I have been lucky to call Dr. Lori Hart my friend for more than twenty years. We are probably the most unlikely people to have been friends. Lori and I think differently, we approach situations differently, and we just sometimes see the world differently. Our friendship is one of the greatest gifts we have been given because by being different, we have brought out some of the best qualities in one another.

Lori and I, like most women who have lifelong female friends, have been through many stages of life together. Some of the highlights of our friendship that immediately come to mind include Lori’s son Brayden being born and becoming an important person in my life, going through doctoral programs together, changes in jobs, participation in service projects together, loss of a parent, Lori’s divorce, and my coming out process. We have also traveled together, watched sunsets, laughed, supported one another, loved, and been loved. I can honestly say I love Lori. We challenge one another, we support one another, but most importantly, we are there for one another.

Recently Lori sent me a TED Talk to watch called “Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin: A hilarious celebration of lifelong female friendship”. The email simply said “Haven’t watched this yet but looks like us.”

I have watched it! It is hilarious and is like us. It is about women, and how being both supported by and supporting other women makes us stronger, healthier, and more powerful.

The moderator of the TED Talk asked several questions that I thought I might challenge us with:

1.What do you look for in a friend?
2.What do you get from your friends who are women?
3.Do you find that women friends add a spiritual aspect to your life?
4.What are the differences in women’s friendships and men’s friendships?

Jane Fonda made an amazing statement. She said, “Women’s relationships are face to face, and men’s friendships are side by side.” If this is true, then we as women need to embrace having face-to-face friends and conversations. I said recently that technology has, in some ways, messed us up as women. We still need to be able to touch someone or look into someone’s eyes to feel emotion. This is not about what men are not, this is about what and who we are as women.

Jane Fonda said, “Female friendships are a renewable form of power,” and Lily Tomlin said, “Female friendships are a hop to our sisterhood, and sisterhood can be a very powerful force to make the world what it should be, the things that humans desperately need.” How do we use our power as women?

We have to harness our power to change the world, and we need to. As we approach the celebration of Women’s History Month, whether you are 18 or 80 years old, think about the women friendships in your life. Think about how those friendships are shaping you as a person. Do they lift you up? Do they challenge you? Do they compliment you? Do they allow you to be vulnerable? Make time for the women in your life. Reach out, bring them along, and realize the importance of those relationships. We are a powerful force who can change the world and make it a better place!

Credit // Author: Dr. Mari Ann Callais


 

Having spent over 20 years working in higher education, Dr. Mari Ann Callais is a highly respected and sought after keynote speaker, researcher, and thought leader. Learn more about her fraternity & sorority life and leadership keynotes at campuspeak.com/callais.