An ode to female friendship, the most precious treasure trove

Female friendship is fierce and wonderful. For writer Caitríona McBride, friendships can be agonising but she could not survive without them.


One of my favourite things about being a woman is the exquisite joy of female friendships. These friendships are comforting and nurturing, complex and profound, sometimes they cause heartache, sometimes they end, sometimes life brings them back around to you when you least expect it. I could not survive without them.

There is an immeasurable benefit in knowing that I have a person to call with good news, to while away an evening with or to have a walk to share relationship or work woes.

The love I have for my female friendships all began with my first best friend, my mom.

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She taught me the value of sharing, the power of compassion, to love the gentle and complicated ways of a women’s heart and the understanding and healing women can bring to each other.

Found my tribe

I have one or two very special friends from my schooldays in Donegal, but it was in university that I truly found my tribe. I have a cherished clutch of girls that met on the DCU campus that changed what I knew about friendship, and they understood me in ways nobody ever had.

My friends are rather like me - they aren’t afraid to share the bad bits, the good bits and their whole heart, however ragged

In your twenties, and especially your thirties, you question your female friendships more. The people I connect with most are rather like me - they aren’t afraid to share the bad bits, the good bits and their whole heart, however ragged. I love when I can trust and be trusted; vulnerability is the birthplace of true connection in friendship.

When another woman has seen the ugliest parts of you and accepted them, it creates an extraordinary bond. It is the most precious thing to have friends that you love unconditionally, and they love you right back.

Extraordinary bond

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It is fierce, it is wonderful, it is a blessed thing, and these women are our soulmates. Female friends are always your biggest fan, your cheerleader, your sweetest message in a birthday card.

A woman knows the unending depths of another’s heart and this is enormously beneficial to our health. That we feel understood.

Female friendships in my life are my treasure trove. I cannot imagine life without them

Female friendship can be fluid and sometimes they naturally run their course. Some female friendships go irretrievably wrong, and that is agonising, but once shed it is rarely regretted. And you will come to understand why that experience had to happen.

The female friendships in my life are my treasure trove. I cannot imagine life without them. I moved to Belfast last year and while I had my beloved friendship with my fiancé, I missed my own friendships very dearly.

To my surprise, I made two lovely friends that have made life so much more pleasurable here. My other female friends have made overwhelming efforts to visit or have me visit to let me know that even though we might not see each other for months, our friendship means the world to us both. We need each other.

I have no sisters, but these women are the sisters I never had.

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Caitríona McBride is writer, former cheesemonger, Food Guild member and Donegal native. @caitrionamcb

Photograph: Caroline Hernandez via Unsplash


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