Friendships with Women: Getting by with a Little Help from Friends

July 10, 2011 | By | 13 Replies More

“Better than any book, [  ] is the communion that happens when you meet someone and have great rapport; someone whose existence makes your life better in myriad ways.” Susie Maguire

In British Columbia, Canadian author, Patricia Sands, with her ten bridge playing women friends who inspired The Bridge Club novel.

I thought I would choose an entirely different topic until I read Susie Maguire’s excellent June 11 post on Women Writers. These last few lines of hers reinforced my desire to carry on with my thoughts.

You are so right, Susie. That is the essence of friendship.

In the past ten months I have had the pleasure of receiving e-mails from women of all ages (the youngest being 24 and the oldest 82) writing about the valued connections they share with other women. They have written me in response to reading my novel The Bridge Club, relating to the forty-year friendship shared by the eight women in the story. It has been incredibly rewarding to hear what readers have had to say about their own experiences.

The premise for my novel (my first) was indeed the wonderful friendship shared by the 10 women of my real-life bridge club for over four decades. (Ten for bridge? Don’t ask. That’s another story!)

From our days in the psychedelic 1960’s as hip, liberated twenty-somethings, or so we thought, to our present day status as “zoomers”, vibrant, active sixty-somethings, our connection has been a constant.

Patricia Sands' book, The Bridge Club, a book about friendships between women.

Although we are all the same age, give or take a year, and share the same values, that is about all we truly have in common. We have very diverse personalities, opinions,” sizes, shapes, hairstyles, careers, bank accounts, and families. Yet, at the same time, we are one.

We share a history full of memories that range from deliriously happy to devastatingly sad and encompass everything in between. It’s been quite a ride, made all the more meaningful by knowing each one of us was “there” for whatever was needed. It hasn’t been everyone responding at the same time, but rather which of us has the best to offer the situation. No matter what, we are always all in the loop and ready to bring what we can to whatever the issue.

Not only did these women give me permission to access significant bits and pieces of their lives to build the foundation of my story, they have been among my most enthusiastic supporters and promoters since publication.

There have also been a multitude of friends, old and new, who have offered support and encouragement, or information and commiseration, throughout this crazy journey of writing and publishing.

As I talk to other writers I hear the same story: friendships have played significant roles in their writing experience.

Honesty, trust and reliability define the best of friends. We know when they are real. They are the voices that unselfishly celebrate your successes; pick you up when you are down; give you honest feedback (particularly on early drafts!); and make you laugh out loud when you need it most. You do the same for them. It all goes without saying.

Like Susie, I have connected with a multitude of women in the world of writing and publishing via websites, blogs and the like over the past few years. The community of women writers is inviting with an energy you can feel. Many of them I now feel privileged to call friends.

It’s the modern version of some incredible connections that writers forged throughout history by the exchange of letters. Some things never change.

A simple lesson learned very long ago is one that deserves to be passed on: to have a good friend, you must be a good friend.

I wish that for all of you, writing or not, and let the following quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson sum it up.

“I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost work, but the solidest thing we know.”


Author’s Note: With that great Beatle’s tune as my background music, I knew this was the post I wanted to write for Women Writers, Women Books. So I worked at it on WordPress before I inadvertently clicked SOMETHING (still don’t know what!) and the entire post disappeared, not to be found anywhere. How does that happen? I’m going to ask WordPress because you would think there would be some sort of warning that you are about to delete your work! Never mind … that will be another post for another day. It’s an excellent reminder to always write posts on Word or somewhere you can save them so you never risk losing them. The most annoying part of this is that I know that and didn’t do it!

I was really happy with that completed post too and know this one will be different – better or not, who’s to say?

Thanks very much for the opportunity to guest blog. I’ve been enjoying all of the posts on the site, in particular the post, Memoirs: Agony and Relief by Dr. Lav Chintapalli. The theme on my blog is that everyone has a story. Dr. Chintapalli addresses the privilege of reading the stories of others. Fiction writers may base story lines and characters on real people and yet share the stories of others in very different ways.

The Bridge Club is a Finalist for the 2010 ForeWord Reviews Book Of The Year (General Fiction) and also is Finalist for the 2011 Next Generation Book Of The Year (First Novel over 80,000 words). Here are the links: or Barnes & Noble.

Connect with Patricia on Twitter @Patricia_Sands or on her Facebook Fan Page.  Write Patricia about your friendships with wonderful women at or on Facebook.

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Category: Canadian Women Writers, Contemporary Women Writers, Friendships between Women Writers

Comments (13)

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  1. Sunie Levin says:

    I have been playing bridge for over 60 years and I know how important my bridge friends are to me. Women with close friends and strong support groups tend to sleep better, heal faster when they are hurt and experience less depression as they age. At age 81 I have friends of all ages, some 20 years younger than myself. I have met many women writers through the internet that have become my friends. Some people come into our lives and quietly go. Others stay awhile, make footprints in our hearts and we are never the same.

  2. Jo Carroll says:

    I’d be lost without my women friends – not just as a writer, but also as a woman. We’ve grown through marriages (I’ve one divorce, one widowhood, and some friends have had equally eventful relationships), children, ageing parents – all the roles that women fulfil and still rely on each other to know who we are underneath – strong, creative, feisty, original women.

    I struggle to imagine live without writing – but life without my women friends would be impossible.

    • Jo, your women friends sound like the women in my novel, who also happen to be a very real part of my life. I understand your sentiments exactly and appreciate how fortunate we are to have these kind of invaluable connections.

  3. Patricia,

    For starters, I am humbled that you would mention me on your note. Thank you.

    Second, I wholeheartedly believe in what you stated, “.. to have a good friend, you must be a good friend.” At least that is where one starts. It might or might not work out, but I believe that one cannot expect something one cannot live by. And you definitely seem to walk your talk! Congratulations on your book!


  4. I’m so glad I found this post via Twitter! Women truly need strong female friendships and I love that your friendships spanned from (hip) twenty-somethings into (vibrant, active) sixty-somethings. I also admire the healthy respect from and for the diversity of your group. As women we have so much to share and learn from one another. Not all women have that deep, constant connection with friends (especially when relocation, marriage and kids happen). My goal is to encourage friendship between women looking to expand their social circle!

    • Hello Jeanette and thanks for your very meaningful response. I have only discovered these comments today – Jan. 5, 2012. I’m so embarrassed! I’ll contact you at your AWESOME website.

  5. Absolutely agreed! As a woman who has never married, my friends are my family. Having relocated to North Carolina from Los Angeles, I missed my West Coast friends tremendously. It has taken years to even begin to develop new friendships. It took leaving my friends to realize how much they had become a part of my everyday life, sharing news from what we had for lunch to dating to illness to birth and death. Social media is wonderful, but it’s not the same as getting together for a heart-to-heart. I treasure my friends, new and old. Thank you, Patricia, for a beautiful post.

    • Hello Monica and happy new year!
      I’m extremely embarrassed to say that I am just discovering your comment on Women Writers, Women Books from last July, today! For some reason, notifications did not come to me and I was too distracted by everything else in my life so neglected to check here myself. Mea culpa! Thank you for responding.
      You are so right about friends being family and I can relate to that as well. For eight years in my forties I was widowed and, as much as my family was wonderful, it was my friends who really kept me afloat in the early years. I hope your relocation to South Carolina has gone well and that meaningful new friends have come into your life.
      Again, my sincere apologies for this VERY delayed response!
      All the best in 2012,

  6. NettieWriter says:

    Lovely post. I’d like to add though that the nature of friendship has changed over the years. I now have more good and trusted cyber-friends than I do in real life. As technology has changed – and, consequently, the way we live and communicate-this is inevitable. Regardless, I am blessed by all my friends, wherever they are. Thanks for this.

    • Hi there and happy new year! I’m extremely embarrassed to say that I am just discovering your comment today! For some reason, notifications did not come to me and I was too distracted by everything else in my life so neglected to check here myself. Mea culpa! Thank you for responding. I can certainly understand your comment about cyber-friends and also count myself lucky to have met a large number of amazing new friends online. It’s a fascinating new world!

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