Good morning and welcome to this week's edition of the Girlfriend Guide! This week, I am featuring one of my most special girls: Summer. Summer and I met in college, made it through nursing school together, and, when we couldn't bear the thought of separating, went to our first job together. Of all my girlfriends, Summer and I are the most alike, both coming from the same type of nuclear family and background, both raised with the same values and work ethic. We have an unspoken understanding of one another that binds us close. One day at work, we were talking about friendships and maintaining healthy relationships. I was reflecting on how much work it takes to have good friendships, how hard it can sometimes be. And she said, "I have never felt like I had to work at our relationship, it just happens. There's never been a single day where I thought of it as hard in any way". Those words stuck with me because they so clearly define our friendship. Summer currently lives in the small, Louisiana town where she was born and raised (we Southern girls tend to do that) in a house she bought, gutted, and renovated all by herself. She works as a nurse at a surgical hospital and is trying to convince me to go back to graduate school so that we can get our heads stuck in the books again. She is a genuinely kind soul and I hope that you enjoy her optimistic words!
1. What is your personal definition of friendship?
Friendship is sharing, enjoying, and struggling through life with others whom you can identify and encourage. True friends are there for you through the mountains and the valleys of life. These questions have really made me question what friendship really is and as I began to examine “friendships” in my life I had to narrow down associational and obligatory relationships and I discovered how few true friends I really have.
2. What qualities do you look for in a girlfriend?
Honesty, common goals, sense of humor, someone who challenges what you think and can give you a fresh perspective on a situation. I crave positivity and progression, strength and independence. Someone who is confident and knows who they are, but is still willing to grow and mature with me. I seek someone who is exciting, spontaneous, and thought-provoking.
3. How do you balance spending time with friends and fostering relationships with work and family?
It can be challenging, but you must make time for friends! Personally, without these times of encouragement and refueling, other relationships will suffer. It is hard in this technologically crazed world to foster meaningful relationships, but it’s all about priorities and cutting the fat.
4. What advice would you give other women about having healthy, happy friendships?
I would say to seek relationships that bring out the best in you. Cut ties with friends that use you or that you are just friends with because you’ve known them a long time or you feel obligated to be friends with them. You are wasting time on people who don’t matter!
5. How has having strong friendships enriched your life?
I do not have much family, especially any that I am close to, so my friends have always been my family. I’ve always felt that life is only as good as the people you share it with, and I have been blessed to have some very intelligent, supportive friends. Sometimes we carry each other, sometimes we cry, sometimes we don’t say a word. We celebrate and validate each other’s thoughts and situations. Friendships have enhanced my life in every way and I am so thankful each day.
6. What is your favorite girlfriend memory we have shared?
Blood sisters!! Haha, actually too many to count!! From nursing school at LC, to working at Dubuis, to pregnancy, to Jazz Fest, to New York, to Mardi Gras, to hour-long random thought sessions. No matter if we are just having a conversation at work, or traveling the world, I always have a blast with you. When I think of your friendship, I think of consistency, in all aspects. You have truly been there for me from Day 1 and have never left.
Liv, you really are the best truest friend I’ve ever had!! I love you and I would do anything for you! We will be friends for life!
Girlfriends like Summer:
Girlfriends like Summer are supportive, inspirational, and always optimistic. She inspires me to do the impossible and is always encouraging me, regardless of the situation. We can talk for hours about absolutely nothing and laugh over things only we understand. She is always up for an adventure and entertains every single one of my crazy ideas. Girlfriends like her make you feel like the impossible is always within reach, they make you see the positive side of every situation. Summer takes the hardships and struggles in her life and uses them as motivation to do greater things. Instead of making excuses, she delves deep inside herself and accomplishes whatever she sets her mind to. Her strength, courage, and compassion inspire me and have made me a better person. She is always there to listen when I need her, but doesn't discourage and feed into negativity. Instead, she helps me to strap on my wings and fly higher than before. Every woman should be so lucky as to have a friend like that. I love you, Summer Camille, to the moon and back! Here's to many more adventures, my dear sweet friend!