I would not be who I am without the amazing network of female friends in my life. My “lady bros,” as we jokingly call one another, are a group of strong, accomplished and unique women whom I’ve met during various stages of my life dating back to early childhood. You likely have a core group of female friends that you cherish. Here are 10 ways you can empower your own inner circle of women:
- Listen to one another without judgement. This should go without saying, especially when it comes to the women in your core circle. But, I think it bares repeating. One of the most valuable things we can do for one another is to listen without judgement. Being heard, especially by those closest to you and whom you respect, not only strengthens your bond as friends, but also empowers you as an individual.
- Share helpful resources. You know your tribe. Their likes and dislikes, and what inspires them. So, next time you come across an article on how to start a business, where to find good child care, a great gardening class, or even resources on mental health supports, pass it along to the person in your group whom you know will appreciate it and benefit from the information. Knowledge is power.
- Give an unsolicited compliment. We all need reminded of our strengths every now and again. Send a text or give a call just to say you’re thinking about your friend and they’re appreciated and awesome. A little pick me up goes a long way, especially as women often are shouldering many different roles and responsibilities that are sometimes overlooked or taken for granted.
- Provide constructive feedback (when asked). Whether a friend asks if they should phone an ex or go back to school, give your honest assessment. Women benefit from genuine constructive feedback from their female crew. So, don’t just be polite or say what you think wants to be heard. Share your real views (of course in a respectful manner), and you will be empowering your female circle to be their best.
- Don’t “Mommy Shame” or “Body Shame”. As women, we are all on different journeys in our lives. We have different goals, values and views that should be respected by one another. Even though society does try to put women in specific boxes, we need to interact with one another from a place of mutual respect. So, don’t Mommy Shame a friend who may choose to allow her kids to have unlimited screen time. Don’t body shame someone who doesn’t get up at 5am to go for a run. And, of course, the same applies in the reverse.
- Engage women from different generations and background. You may have spent years or decades fostering friendships with the women in your inner circle. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invite some new people in from time to time. Include women from different generations and different social, racial, ethnic and educational backgrounds to socialize with you. We all have something to learn from one another. Embracing diversity fosters a culture of equality and empowerment amongst all women.
- Create a tradition or ritual just for your Circle. As we get older and our obligations grow, we tend to put our own socialization needs on the back burner. Carve out time for you and your core group of women to spend time together, without kids, partners or work emails. This could be a standing monthly book club, a weekly coffee or a yearly getaway. Make time for you, and for one another. Self-care and friendship
- Encourage your Circle to get out of their comfort zone. Sometimes we are our toughest critics and are looking for all the reasons to say “no” to something we actually want to find the courage to say “yes” to. Be the wing woman who encourages other female friends to do something new they may be hesitant to try. It can be a new hair cut, a new hobby or a new job. Foster your female friends’ inner fierce.
- Spread good news. Celebrate the wins of the women in your life. Give them a shout out on social media about their new promotion. They say bad news travels fast. Women need to make sure good news travels even faster. Celebrating each other’s accomplishments big and small helps set an example of appreciating and lifting up other women.
- Show Up. Be there for your crew whenever you can. Take your friend’s kids for a night so she can have some time to herself. Be there at the opening of her new store. Tune in to that Instagram live. Help clean the garage. Make a consistent effort to be there for one another when needed. We are all in this together. Let’s help one another and lift each other up as women.
Capri Cafaro is a TV host, Cook, Author and a female equality rights activist. Keep up to date with her on instagram @capriscafaro