t enough chatter about the end of a friendship and to speak plainly — it hurts. You may have traveled with her, built memories together, business sometimes, celebrated birthdays, baby showers, holidays and then all of a sudden, something happens and she is no longer in your life. You feel ghosted. Rejected. Alone.
We pride ourselves in being wonderful mothers, wives, business women but, do we place the same emphasis on being a loving friend? A friend who doesn’t gossip about another woman’s business, attack her marriage or influence others to take a side that may leave someone feeling alienated and isolated. I have a girlfriend who often says, “your vibe attracts your tribe.” She has told me on several occasions that every woman in her life need not get along but, she will not participate in bashing one over the other. I used to question her loyalty in this regard until I realized that her superpower is her confidence, her tenacity, her fierce protection over those she loves.
You see there’s already an army of mean girls in every city, at every dinner and in every social circle. Bullying has become a common tactic in this space of women’s empowerment which is oxymoronic as it reeks of elitist insecurity. But, I challenge you to rise above her. I challenge you to not take the word of a jilted friend over the value that another woman has had or could have in your life. I like the saying, “what Susie says about Sally says more about Susie than Sally.” You never know the depths of despair that someone could be going through. Your desire to alienate another woman simply because it’s the “popular” opinion could be the demise of her mental health.
Friendship is a beautiful blessing when it’s at its peak. Sisterhood is such a special bond. You laugh, you cry, you share, you journey together through the highest of highs and lowest of lows. Yet, in the valley of a friendship, it can be disappointing and treacherous and cause you to recluse and isolate which isn’t what God intended. In fact, what He did intend was for us to enjoy the gift of “a friend that sticketh closer than a (might I take the liberty?), a sister.”
J. Joy Davis is the Female Founder of THE FIRM MANAGEMENT, a company with a capacity for management, creative production and brand strategy that is best suited for women who dare to live as large as they dream.
She has spent over a decade working with multi-location entrepreneurs, investors, luxury retailers and Fortune 500 companies including but, not limited to NBA, WNBA, Marriott, Michael Kors, BCBG, Max Azria, Tory Burch as well as nonprofits and charitable foundations on the Business Development, Corporate Sales and Relationship Management sides of the table. Joy has developed a keen business sense as to how to connect the right people with the right resources to move the needle in the right places.
With a love for academia and a heart for empowering young power players, she is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte where she teaches Business Communication courses for Belk College of Business. She is currently working on what she is manifesting to be her first best-seller while praying for a publisher who is AS obsessed about the plights of the high achieving woman as she is! Her greatest joy is being a mother to her teenage son, Nolan. Thus, Joy believes that while success is a powerful antidote, it is authenticity where God shines the brightest.
Follow Joy: @thefirmwins
This article was originally published in the CEOMOM Magazine Fall 2021 Issue.