Celebrating sisterhood- let’s hear it for girlfriends!

My $i$tren!!! My hitta!!! I know I tell you thi$ all the time, but Money cud neva buy what you give me!! Our friend$hip will alway$ be family!”

Thus read part of the raunchy, riotous and deeply heartfelt birthday message which Barbadian superstar Rihanna posted on Instagram in tribute to her long-time best friend Melissa Forde.

The post celebrated a friendship that stretches back over a decade to their days at Combermere and has stood the test of time and mind-boggling, world-wide fame.

The two women’s enduring bond illustrates the power of female friendship, a point Rihanna referred to in her Instagram tribute when she expressed her gratitude, saying:

“I will never take for granted the day you packed … and left BIM to come hold me down, cuz God know$ I would never be able to $urvive thi$ and remain my$elf through it all!”!

Yet not every islandista feels the same as Rihanna when it comes to female friends.

In fact, the interwebs abound with memes about untrustworthiness, drama and rivalry between female friends.

Much of this sentiment is fuelled by women themselves with some going even further to defiantly proclaim they don’t have/trust female friends.

But we have to wonder – what does it say about a woman who doesn’t trust female friends when she herself is a female friend to someone out there?

Whatever happened to sisterhood? Because speaking from my own experience, female friends are incredible.

When I was in the deepest throes of teenaged tabanca, female friends let me bawl in their lap while they patted my head. And when I have been so low that I couldn’t even eat, it was a female friend who snapped “enough of this” and literally dragged me from my bed, cooked me a meal, sat in front of me and made me eat it.

When I was far from home and lost in a strange city, I called on my childhood female friend and just like that, I had somewhere warm and friendly to stay. It wasn’t even a question.

And my girls aren’t just foul weather friends.

Female friends have helped me plan my wedding and came together to meticulously plan my bridal shower and baby shower. We have watched scintillating cricket matches together, partied like lunatics and have jammed down the road together in rain or sun every year for Kadooment. We have shared joy.

My female friends have been my greatest cheerleaders, encouraging me to run for (student) office, move to new countries, apply for jobs and start businesses. They have made me strong when I doubted myself.

As I’ve grown older, a circle of female friends has helped me to grapple with the hard bits and revel in the joyous parts of being a mother, offering advice, support and listening ears.

And we laugh- how we have laughed! We have shared the best jokes – things that still make me burst out laughing even 10, 15 and 20 years later. All that is needed is for one of my friends to say a single-word punchline like “Bourne” or “Amandaaaaaaa” and we’re giggling hysterically like it’s 2003 in Kingston or 1993 at Girl Guides camp. (Long stories – you would have had to have been there!)

Our bond is enduring and while I have some great male friends, there are many situations where nothing can beat the bond of female friendship.

So let’s hear it for the girls! Because Female friendship is a wonderful thing indeed.

(This article first appeared in Islandista (Barbados) Magazine Summer 2014)

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