The Importance Of Surrounding Yourself With Strong Women

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I don’t have many friends.

And when I say that I mean the sort of friends you’ve known since you were drinking £4 wine and worrying about essays.

The sort of friends you speak to every day and plan girls’ holidays to Ibiza with and have midweek cocktail and dinner dates with. The kind of friends you could call at 1am crying during a monumental life crisis and they would come running. Those type of friends, the type of friends that are almost sisters.

Part of this reason is because of my location, because I fled my friends and the people and places I knew and loved to start a new grown-up life with a boy.

The other part of that problem is due to the way my life has twisted and turned with every year that I’ve become more and more fully fledged as an adult. My focus has become more about my career and my brand and my success, about cementing myself as a person outside of my relationships.

Maybe it’s because of some underlying fear of neglect – I need to ensure I have other loves and passions to fall back on should people choose to abandon me.

I know it sounds kinda hard and cold and cruel, and reflecting back on it, there are times when I’ve wondered if maybe, all along, I’ve had the wrong focuses in life. If many of us have had these wrong focuses in life, as if we’ve grown up and changed from child to adult prioritising the wrong things. Choosing careers and status over people.

Sometimes my lack of unbreakably close bonds with soul sisters gets me down, makes me feel a bit alienated and trapped inside my own head, and sometimes, on days when I am surrounded by my wider circle of friends and acquaintances, I feel absolutely bloody incredible.

You see, although I am not encircled by close friends, my extended friendship group is vast and bubbling and full of excitement and empowerment.

It is full of the type of women who build me up and get me excited to go out there and conquer the world, to be the best damn version of myself that I can be.

I wouldn’t call myself a hearty feminist. I sometimes drift about a bit when it comes to womens’ rights and it’s something I’m not educated enough in to voice a strong opinion on loudly for all to come hither, but I believe 100% in surrounding yourself in passionate and uplifting women.

About pushing each other up and encouraging and supporting and giving verbal fist pumps to each other.

Since becoming a full-time blogger my life has become more and more about coffee dates. Both with PRs and fellow bloggers and with old digital journalism friends taking a huge leap and either starting their own businesses or jumping industries.

It’s these people who make me feel strong and like I can conquer anything.

The sort of women that after a day of chatter make me want to go home and chain drink Diet Coke late into the night whilst I pour my ideas and passions and emotions into words and keep going with all my professional dreams.

There are so many times when I feel like I can’t do life. As though it is too much and too threatening and it could bring me down at any given moment – it is too heavy, too overwhelming, too suffocating. But, it is being around these people, these creatives who spend all their time and energy searching for new ways to grow, that uplift me and make me feel like GURL, YOU GOT THIS. YOU REALLY, REALLY GOT THIS.

I am constantly questioning myself. Constantly looking for new challenges, new ways to be a better version of myself, and new ways of thinking. I want to look at things differently and learn to not take the negative away from each day, to not live such a rollercoaster of emotions each day, I want to be more stable and stop chasing this perfect life at the end of the mountain climb that doesn’t exist.

And these women, they give me that. They encourage me to keep growing and questioning everything, to keep exploring and building on everything I already have.

They give me a chance to sound out my business fears and woes and my industry hates and the emotions that come from being an internet gal 24/7 365 days a year.

These are my people.

Most of them I may only see once a month or even once a year. But they are the people who pick me up without even knowing it, on days when it feels like the internet is becoming a grey place.

It couldn’t be a more exciting time to be a twenty or thirty something woman engaging in an industry that is growing beyond anyone’s expectations, an industry where the possibilities are endless.

We are all so much more capable than we give ourselves credit for, and it’s sometimes just being with almost-strangers who get you, for you to realise that you’re not weird or alone, you are part of a seriously fucking incredible revolution.

Nah but for realz, what a damn ace time to be alive. We got this ladies.

  • i love this post, one of the best posts I have read in A while!

  • Flo

    Such a brilliant post Hannah. Up until 3 years ago I didn’t have that special sister like bond with anyone but my younger sister. Through blogging I made a friend, it later turned out that we had attended the same secondary school for a short period of time before I moved to Spain, which is crazy! She is my absolute best friend in the whole world. The one person I run to when I’m lost and I am proud to say that last year I was her bridesmaid. So, for those readers who feel like they missed their chance because they moved away, they’re too old, they didn’t create that bond at college or uni. You never know what is just around the corner. 🙂

    Hannah, you are a person who creates that excitement in me when it comes to the possibilities that life holds. You’re also a person who reminds me that it’s ok to be me. It’s ok to struggle and feel like I’m not getting anywhere. So thank you, thank you for being that empowering women for so many of us.
    Flo x

    • I couldn’t agree more with the last paragraph, Hannah your blog has helped me through a lot of shite going on in my life this year. whenever I start to feel sad again there are many of your blog posts I turn to, to remember that everything is/will be okay xx

  • This is the absolute perfect Monday morning read. I’m just sitting with my tea, nodding along and smiling. I think it’s so important to surround yourself with a tribe of people who get you, and inspire you, and make you feel empowered even on your worst days. And I think it’s never too late to make the those type of friends, the ones that answer the phone no matter what the time (I made a new one at 26). Saying that, the inspiring, creative, tribe people are just as good as the life long friends people at picking me up when I’m down, they just do it in a different way.

    Anyway, I’m rambling. Great post, really enjoyed reading it 🙂

    Laura | WhatSheWroteBlog

  • Rhiannon

    What a brilliant post, Hannah! Amen to the “we so got this” attutude xx

  • love this post! And I think the fact that you wrote this powerful stuff means that, recognise it or not, you are indeed a hearty feminist. Strong,uplifting women who can change the worldi whatever way they like? Yep, hearty feminism at its best!

  • Hannah YOU HAVE GOT THIS! I hope you feel that your readers bring you up too cus we want you to be happy. You have a great community that follows you and if I could live next door to you I totally would.

    I wish I could say that my pursuit of a career is the reason I don’t have friends, not close ones, but alas it is not. When my fam finally stopped moving I was half way through middle school with a bunch of strangers. Those strangers never really bonded with me and I withdrew more into my shell the older I got, I hated school and college. Being shy, introverted and quiet did not go in my favour.

    Still, in my thirties, I have never experienced this sistership that other women talk about. My actual sister is my best friend but lives some miles from me these days. I’m also still job hopping trying to find one that fits me and pays the bills. Basically I’m without a friend circle.

    That’s why I love blogging, the community is so positive and uplifting it makes me wanna cry. I hope to one day have a readership of amazing women who I can meet and make friends with, I think that’s my dream.

    Wendy Xx

    http://www.bumpkinbroke.com

  • Fab post. Without even knowing, this post is such a strong feminist statement. Women supporting women is so important!

    Rachel | http://www.currentlyrachel.com

  • Chloe marie

    What a brilliant post and photo!

  • I totally feel you on this one, as much as I have the best and most wonderful friends I do sometimes feel trapped in my own head with nowhere to turn. But you should really know that YOU are a role model for so many young women, myself included and this post really made me smile. 🙂

    http://helloitscherry.blogspot.co.uk/

  • One thing that irks me more than anything is when I see girls dragging other girls down or just simply not being nice. WHAT is it detracting from your life to be polite and kind to another person?!!! Xxx
    http://Www.fashionnomads.com

  • Sam

    I loved reading this Hannah, really relevant to me at the moment. I’m lucky in that I have a few close female friends, but more close in terms of connection rather than close in terms of distance if that make sense. I feel I’m at a strange stage in my life when not all of the women I grew up with now ‘get’ my current interests, and sometimes I worry the gap in interests will widen and where will that leave our friendship. I guess you’ve answered my question that if I continue to surround myself with strong women it will be okay in one way or another.

    Sam | http://www.storiesofsam.com/

  • For me, this was the first year I had that close group of girl friends. I have an amazing best friend and a really great friend from school too, but I’d never had that dynamic you’re talking about… and it was moving to France in the third year of my degree that I found it! This year’s had its ups and downs and I don’t know how I would have got through it without these girls… so I suppose you never know where/when you’ll find great, supportive friends!

    Summer Isn’t Over

  • I definitely feel like you’ve looked inside my mind and reflected all my fears and worries in this post. I wrote recently about friendship, feeling alone and just not accepted by anyone, and I think a big factor of this is that I lost all my friends at home and everyone else lives far away. It feels hard, I want to be able to call people at 1am for reassurance and tears knowing there’s a shoulder to cry on, but then I’m always thinking I have to be strong in myself before I let anyone else come close.

    There are so many amazing ladies in this community and industry, and a good 90% of them will lift you up at a moments notice which is brilliant – fab post Hannah, we got dis

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Beauty

  • Such an amazing post. One of the best blog posts I’ve read in a while.

    Emily | lifestylesofemily.com

  • The beginning of this post is exactly how I feel right now and one of things I’ve been down a lot about recently. I wish I had a close group of friends who knew me inside out, who I could turn to any time, who actually care about, people I could always have fun and a connection with. One of the reasons is similar to you that my closest girl friends are in London and I had to move away after uni when I got a job near home. I was never close with my friends at home and most have left anyway. But I have always struggled to have close friends and never really had that group I wish for. I feel like I’ve never really fitted in. It’s nice to hear I’m not the only one who sometimes feels really alone and stuck inside her own head too much. I do have some great friends and I need to appreciate that as you say. Though I do hope I find ‘my people’ one day.

  • I think the best realisation of my life was knowing that I don’t have to put up with or keep friends that aren’t supportive, or even friends that I just don’t naturally click with that much. I love being friendly with lots of people but I’m not obligated to be friends with someone because they are there. My online friendships have taught me that there are so many cool and creative people out there and I don’t have to force myself to fit into friendships for the sake of having a social life.

  • Just wonderful!!

    I totally gotcha here sista! I always think I haven’t really got friend, friends, but when I look at it I do. I got a whole lotta friends I can hang with but only the one from school when I used to also drink £4 bottles, but mine was more of a classy white lightening cider in a bight blue bottle that smelled of egg. Bork. I have made some ultimate friends though my short time blogging and one in particular has mad my life just sooo much more exciting. I no longer feel like a bore when I want to sit and write while I skip drinks at the pub. I get excited about meetings which could mean I end up sitting and writing even more but I feel a sense of achievement . We are embarking on some awesome adventures this season and so happy to share them with another version of myself. So cheers that diet coke up high, to new friends and girls alike.

    Another great super post and looking forward to meeting you, being the crazed Hannah Gale, fangirl that I am. But seriously, you can actually avoid me. I understand :p x

  • Awesome post! I loved the last paragraph xx

  • I heartily agree with this post! I think it’s sometimes part of human nature that we reflect the people we spend a lot of time with in ourselves. It’s therefore so important that empowerment and a positive attitude is something that we look for in our friends. I think it’s great to have women surrounding you who lift you up, rather than knock you down.

  • I LOVE this post!! X

  • It’s okay you can take me to Ibiza with me haha.
    xoxo Bing.

    http://www.bingyourstyle.com

  • I love this post, only recently I’ve been thinking about friendship (albeit, more about lost friendships…) but this is inspiring. There is always room to meet new people, which is inspiring…!

    http://www.joieandthevivre.com/2015/09/friends-forever.html#more

  • This is a great post. I think a lot of us have kind of made choices that mean we aren’t even too sure who we can call in a crisis because we’ve been focusing on our own growth. I used to have a best-best friend and I miss her so much but I know we could never be friends again. When we fell out, it was the strong girls I’d met at uni who were there for me, and they inspire me in so many ways (and make me feel a tiny bit inadequate).

  • Great post – made me feel a bit bettter about myself!

    http://www.beckieeschle.com

  • I can relate to the not many friend thing, and certainly not a friend I could call in the middle of the night with a crisis, think it’s partly modern life that gets in the way of that.

  • Charlotte

    Can I be your friend ?! – seriously girl ?

    I loved this post

    X

  • Such a great post Hannah! It’s so uplifting and positive, I love it!

    Aimee x
    http://cappuccinointheclouds.co

  • This is such a good post- so inspiring and true. Where would we be without the strong women in our lives keeping us going.
    xx


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