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Building a Supportive Tribe: Why Women need Reliable Connections

Or- Why your "Best Friends" aren't always your "best for you" friends.

Today, let's talk about SISTERHOOD! About Friendships. About our Tribes that circle around us and laugh with us, cry with us, fight our battles with us, and celebrate with us.

Last week I underwent a hysterectomy surgery, which went mostly well, just one little hiccup that I wasn't quite prepared for, but hey, that's okay! I will heal and be back to normal soon enough!

While preparing for surgery and the days right after, I couldn't help but think so much about the amazing friends I have, that are much like family, and how we, as women, NEED these relationships. So often though the years, I have told my many students that a part of growing up and living life is knowing that something, your BEST FRIENDS you have may not be the best friends to have. For example, you take on characteristics from the people you surround yourself most with, and a part of learning who you are, is learning who should be in the close circle around you.

However, as I have aged, and moved to a new town, I have learned it takes time to make close and substantial friendships, and building your Tribe takes time! As I reflected on my many friendships, and on those whom are a part of my Sisterhood or Tribe, I have come to realize the one thing each individual has in common...and that is a deep respect for one another.

So, this week, let's explore how to build those reliable connections, and why it is important!

First, we need to understand the POWER of a supportive tribe! A supportive tribe consists of individuals who genuinely care about your well-being, provide emotional support, and uplift you. These people celebrate your successes, offer a shoulder to lean on during tough times, and inspire personal growth. When building a tribe of sisters such as these, your enhance your overall happiness and fulfillment in life.

Which means you also have to recognize who the toxic people are in your life. Sadly, there are times we feel a close friends truly loves up and wants what is best, yet when we open our eyes to see the constant criticism, lack of empathy, or feeling drained after spending time with them, it is healthy to realize this is not someone who deserves your time. True friendship should always be based on trust. respect, and mutual support.

Along these lines, we need to next RECGONIZE the Flakey Friends. If you are either my sister or my friend from Camp Cispus days from long ago, you'll remember the camp skit "It's the Flakes in the Raisin Bran that make it taste so good! No, No, No...It's the RAISINS in the Raisin Bran that make it taste so good!" Why did I bring up that skit? Number one, because I always thought it was funny! Number 2, because it makes me LITERALLY think of FLAKES. And to me, its the raisins that make Raisin bran taste good, otherwise your cereal is just another bowl of flakes!!! And you don't want your tribe to be a bowl of flakes, or friends that consistently cancel or change plans, fail to show up when you need them, and are generally unreliable. They prioritize their needs over what you and them already had planned. Or perhaps they are the friends that is flakey because if something better or more fun comes up, they drop you or give you their less than 50%. I know several friends like that. And while they may mean well, they may not be mature enough to be a part of your tribe, or have the capacity to understand what true friendship is. It's okay, you just know as you learn to build your Tribe, these are not ones to trust in that inner circle.

Next, let's talk about QUALITY over QUANITY. When I was younger, in college, I loved that everyone seemed to know me. Key word there though, SEEMED. Looking back, I really only had three people who KNEW me in college. One of those three was my sister, Coach Francie! (So obviously she knew me well, and was also my roommate for a time in college.) As I have aged, I realize how priceless the quality of the friendships I have. Have a large circle of friends does not equate to a strong support system. A few trustworthy friends who consistently show up and offer real and genuine support are far more valuable that a larger group of flakey friends.

Then, in these key friendships, we need to honor TRUST and RELIABILITY. Trust is the foundation of any meaningful relationship, and this is certainly true in your "sisters" or Tribe. Reliable friends are trustworthy, dependable, and most importantly, can be counted on when you need them most. They respect your time, commitments, and are willing to invest in the friendship. They do not make promises they do not keep and they do not communicate by with holding information are forcing you to do ask all the questions. Put your time and energy to these friendships that demonstrate integrity and reliability.

A supportive tribe is built on MUTUAL SUPPORT. Seek out friends how not only receive support but also offer it willingly. A balanced give-and-take dynamic allows everyone in tribe to feel valued and appreciated. True friends will be there to lift you up and cheer you on, just as you do for them. Understanding that there are times you may feel you need a lot of lifting up, or vice versa where your friends need a lot of extra love and support. Every one journeys through valleys and onto mountain tops throughout life, and recognizing that for one another and being there for all phases life throws shows beautiful mutual support!

While women need a tribe to lean on, it is important to prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to friendships. Flakey friends can leave your feeling soggy, (unsupported and disheartened.) Focus on building up those friendships that are there through the thick and the thin. With supportive friends, you can all face lives challenges with confidence and resilience.

Years ago, one of my friends named Tara, explained to me that everyone comes into your life for "a reason, a season, or a lifetime." I have very often thought about this. Every person that has been through my life have either been friends for a reason. Some have been in my life for a season of life. And very few are lifetime. And that is what we want to find and build upon. Those lifetime people who will grow with you and go with you through life, no matter what comes your way.

Watch for my future blog on the "Importance of Close Female Friendships as we Age", where I will be talking about the positive impact friendships have as we become older. It will be a more personal blog, where I will highlight the wonderful friendships in my life what what I have learned from "girl trips", my personal tribe, and how life changes.

Thank you for reading today! Let me know about the sisterhoods, tribes, or friendships that have impacted your life! And as always, share this blog with a friend, subscribe, or just send me a little hello!


Coach Stoney

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