Friends are like Bras…
They come in various styles, colors, and each has a unique purpose, place or benefit to share with you.
Throughout your life, you have made friends with upwards of 100 women, or more. Some are close-knit and tight, others are loose and carefree. There are friends whom you only see in certain situations and others you specifically carve out time for.
Friends can be close by or long distance. Last a few months, a few years, or lifetime.
What is the makeup of your Bra Collection? Do you have a wide variety? Or do you tend to stick with only one or two styles? Do you ever venture outside your comfort zone and try a new one on?
Look at your current set of friends. How many of them know about your Alternative Lifestyle?
One? Two? Maybe none.
When you decide to move towards living a life which fully embraces and celebrates your Authentic Self, having friends who know, understand, support and even participate in your Lifestyle is important.
Surprisingly, I would wager you spend more time researching, trying on, and finding “just the right bra” then you do in deliberately and intentionally choosing your friends.
How Do You Make Friends?
Most women create friendships by default. Isn’t that how friendships are made? When you just happen to click with someone? Sometimes yes… sometimes, no.
Is that how you buy a bra? You see it on the rack. It’s the right color or style, or perhaps it “caught your fancy”. So you buy it. Did you check the size? Did you try it on? Or did you only buy it based on one aspect?
You make friends by “default” when you connect with someone because of a circumstance – such as work, your children, church, a hobby, or yoga.
However, when you create intentional Authentic Friendships, the choices you make speaks volumes about who you are.
I suspect you are surrounded by the Mainstream part of your life, much more than the Alternative part of your life. This is to be expected, as you spend most of your time in the Mainstream World.
On the other hand, if you want to create more balance in your life by developing friendships with other women who are in the Lifestyle, you need to look at how you are currently spending your time, energy, effort and focus. Then make a decision about what it is you really want.
Who are your Current Friends?
So, let’s look at your Bra Collection…
Practical Everyday Bra
This lady is a tried and true friend. The one you keep coming back to. This is the woman who is your “go to, call upon gal”. She’s there when you need to vent, or will pick up your cat from the vet. She is there for you through the thick and thin of your everyday Mainstream life. Yet, doesn’t know about your “Alternative Lifestyle”. That would be crossing a line.
Old and Comfy Bra
She is one of your oldest and dearest friends. Perhaps from childhood, or college. Maybe she was your Maid of Honor at your wedding. The friendship has lasted through all of life’s ups and downs. Perhaps this is now a long distance friendship, and again not one who you can share about your Open Marriage… You are afraid she wouldn’t understand and you would lose this long time connection with someone you care about.
Sports and Active Bra
This friend meets you at the Gym, yoga, or goes on walks, hikes or bike rides with you. She is the active friend who motivates you to exercise and eat healthy, who drags you out of bed on Saturday morning to go hiking six miles or buys your smoothie after an hour and a half of crossfit. This friend has a single purpose, and has no reason to know about your “Play Parties”.
Every woman needs a Push-Up Bra. She is your cheerleader, the positive one who always rallies around your goals and successes. She’s also there to let you know your failures are just an opportunity to grow, and to help you work through your stuff. This is the friend who always smiles, keeps life positive and looks for the silver lining in every cloud. She is a sounding board, reflecting back to you what you already know deep down, but need another voice to really hear it. Perhaps this is one friend who you have mentioned your Alternative Lifestyle to because you know she will support you no matter what. Yet she is not a participant.
Sultry and Sexy Bra
Oh the stories this lady could tell about you! This is the friend whom you tell your most intimate secrets, desires, and challenges to. Yet when it comes to women who are in the Lifestyle, it is hard to find and create a truly trusting, compassionate, supportive and nonthreatening relationship with another woman who is also in the Lifestyle. There can be a sense of competition which Society ingrains in us through media and expectations. Creating a Lifestyle Sultry and Sexy friendship takes intention, effort and focus.
A wild and crazy friend who insists you go bungee jumping with her, or calls you up for a spur of the moment road trip to Vegas for the weekend. She is high-octane and little bit insane, but oh so much fun. She is Thelma to your Louise. This friend may or may not know about your Lifestyle, and doesn’t really care one way or the other.
One Which No Longer Fits
This is the friend you have pushed to the back of the drawer and buried under the cotton granny panties. You see her occasionally at the grocery store, or at the mall, and will meet for the obligatory coffee twice a year out of a sense of loyalty or nostalgia. You keep hanging on to this friend, albeit loosely, never actually letting her go. A once bright and youthful friendship no longer brings enjoyment or laughter. Your paths have taken different turns. For me, I stop extending the burden of nurturing a friendship which is no longer there, and let her go gently and with love.
Creating Intentional Friendships
When intentionally deciding the kinds of friendships you desire to create, it is important to know what you want give to and receive from your friendships. Do you want to share intimate details about your ECNM relationships? Your last night’s play party activities? Listen to other’s account these situations? Receive and give support? Someone to have coffee with as well as bedroom fun?
In looking at the list, are there Bras which you tend to gravitate towards because they feel safe and comfortable? Are you seeking friendships where you can both shine and encourage growth in each other? Do you desire to have a friend who compliments you? What do you see your role in friendship being?
Look to yourself first about what you desire. Then you will know what you are seeking in a friend. Write it down, and really dig deep. When you are clear and deliberate about what you want in a friendship, then you will know what to look for when you meet someone.
Creating intentional friendships is like dating. You are seeking specific characteristics, values, emotions and connection.
Take the time to “try on” a new friend. Meet her a few times. Do you really click? Is there something special about this woman? How does she make you feel? Does she complain a lot or uplift you with positive energy? Really investigate how this friendship can benefit both your life and hers. You might need to try on several friends before you find the “right fit”.
Friends make significant impacts on your life, whether you realize it or not.
Make Time for your New Friends
Understand the time you devote to friendship is finite.
A factor to consider is how much time you are investing in your Mainstream Friends, and how much you want to give to having friends in the Lifestyle.
When you break down the amount of time you give to nurturing and experiencing your friends, which friends do you now give the most time to and why?
Does this benefit your Authentic Self?
Is the time you devote out of desire, inspiration, or obligation?
Where do you want to invest your time, energy, effort and focus?
For several years I had friends both in the Mainstream World and my Lifestyle World. Recently, I moved to a new city and made a decision about making new friends. I decided to put my time, energy, effort and focus into friends who are in the Lifestyle.
I only have so much time, energy, effort and focus to give and I would rather have friends whom I can enjoy both in and out of the bedroom.
As you navigate both your Mainstream World and Alternative Lifestyle, making intentional choices and decisions about what is important to you is the key.
If you want to have friends with whom you can be your complete and Authentic Self, what are you willing to shift, change or manage differently?
Are you willing to be intentional, specific, and patient to connect with the right woman or group of women?