The hardest thing about being a woman is having female friends.
It’s also the best thing. But women are busy. Sometimes, women move far away. And have babies. And are in different life stages than their friends.
Women have long conversations and need to convey an enormous amount of information on a vast number of topics.
I’ve struggled with this in my own life. I hate the phone and so do most of my friends. Some of them live in different states, different time zones, different countries. Some of them live in the country.
Some of them are living very different lives to me. With small children or no children.
Female friendship is the foundation that underpins my life, my happiness and my sense of well being. It is not a side issue in my life, it's the main course along with my kids, marriage and career.
And here is something I discovered a while ago. The key to maintaining close relationships is frequency of communication. It's the little things that keep you close. The regular contact. Talking about something funny you read or a show you watched or venting about something annoying your partner/child/boss/co-worker did.
I have girlfriends who are incredibly dear to me who I don't see from month to month. Or even year to year if they live overseas. Email feels too clunky. Phone calls are impractical (also just: ick). And meeting up IRL is often just not possible.
Listen: The app Mia Freedman swears by. Post continues after audio.
Thank you whatsapp. You're the app that has opened up my friendships. Given my girlfriends back to me in the best possible way.
Whatsapp is bascially a chatting app. If you are under 25 you will be rolling your eyes at me right now. I see you rolling. Millennials used Whatsapp about five years ago. Probably it was cool back then.
Now they use facebook messenger for the same thing. They've moved on. And the old people have taken to Whatsapp with the zeal of the newly converted.
Because we are old, we did lunch at Harvest on NYE instead of dinner. I was hot and pre menstrual but these guys are like family to us and this time of year together is our favourite. @jemma_lucia @elpy1212 @joshua_renshaw @juan_renshaw @jessa.renshaw @tobyrenshaw @kcarewreid @jlavigne2 @mynameisjaredtoo_official
I can't explain why I love it so much more than FB messenger which I rarely use. In fact, Facebook owns Whatsapp (and Instagram), did you know that?
But it's infinitely better than group texts because someone always has an Android and screws everything up. And it doesn't work well for friends who are overseas. And forget about email. Pah.
Whatsapp somehow feels......quarantined from everything else on my phone and in my life. It feels casual. Less formal than a text. More disposable and easy. I have so many different configurations of Whatsapp groups. For different groups of friends, for individuals, for different configurations of my family, for talking about specific TV programs.......I think what I love about it is how separate it is from work. From spam. From obligations and things I have to do.
The frequency and casual way I can now chat with my girlfriends has transformed and deepened and reconnected so many friendships with incredible women I just don't get to see nearly enough.
As I type this, I'm about to go out for a farewell dinner with one of my closest friends who is selfishly moving overseas. Can you believe that? I can't. But our Whatsapp game has always been exceptionally strong and so I'm less bereft than I otherwise might be. I know we will remain in contact despite different time zones and despite the fact we might not see each other in person again for......well, who knows.
We'll always have Whatsapp, which for me, has become far and away the most-used, most-loved and most effective tool for strengthening and maintaining my friendships. See you on my phone.