Friends make every day better

Celebrating Girlfriends – September International Women’s Friendship Month

Every single day, our friends make our lives better. Every. Single. Day.

So, in honor of the relationship that makes women healthier, happier, less stressed, live longer and feel more beautiful – we’re celebrating ‘Girlfriendship’ in September for International Women’s Friendship Month.

Friends make every day better

It’s several weeks away but we’re busy planning things for September here at Girlfriendology. We’d love your involvement and help in celebrating female friendship. How can you help, get involved? We’re glad you asked!

Coming in September on Girlfriendology:

Girlfriend story true friendship

Do you have a Girlfriend like this? | Your Girlfriend Story #1

Girlfriend story true friendshipThere is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship. – Thomas Aquinas

We all have a Girlfriend Story that deserves to be told. When a friend was there for you, inspired, supported, cracked you up (when you really needed it). A friend who has inspired you by her bravery, kindness, strength. A sister-friend, or a sister who’s your BFF.

What’s YOUR girlfriend story? When I asked my amazing friend Judi (who also helps make Girlfriendology so awesome!) to make sure our ‘Your Girlfriend Story’ form worked, she replied with her girlfriend story …

I have lots of girlfriends, made during all different ages and stages of my life so far. But the girlfriend I’ve grown up with, shared everything with, and who feels like the most comfortable pair of worn-out jeans and squeeziest bear hug and funniest joke you’ve ever heard all wrapped up in one amazing person — that’s the story I want to tell you.

Her name is ANDREA. We started going to the same school in the fourth grade, even rode the same bus. Our friendship didn’t really begin until sixth grade, when we were in the same study hall together. I’m not sure how much actual studying occurred during this period, but I can tell you there was a lot of me trying my hardest to crack her up. (And usually succeeding.) Andrea became my best audience. She laughed at all my jokes, just a constant flow of knowing giggles at my preteen hilarity. I was hooked on this new best friend.

Junior High could be summarized for me as mostly pubescent trudgery, sprinkled with more than a few bright spots of fun, friendship and growing up. I’d argue that nearly all of those bright spots involved Andrea in some way. We were constant companions, in school and at home. When high school showed up on the horizon, her parents really kind of wanted her to attend a private Catholic high school, but there was no way I would let that happen. I mean, hello?! We didn’t have texting or mobile phones or Internet back then. So being apart from my BFF every day, incommunicado, would be absolute torture. Somehow, we convinced her folks (who were probably sick of me hanging around their house all the time) to let Andrea attend the local public high school. Victory! High school happened. We got through many of its ups and downs together. Andrea still laughing at my jokes, telling me I was not fat when I sank into sadness over my not-exactly-cheerleader physique, watching Ferris Bueller and Say Anything on the VHS in her parents’ basement, unnaturally obsessing over the Beach Boys just about three decades after their heyday.

Driving a car, falling in love, prom, graduation, summer camps and jobs, whatever we went through, it happened together. long time to grow an old friend quote

You just don’t make friends like that as an adult. Something about going through the tumultuous, difficult process of growing up together bonds you to a friend in a way that can’t be replicated once you’re fully in your adult form.

We emerged from our high school bubble in midwestern suburbia, heading off our separate ways to college. After eight years of being physically together nearly always, it literally hurt my heart to be so far from my best friend. Andrea attended school all the way down in North Carolina while I stayed closer to home in Ohio. We mailed each other long letters (back when people still did that), as well as took advantage of this newfangled thing called “email” and “online chat” in the school computer labs, to stay in touch.

And remember when you had to pay by the minute for long-distance phone calls? Let’s just say our phone bills were significantly higher than whatever money we spent on pizza or beer. One magical semester in college, Andrea temporarily transferred to my school so we could study abroad together. For those four months, we lived in the same house owned by a grouchy but mostly decent old lady in Luxembourg, along with another mutual childhood friend who went to my school, Erica. We traveled all over western Europe, did as little actual school work as we could get away with, and lived the dream of 19 year olds who were free to explore the world. What a gift.

Never again have Andrea and I had so much concentrated time together. After that, we only got a week or a handful of days, even hours, to hang out. She would visit me, or I her, and we simply had to make it be “enough.” From age 21 until now, Andrea and I have remained the closest of friends through so many life events and changes.

We both moved to different places—sadly always far apart, got married, had children, worked in various jobs and professions, made new friends. Andrea lost her mom to cancer a few years ago, which of course was devastating to her (and me, as well, since her mom was also a good friend and a second mother to me).

I’ve tried to step up as a friend since then, filling in some of the gaps left in Andrea’s heart now that her mom isn’t here anymore. Whenever we get together, for however much time we have, inevitably it feels like we just picked up where we left off.

A level and depth of comfort, understanding and mutual affection that I don’t experience with anyone else in the world.

I wish every person could have a friendship like the one Andrea and I share. It’s truly been one of my favorite life experiences. I look forward to seeing how our friendship plays out as we raise our children and grow old. Maybe we’ll live next door at the old folks’ home some day. ;)

Thanks Judi for sharing! You’re the BEST! (and I’m sure Andrea feels the same about you!)

You can catch more of Judi’s wit and wisdom over at her blog DearKidLoveMom.com – go visit her there! (Especially if you’re a mom of a kid going off to college – share it with those girlfriends too.)

What’s YOUR Girlfriend Story?

We want to share Your Girlfriend Story on Girlfriendology to inspire, amuse, and help other women.

Let us share your story. We’ll let you know when it goes live so you can share with your girlfriends. We’ll share your bio (with up to three personal links) and photos. You’ll inspire women and friendship. Isn’t that pretty awesome?!

BIRTHDAY BONUS: Write about your friendship with your BFF and we’ll post it on her birthday! Give us at least two weeks notice, tell us the date and include a photo of you/her – that she’d give permission to share.

PLUS … This week on Girlfriendology:

Your Girlfriend Story

What’s YOUR GIRLFRIEND STORY? We’d love to share it!

Your Girlfriend Story

A Good Friend knows all your stories. A Best Friend has lived them with you. Unknown

We all have a Girlfriend Story that needs to be told. When a friend was there for you, inspired, supported, cracked you up (when you really needed it). A friend who has inspired you by her bravery, kindness, strength. A sister-friend, or a sister who’s your BFF. We want to share Your Girlfriend Story on Girlfriendology to inspire, amuse, and help other women.

We’d love to share your story on Girlfriendology. We’ll let you know when it goes live so you can share with your girlfriends. We’ll share your bio (with up to three personal links) and photos. You’ll inspire women and friendship. Isn’t that pretty awesome?!

It’s easy. Just go to this form and share Your Girlfriend Story.

Thanks Girlfriend! Have a fun, friend-filled day!

P.S. Every woman I talk to about Girlfriendology has a Girlfriend Story that she loves to tell. Please share this with your girlfriends. Maybe they’ll write about you! :)

Robin Williams quote

Out of the Darkness | Friendship, Your Verse & Robin Williams

Robin Williams quoteWhat’s your favorite Robin Williams movie or character? No doubt you probably have one. Laura mentioned on Facebook that ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ is one of her favorites. Others commented in tribute to Mork, with a solemn ‘Nanu Nanu.’ Some can even quote from the profound speech by Walt Whitman on ‘Dead Poets Society‘ (video below):

O me! O life! … of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless … of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

Depression and suicide is the initial report. Sadly, so many of us deal with this sickness and/or the sadness that a life taken too soon brings to those who loved them.

As a friend, just an unskilled, non-trained, liberal arts major with a few decades of life under her belt, I hope we are there for our friends who experience depression, sadness, who lose friends or family to suicide. As a girlfriend, I hope we tend to the needs of the wonderful world of people who contribute a verse to our lives and joy.

Helen Keller quoteWhen in doubt, when in sadness or stress, when afraid, ashamed, lost or confused, I hope we have friends to turn to who anchor us and give medicinal hugs that hold us tight until we’re back on our feet. As Helen Keller wisely said: Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.

Life is short dear friends. Too short. We do get to ‘contribute a verse.’ Not only to the universe, but in each others’ ‘powerful plays.’ We get to be there for a friend in the light or the darkness.

That’s why we encourage friendship. That relationship is too important to not warrant a blog like Girlfriendology, or to inspire each other to be better friends. Make your verse one of love, support and friendship.

Peace, love and hugs. And rest in peace Robin Williams.

—- This week on Girlfriendology: —

More on Friendship & Depression:

Distance means so little when friendship means so much

The Power of Digital Friendships by Guest Blogger Kathleen Ventura

Who wouldn’t want to travel the world, right? But what about leaving your friends behind?

Distance means so little when friendship means so muchThat would be tough. Guest Blogger KATHLEEN VENTURA shares her friendship lessons on maintaining those friendships, even when you’re a world away because … Distance means so little when friendship means so much. (Unknown)

About two years ago I made a decision that would change my life and all of the relationships in it for forever. My husband and I decided to save our money, sell everything we owned, quit our jobs and travel the world.

This meant that all of my girlfriend relationships were about to be turned upside-down. Not only was I physically moving away from them, I was about to lead a life very few of them 1) understood, 2) could relate to, or 3) supported. Like any major change in the journey of life, some friendships stay with us and some have run their course. That is the beauty of friendships, right?

Many women deal with the challenges of moving away and redefining relationships. Finding a balance in talking on the phone more and planning out the occasional visits to see each other. There are also challenges when making new friends as an adult in new places. My situation was that I wasn’t going to be near anyone for occasional visits and I wasn’t exactly going to a new place with a community for making girlfriends.

Additionally, not only did I have to deal with changing friendships, I had to realize how badly I needed girlfriends that ”got me” on this new path I had chosen as a nomad. It was tough to converse with my girlfriends back home about most parts of my new lifestyle: being exhausted from flying so often, running a business remotely, and spending 24/7 with my husband every single day.

Thankfully, early on this journey of perpetual travel as a real-life nomad I found friends online! Digital friends, if you will. Until this point I had never actually “met” someone online and forged any kind of relationship at all. But, I began to encounter other couples our age living just like us, and we could all relate well to each other.

The first girlfriend I made this way is someone I would actually consider to be one of my best friends. But, we have never met in person. Ever! She and I talk online every single day, and she is like family to me. I have never hugged her or shared a meal with her, but she has been my rock for over a year now.

When work is draining, language barriers are frustrating, and immigration officers are grumpy, we vent to each other since we are doing the same things. And, when we have major professional successes, learn to love a new country, and land our dream house-sitting assignment, we are there celebrating with each other! Helping promote each other’s businesses, cheering each other on. We have cried together, shared personal stories, and laughed about fun cultural differences.  We can come to each other when we find it frustrating to stay fit on the road and find healthy food. We come to each other when the husbands are driving us insane. We come to each other with just about anything all girlfriends come to each other for.

Every single day, regardless of the time-zone differences I know if I turn on my computer she will be there to lend an ear and understand me in ways most of my friends can’t.

This relationship was just the first and strongest of all of my digital friends, but I also have a close circle of other girlfriends in the online world that I love. Most of us are from different countries and all different ages, but the support we give each other when we don’t have the luxury of good girlfriends being with us in person is invaluable.

I’m fortunate to have my hubby with me as I move around, but really, husbands aren’t the same as girlfriends. We all have it in our nature to want to have girlfriends in our life; to have that female energy, love, and connection. To talk fast when we are excited, share victories with enthusiasm, and giggle about the latest Ellen episode.

One of the coolest parts of my life is the relationship I have with my digital girlfriends. I trust them with my life, and practice gratitude for the gift of their friendship always. My digital bestie and I are actually planning a trip together next year to celebrate her 40th and my 30th birthday and meet for the first time!  It will be an emotional celebration and I can’t wait!

Have you ever created an unexpected bond with someone you’ve never met?  Do you think having digital friends is odd or surprisingly normal these days?

Kathleen Ventura, traveling as a lifestyle, keeping up with girlfriends digitally, digital girlfriendsKATHLEEN VENTURA is a life coach and nomadic traveler. She believes in living with intention and purpose, and that your dream life starts when you have the courage to pursue it. As a life coach, she helps women who feel stuck create outstanding lives for themselves. Sign up for her newsletter .

Do you have DIGITAL GIRLFRIENDS? How have you met? Bonded? Shared life? Share below in the comments.

And, if you’d like to be a guest blogger, check out this info on how to guest blog on Girlfriendology.

Happy Accidents

Happiness: Do the Math | Our Happiness Journey (JOIN US!)

Are you HAPPY girlfriend? Are your friends?

As a friend, I want you to be happy. Your happiness matters – it’s impacts your health, your attitude, your … well … HAPPINESS. This year on Girlfriendology we’re going on a HAPPINESS JOURNAL. This week, it comes down to a formula. Well, kinda …

“…in my opinion, all things in nature occur mathematically.”

                                                                      Rene Descartes

The recent headline reads: Researchers accurately predict people’s happiness.

The article went on to detail how researchers at University College London created an equation that could accurately predict happiness. The research involved over 18,000 people. Predict happiness with math? How easy is that?

So brush off your math skills and have at it:

happiness equationOr not.

In the research project, based on some initial findings, a Smartphone app was developed to engage participants in the larger study on the predictive nature of happiness. It was named The Great Brain Experiment, and yes, it’s still up and running in case you’d care to participate in the study.

Happy AccidentsThe Big Ah-Ha! Of the research was that while reward played a big part in the measure of people’s happiness, it was actually expectation that was the big driver of happiness. The study discovered that it didn’t matter so much to happiness if things were going well; it mattered if they were going better than expected.

You may have heard that you will be happier if your expectations are lower. In fact, Dr. Bob Rutledge who was the senior research associate on the project, stated: “We find that there is some truth to this: Lower expectations make it more likely that an outcome will exceed those expectations and have a positive impact on happiness.”

I should quickly note that this is not an endorsement for systematically lowering your life’s expectations to be happier. Rather, it’s more of a cautionary tale for a lot of the little things that can adversely affect our happiness moment by moment throughout the day. A quick example: if you go to the drive through expecting a quick trip on your lunch break and find a line of cars, your happiness is adversely affected because of your expectation. Expectation is almost always at odds with acceptance of circumstances you have no control over. What you can control is your attitude.

I am a huge fan of what I term “happy accidents,” something good and unexpected that happens to exceed my expectations. Now I know that there’s a mathematical predictor of that happiness. Still, it is not a predictor of the event itself. So I, for one, will continue to go through life with great expectations – maybe just a bit more mindful that when those expectations aren’t fully met it does not have to adversely affect my happiness. Like the unavoidable impact of mathematics, it’s all just part of life girlfriends.

We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” Bob Ross :)

Here’s hoping your day is happy (and friend-filled)! BE HAPPY GIRLFRIEND! (And share with a friend who you’d like to see have a happier day too!)

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Treat yourself with love and compassion

5 Tips to Treat Yourself with Love and Compassion | Advice from Girlfriend Claudia Petrilli

Treat yourself with love and compassionLove and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. – Dalai Lama

Thanks guest blogger CLAUDIA PETRILLI for these 5 Tips to Treat Yourself with Love and Compassion.

I used to be the queen of negative self-talk: I loathe my thighs, I’m too short, I don’t make enough money. I should be more successful at my age. These are just a few phrases I’d feed myself daily. In a culture of social media, thigh gap books, and millionaire entrepreneurs, it’s no wonder we criticize ourselves for not having it all.

But what does it mean to have it all? Is it having the perfect job, slim thighs, or the beautiful home? Having it all is however you define it – whatever works for you and your life. Here are my five tips to eliminate negative self-talk, avoid comparing yourself with others, and how to be happy with where you are in life.

Tip 1: Stop those negative thoughts dead in their tracks. I know—easier said than done. But I’d like you to challenge yourself next time a negative thought about yourself creeps up. Instead of focusing on your flaws, find something positive about them or come up with an action step. Some examples:

Negative thought: I‘m underutilized at my job.
Positive thought: My job is a temporary steppingstone and I learn from all of my experiences.

Negative thought: My arms are flabby.
Action step: I can introduce strength training to my workouts to tone up.

Tip 2: Treat yourself as you would your best friend. Do you criticize your friend or call her names? I’m going to assume you don’t. You love her, support her, and are there for her unconditionally. Pretend you are that friend and speak to yourself with kindness. Some examples:

At the end of a long workday, look in the mirror and say: You did a great job in that meeting today!

Did you skip a workout? Instead of punishing yourself, say: It’s OK that you skipped your workout today—just make time for one tomorrow!

Tip 3: Make time for self-care. Go to bed early, take a warm bubble bath, read a romantic novel. Take time away from work, kids, your significant other and make time for YOU. Some of my favorite self-care activities are reading outside during my lunch break, self-massage with lavender oil, and yoga.

Tip 4: Start a gratitude journal. When you realize how blessed you are, some of the things you worry about start to seem insignificant. Do you have a roof over your head? Clothes on your back? Someone who cares about you? What are you grateful for? Whether it’s something as simple as your morning cup of coffee or your evening jog, write it down daily in a journal. You’ll be surprised to see all of the ways you are blessed.

Tip 5: Nurture your body and soul. Eat real food such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, lean meats, and water. Limit things that don’t love your body back like sugar, fried foods, soda, and alcohol. I’m not saying not to indulge in ice cream or a margarita on occasion, but these should be special treats. Feed your body with the nutrients it needs to perform optimally. Do things you love, surround yourself with positive people, and remember, you aren’t perfect and that’s perfectly OK.

Now stop that negative self-talk, follow these tips, and share this post with your girlfriends!

5 ways to take care of yourself, advice for GirlfriendsCLAUDIA PETRILLI, Certified Health Coach, teaches busy bees healthy cooking tips, better diet and lifestyle habits, and ways to manage stress. As a graduate of Institute for Integrative Nutrition and certified through The American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP), Claudia offers one-on-one coaching, workshops, cleanses, and more. Visit www.behealthyhappywhole.com for more information or contact Claudia at info@behealthyhappywhole.com to set up an initial consultation.

For more great girlfriend advice, see …

Do You have a Gratitude Journal? #ThankfulThurs

 

Happiness is a voluntary thing

Happiness is a Voluntary Thing | Our Happiness Journey continues …

Happiness is a voluntary thingWe cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.” – Ben Sweetland

We all follow different paths to our own happiness. Scientifically speaking – and I am all about the science. Hello. Girlfriendology – when we do good things for others it positively affects the part of out brain that releases those wonderful endorphins that create the mini-euphoria connected with happiness. Studies have even shown that giving our money away makes us feel as good as spending it on ourselves.

There are a lot of ways we can give away what we’ve got that will make us happy. The simplest, easiest, and least expensive, is to give away our time and talents. I’m talking about volunteering, and it’s absolutely FREE!

Beyond being free, when you decide to volunteer, you have complete control over what and how often you give. It can be a one time shot, like volunteering to pass out water for a local charity race, or something you do a on a more regular basis, like tutoring students at a local school. Whatever you do, you’ll be a positive influence on other people’s happiness, you’ll probably meet some cool people, make some new friends, and oh yeah, it makes you happy.

Here are a few things to think about to get you started. How much time do you have to give? How often? What can you do – what are your talents? What would you like to learn? Here’s a big one: what do you like to do?

While stepping out of your comfort zone a bit is always a good idea, volunteering becomes more regular when you find something that fits your talents and personality.

Here are just a few of the usual volunteer opportunities that people tend toward:

Humane Society or other animal rescue organization– these are often completely staffed by volunteers

• Church – never a shortage of volunteer opportunities to serve the church, community or world

• Schools – if you can do the math, or read a book, or explain the relationship of protons to electrons, you could be a great tutor

• Community Centers – communities thrive on volunteerism to serve local people – from children to the elderly – in a variety of ways

• Athletic Events – There’s hardly a weekend that goes by where there isn’t some fund-raising athletic event going on. Always a great, fun way to volunteer your time.

Habitat for Humanity – if you can swing a hammer, handle a paint brush, or do siding, Habitat is a great way to meet people, learn some building skills and really see the fruits of your labor. (I have this to thank for my sheetrock and even electrical skills!)

In choosing a volunteer activity, try to make it easy on yourself. You don’t need to volunteer with the idea that you’re going to solve world hunger. But you’ll find there is always a group or organization in need of another pair of hands and a willing heart.

Finally, I’m going to give a personal plug for volunteering to give blood. It’s a pretty simple process that only takes about an hour once every few months, is nearly painless (little more than a pin prick) and leaves you with an amazing feeling for having given something so personal that someone else might live. I recently received my five-gallon pin, and that made me happy!

We’ve all got something to give, to share, and to make ourselves and others happier in the process. Remember that you can get as much good feeling out of volunteering as the people you are giving your time and talent to. So light someone else’s path and you’ll find that path is a straight line to your happiness.

Be HAPPY Girlfriend!

For more on Volunteering:

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Finding my voice

10 Lessons from BlogHer (or what you learn from thousands of Blogging BFFs & Khloe Kardashian)

Finding my voiceFinding my voice, continuing to put my voice out there — whether I get a comment on that post that gives me the goose bumps or not, I’m still a success. I don’t need to charge the 200. I don’t need it to be re-Tweeted 87 times. I just needed to say it and I just needed to press publish, and that to me is sometimes all the success I need.
Jenna Hatfield, Unmarketing Manifesto (from BlogHer 2013)

There’s something incredibly powerful about being with thousands of like-minded women who have passion for their work, amazing creativity and voices that won’t be quieted. You don’t walk away from that kind of energy without an impact, inspiration and some wonderful friendships.

This year celebrated the 10th year for BlogHer (my 7th). As they describe it: “Thousands of attendees, including community leaders from the new women’s web and more than one hundred sponsoring brands representing every consumer vertical, will converge in San Jose for three days of networking, cutting edge conversation, and a “selfiebration” of social technology.”

Over the 10 years, countless women (and men, everyone is welcome) have learned together, helped each other and bonded at an unique and amazing event. Here are my 10 Lessons for the 10th Anniversary of BlogHer (& a BONUS):

1. We all have a VOICE – In the blogosphere of millions of websites and blogs, it’s easy to feel a little lost. This crowd has embraced sharing their voice and finding a community built on authenticity and passion. The power of a large group of women who embrace their voices makes it pretty hard to leave feeling anything but super excited about getting home to continue sharing your voice on your blog.

2. Do what you LOVE – This message resounded from multiple speakers and sessions. From those on panels to keynotes like the fabulous Arianna Huffington. (She rocked it! She is so smart, savvy, sassy and completely owned the stage even with Guy Kawasaki trying to interview her!) It’s worth repeating – Do what YOU LOVE. Be happy girlfriends!

Debba and Khloe Kardashian3. LEARN from Each Other -You know things I don’t and vice versa. In sessions and panels, at tables over breakfast, at the parties, in the line for the bathroom – women were sharing and learning from each other. As smart as you are, the woman next to you knows things you don’t. It was a great exercise in learning from other women. (And I’ll share what I learned from Khloe Kardashian later this week! She was really sweet!)

4. Don’t take Yourself so Seriously – We danced like FOOLS on the last night! (Thanks Jen for being my fun new BFF!!!) We ate Happy Meals (thanks McDonald’s for the #McDBlogHer treats!). We shared laughs and stories and business cards. BlogHer (and being with girlfriends) is always a great opportunity to just enjoy the company of women and the silliness of girlfriends.

5. Be OPEN to New Ideas, New Friendships – When women have voices, we have more opportunities to connect or even to be surprised by what we’ll say. Being in a sea of estrogen (with voices – and often LOUD voices) can be overwhelming. BlogHer was a great gathering conducive for new ideas and new friendships. And a reminder that we need to be open to new ideas and new friendships in normal everyday life too.

6. Look Back & Look Forward – In honor of the 10 anniversary (which is at least 100 in internet years!), BlogHer created “10×10″ – A 10 minute look back at the past 10 years. A variety of bloggers shared their stories of how the internet and the blogosphere have changed over the past decade and how it has changed their lives. How has it impacted your life? Share that below and with your friends! It’s a great opportunity to reflect and look forward!

7. It’s all about the SHOES – I work from home – usually bare-footed, in socks or the occasional sneaker. A couple days in un-comfy shoes, walking miles of convention center (usually) hard floors, can take a toll on your tootsies! Khloe Kardashian was beautiful and knows how to rock shoes! (Fortunately I wore my killer silver wedges for our photo opp!) We even bonded over shoes!

8. Make a Difference – Make people laugh, cry, learn or inspire them to be a better friend. (Seriously, that’s what they said!) ;) As bloggers, we have the opportunity to impact a person’s day … to make them smile or cry, to teach them something that can change their attitude or life. As bloggers, as influencers, as women – we get to make a difference and we should never take that for granted. It’s a blessing to have a voice. BlogHer inspired me and so many others to use it to make a difference.

9. Be Bold – Sit at a table where you don’t know anyone. Talk to a woman on the escalator to see if it is her first time to attend (there were lots of newbies). Attending solo this year (without my coworkers and sometimes conference roommates) required me to boldly start conversations, to be an extrovert (or at least pretend to be). It was a good reminder to me, that I can do those things; that I don’t have to always rely on having a reliable friend by my side. And the results were AWESOME. I started a conversation with Jen that lead to a hilarious, wonderful night at the closing party and to a friendship and possibly an opportunity to work together. Just from a little bit of boldness.

10. If in doubt, Wear Waterproof Makeup – By far my favorite part of  BlogHer is the “Voices of the Year” event where bloggers submit their best writing and 12 of the 100 selected, get to read them aloud to the ballroom of bloggers. From honest confessions of suicidal struggles to telling your black child how the world may treat him because of his color, from losing a beloved fiance to hilarious accounts of normal family life – the voices are real and bold and inspired everyone to live life to the fullest.

BONUS … 11. The BEST Thing about BlogHer? – The savvy, smart, sharing women who are doing nothing-less-than amazing things. Women like Elisa Bauer, publisher of SimplyRecipes.com (who shared her journey through Chronic fatigue syndrome to building one of the largest recipe sites on the web); the Crafty Chica herself – Kathy Cano-Murillo, who shared her creative genius and beautiful smile; Stephanie Manley, founder of CopyKat.com; Dana Rudolph, founder/publisher of Mombian.com; and my dancing ‘fool’ BFF Jen Winchester from All’asta (cool company/parties/products!), and so, SO many more! Seeing my girlfriends Jyl, Brandi, Amy, Sami, Susan, and more – hugs that I treasure! I recommend spending time with inspiring women any time you can!

Thanks to girlfriends Elisa, Lisa and Jory – the founders of BlogHer, for starting this community of women bloggers and for bringing us together. There is so much power in the community of women and this conference has celebrated it in style for 10 years. Congrats BlogHer!

Friendship at work

Friendships at Work | Career Advice from Girlfriend Christine Maddox

Friendship at workLet the beauty of what you love be what you do. – Rumi

Do you work with one or more of your fab friends? Do you wish you could figure out a way to work with those women who are so important in your life? We want to know all about how you handle the work/friend relationship. What challenges have you run into? What tips do you have for all our girlfriends who might be in the same situation? You can put your thoughts in the comments below (I really do read them!).

Guest blogger and girlfriend CHRISTINE MADDOX shares some great advice about how to balance being professional with enjoying your friendship – something that’s not always easy or obvious.

Having girlfriends at work is a huge blessing. They can be someone to rely on, laugh with, and talk to during the long hours. However keeping work friendships alive can be harder than you would think. Here are some tips to be a good girlfriend coworker:

Keep Secrets – The most important part of friendships at work is keeping secrets. The boss and your other coworkers do not need to know what you talked about when you were both slightly tipsy this weekend. They also do not need to hear about your past exploits if you, for example, went to the same college together. Keeping secrets is the first step in being a good girlfriend coworker.

Work at Work – Many workplaces have different rules about how much ‘chatting’ is okay in the work place. However you should respect your coworker’s time and keep yourself from talking too much about topics unrelated to work. Although it can be fun to plan the next party or dish about the latest Facebook post, you should save it for breaks or lunch time and keep your mind on your work.

Share – One big thing that comes up when you have a friend at work is that other coworkers can feel excluded. Instead of making your friend your only work contact, make sure you allow yourself and your friend time to connect and make friends with your other coworkers and even your boss.

Keep it Professional – All friendships have rough spots, times when you are arguing or not getting along. However you should work to keep any animosity out of the workplace. This is not the time to bring up what they did wrong or have a fight in the middle of the office. Instead keep calm and stay professional. Work out your issues outside of the workplace and in private.

Make Time Outside of Work – A trap that many girlfriend coworkers fall into is seeing too much of each other at work. They think that spending time talking about work stuff is going to make their friendship last. However if you do not make plans outside of work then your friendship can’t grow.

These are just a few of the ways that you can be a great girlfriend coworker. Remember to stay professional in the workplace and make time to reconnect outside of work. Only then can you form long, lasting, and healthy friendships.

CHRISTINE MADDOX is pursuing her Master’s degree from University of Texas as well as blogging for www.4nannies.com. She loves to write anything related to parenting, kids, nanny care etc. She can be reached via email at: christine.4nannies @ gmail.com

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