If you are a female reading this, we pose a question before you — do you have close female friends? If you are a male, we ask you this – will you let your partner hang out and spend some time with their female friends? If your answer is ‘no’ and you think what is the need for that, read on. A section of women believes that it is good to have ‘me time’ and that it improves the quality of life. The role of this space differs for each person. For a few, it may be a space to be themselves, while for the other section, it may be a platform to vent and get relaxed. The recent Tamil movie Magalir Mattum starring Jyothika, has explored one such aspect of female friendship. And, recently, Kochi witnessed Queens Lounge, a gathering of female friends, and the friends releasing a book, which is a compilation of their works posted on their secret Facebook group.
The existence of these groups too varies. Such groups are on the rise— online and offline — these days. It is up to the person to choose a comfortable platform, but a majority believes it is always advisable to open up before those who are very close. These meet-ups may not be a big gathering always, but a small meeting with your best friends over a cup of coffee. “That is a great thing, to be with good friends,” says Jeemol Koruth Verghese, a baker from Kochi. “Sometimes, when you are down, all you need should be a person, who would sympathise with you or whom you could relate to. You may not be looking for a logical answer then. That comfort you can find in your close female circle. Female friendship is very important after a certain age. In our culture, women are supposed to take care of family. We are more responsible than men and hence the amount of pressure we go through is high. This space lessens that. I have some friends. No matter how busy we are, we find some time to meet. That conversation will make me feel light and better,” adds Jeemol, who believes in offline friendship.
She says that the bond would be more fruitful among like-minded people. “If the group consists of people with same interests, it would be good. They would easily understand the other person’s feeling. Otherwise, there would be conflicts, which may lead to unnecessary problems,” she points out. Sometimes, this friendship will lead to travels – another way to find one’s own space. Indu Krishna, who organises ladies only trips to various places, says, “It is the time when we can be ourselves. We can explore our true self and don’t have to be bothered about people around us. That freedom won’t be possible in mixed groups,” says Indu.
She had been to many places with female friends and says the joy that it gives is incomparable. Other than in travels, she witnessed such joy when she took part in the Queens Lounge event held in Kochi. “For me, I at least have my own time when I travel. But, during the meet, I met women who have no such space at all. They were so happy to be there. And, when they shouted with joy during programmes, I thought why they were behaving so. Though I felt it was odd in the beginning, later I realised the reason behind it. They were so happy because they were in a space where they got acceptance. It was the joy of finding their true selves,” explains Indu.
In her opinion, in female friendships, there is no space for inhibition. “Family may demand us to be more mature. We may not be able to be ourselves there. You can be yourself in a female group.” According to Dr Shalu Koikara, a clinical psychologist, it is good for women to have their personal space. But, one needs to balance it. “Maintaining relationships has become difficult these days. It is very rare to see friendship among peers. If women can find their own space, it is good. But, they should be mature enough to balance their personal life and family life. Otherwise, problems will arise. The family side will crumble. Also, make sure that you make healthy friendships. Friendships should allow a person to become more mature,” she feels.