“You are who you hang out with.”
My mom said this often when I was growing up. If I wanted to be a woman of influence, then I needed to find the friends who were living lives that I admired. Forget the ones who sought fleeting beauty and popularity. I needed to surround myself with kind, loyal and fun-loving girls.
Now as a wife, mother and career woman, I think it’s easier to define what type of friends I am looking to surround myself with. Do we have a similar life stage? Are they battling the same problems I am? Are they available and willing to put time into our friendship? But, I do think there are three type of friends every woman should have speaking into their decisions, their roles and their aspirations.
This friend is a big thinker who won’t squash your ambitions. She’ll get more enthusiastic as you brainstorm your next endeavor with her. My favorite thing about this friend is that she lets you dream without limits, allowing yourself to really believe you can do anything.
Sometimes, when I’m on the brink of a good idea, I call up my dreamer friends and let their wisdom speak truth into my ideas.
Every gal needs a friend that takes her out of her comfort zone. This woman, sometimes with some nudging, takes you to new places and challenges you to try new things. You grow through these “out of the box” experiences.
I had two of these friends in college, who decided we needed to skinny-dip in the ocean. You need to know I never get in the Pacific Ocean. It’s FREEZING. Also, I am absolutely not going to get into freezing water naked. They dragged me all the way down to the beach, where they immediately stripped down to their birthday suits and ran in. I sat on the beach for a while just pondering how I ended up with such crazy friends, but thankful for the ways they challenged my comforts.
This friend treats your thoughts like they matter. She gets to the root of the matter by asking the right questions and intentionally listens for your response. She typically reads from different sources to create a more well-rounded belief on a topic. You are a better citizen because she asks you to think about issues you may prefer to remain passive on.
Personally, this friend is harder for me to agree with because I am the opposite of an intellectual (give me the feelings). But, I need this! I need someone to expand my beliefs beyond my emotions. It’s important to have friends that grow and stretch your perspectives.
This list isn’t exhaustive. There are many “types” of women out there and lots of new friendships to be explored. The idea is to surround yourself with women who are different than you. You are who you hang out with, so make sure you are spending time with women you’d like to emulate.
Also, you probably are “that” friend to someone else. Whether you are the intellectual, the dreamer or have a different gift to share—your words and actions influence others. Remember to build up the community with your unique set of gifts.
Our communities are stronger because you are in it, dare to be someone’s _________.
Bailey T. Hurley is a community-builder, who encourages women to root themselves in their faith so they can grow fruitful fellowship. Learn more about Bailey at baileythurley.com.