The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross

Mirrors of the Soul

The depth of friendship--how much it means to us .. depends, at least in part, upon how many parts of ourselves a friend sees, shares and validates.

--Lillian Rubin

 Our mothers told us that we should wait for the right man to come along. But few told us that we may have to wait for the right women friends as well. How do we recognize these women? What is the common characteristic that distinguishes our closest and best friends from our acquaintances? The answer seems to be, in part, that they mirror who we are.

 For example, Katherine counted off the adjectives that best describe her girlfriends: "Honest, loyal, nonjudgmental, have a sense of humor, smart, and function from the heart, instead of being calculating." Katherine didn't realize that she had just described herself! Like Katherine, we all may have a difficult time acknowledging that we possess those valuable qualities we admire in our friends.

 We asked Muriel how she knows when an acquaintance might become a close friend. She replied, "That's a little bit mysterious. I try to discern if she is trustworthy. Also, I see whether we seem to perceive each other in a way that's comfortable to each other. I think when you chronically misperceive someone or they chronically misperceive you, that's usually something that you almost can't get around. You can't get really close."

 Intuition can play a part in recognizing a girlfriend, as Gloria told us. "Twice, I've had a strong feeling that someone would be a close friend before I actually met her or spoke with her in person. Both times I had seen her in a class or meeting and may have heard her speak but had had no personal contact. Both times that person became a very close friend."

 It can be exiting to find someone similar to ourselves. We feel like we've found a long-lost friend even though we've only just met. Some women described such an immediate bond as a connection meant to be. Perhaps we call out to one another from the deepest parts of ourselves for an intimacy that is possible ... only between women of like souls and minds.

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