Ah, the female friendship! Is there anything more beautiful or complex? So many deep rooted connections forged at adolescent sleepovers, in grimy nightclub toilet cubicles, and over office lunches. We ride this veritable shit show that is life together, celebrating victories, commiserating failures, laughing together in the good times and wiping away tears through the bad.
But aside from banging on about how amazing my friends are, I’d like to talk about something that seems to be a bit of an unacknowledged problem for ladies my age. Either nobody else has spotted it, or else nobody else wants to hold their hands up and say it (or possibly it’s all my fault and I’m a terrible influence over you all).
Why do we spend most of our time together getting pissed?
Don’t get me wrong, I love a drink. As my bezzies will testify. I’ll cheerily knock back Prosecco, G&T, rum and coke, Malbec, Guinness, IPA and anything in a Martini glass until I’m rhapsodising about politics or crying over Severus Snape’s patronus. Drinking is great.
But should it really be the cornerstone of my female friendships?
I moved to London recently, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of some great gals I’ve grown apart from, and some lovely ladies I’d virtually lost touch with (if that’s even possible in the age of social media). But so far, as much as the reunions have been fabulous, they’ve all revolved around getting boozy.
Is this all there is to adulthood? Can’t we do better than “I’ll get the next bottle” as a show of our devotion and commitment to each other? Don’t we owe it to our friends to not be the cause of their headache every morning after we see them?
Can’t we do better than “I’ll get the next bottle” as a show of our devotion and commitment to each other?
Before you go uninviting me from your engagement party or hiding the tequila as I enter the room, hear me out. I’m not saying we should stop drinking (don’t be ridiculous), all I’m saying is maybe we should devote a little more of our time spent together to other, more wholesome, pursuits?
If we value our female friendships, let’s get the most out of them.
Let’s spend some time exploring the richness of the world, learning new things, and sharing experiences together, before we wake up one groggy morning in a decade’s time and realise that our lives have become one continual hangover.
1. Get fit
A workout with a friend is a workout halved, or something like that. I read it on a fitness meme on Pinterest, so it must be true.,If you want to get in shape, make your bar buddy into a barbell buddy and start lifting weights instead of getting in states.
Whether you’re into yoga, spinning, running, skipping, badminton, hula hooping, or heavy lifting, take a mate along with you and get sweaty together. Even better, sign up for a fitness challenge, like running a 10k or doing a Tough Mudder. Then you’ll have something to work towards, and a partner to encourage you.
2. Join a society
Become a part of something bigger by joining a club or society. I’d say join the Women’s Institute, but we’re not 75 yet. So how about:
- The Socialist Party – to give your drunken political rants some extra oomph.
- An amateur dramatics society if you’re both massive drama queens.
- A choir if you both love karaoke.
- The Poetry Society or a book club if you love reading.
3. See some culture
Visit an art gallery or museum with your bezzie. There’s always something new (and free) to visit and look at, whether it’s an exhibition on war-time fashion or a display by your favourite artist. Take a mate along and you can feel really intellectual while you discuss your favourite pieces. Then, if you like, you can head to the bar after. I won’t mind.
4. Try a new hobby
Is there a wacky hobby you’ve always wanted to try, but felt too self-conscious to go along by yourself? Rope a friend in and you won’t feel so silly at that Poi class or sculpting that clay tea pot. At least if you’re both terrible you’ll have something to laugh about afterwards. And if it turns out you’re good, you’ll have someone to do synchronised fire-eating with at your next party, which pretty much guarantees you both a free drink. And if fire eating sounds too scary, then why not try an instrument like Queen Ruth has with drumming?
5. Get back to nature
Go for a walk in the park, a hike in the hills, or even just saunter along the canal. Studies have shown that spending time in green spaces is beneficial for your mental health and overall well being, so you can feel the benefits of the great outdoors while you fill your friend in on what’s happening with your life.
Since it’s summer, why don’t you go wild swimming? It’s even more refreshing than an aperol spritz.
6. Start a blog
Be like us and start a blog! Not only is a blog an opportunity to showcase your writing skills, thoughts and opinions to the world, but starting one with a mate will give your friendship a whole new dimension. You’ll find yourselves messaging each other ideas and topics for posts in the dead of night, discussing blog themes and social media when you should be doing work, and arranging photo shoots like you’re some sort of narcissistic celebrity couple.