The bond between a girl and her friends is a powerful thing.
With all of the emphasis we place on finding the man of our dreams, I think far too many of us lose sight of one of the greatest love stories we'll experience in life: The one with our friends.
The importance of the relationships with our best friends — those select few who know all of our idiosynchrasies and faults and love us both despite of and because of these things — cannot be overlooked.
In my opinion, the majority of the emotional intimacy and acceptance we have among our girlfriends outweighs anything we could ever find in a romantic relationship.
What really sparked my inspiration for this article was an extraordinarily long texting conversation I had with one of my childhood friends the other night.
The easy back and forth we had with each other gave me this giddiness no flirtatious communication with any guy could hold a candle to.
The years of inside jokes and memories layered between trust and appreciation for each other's quirks created this beautifully effortless exchange.
I couldn't help but smile in looking back at our friendship. We still joke about our "meet cute": a laundry day mix-up at sleep-away camp in which my friend claimed my Hollister jean skirt as her own.
In true 9-year-old fashion, someone who started as my nemesis quickly became my best friend.
We recall this little story so fondly because it's ours. It adds this personal touch of affection when thinking about how long and imperfectly someone has cared about you.
Throughout all of the ups and downs and the stupid tiffs, we've held a quiet understanding that we will continue to love each other no matter how far the other may fall short of expectations as to what constitutes a "good friend."
We'll shake our heads, and with unfaltering honesty backed by unconditional love, we'll say, "Although you did mess up royally, you can't get rid of me that easily."
This got me thinking: Why do we obsess and worry so much about our dating lives when what we should really nurture are these lifelong friendships we've formed?
I'll always shamelessly admit the fact I'm what you'd call a "romantic," but I am also a strong believer in the "hoes before bros" mentality.
There is so much uncertainty that surrounds dating these days. Due in part to the strong shift in the female focus toward chasing our own dreams and embracing our independence coupled with the ever-fickle nature of guys, it's hard for us all not to be crazy levels of insecure.
Now, more than ever, we should be looking to our friends as sources of stability.
One of my favorite phrases lately is the "girl gang." Urban Dictionary defines this as:
"Those fearless ladies who exude self-confidence and help build their fellow sistas up, not tear them down."
Amen. You can't ask for a better support system than that. Life and people disappoint us daily, which breeds self-doubt and discouragement.
How sweet is it to have those girls in our lives who blindly and fiercely love us, who cheer us on and who will defend us until they are blue in the face? That kind of loyalty is rare.
When we are lucky enough to have friends like this, we should hold onto them with both hands.
If we look back on the first social interactions we had as kids, we'll see we were seeking our girl gangs long before we even had an inkling of an idea of what romance was.
That seed was probably planted when we saw our first irrationally perfect Disney movie.
I remember my first girl gang pretty vividly. Two girls lived next door to me growing up, and we connected over our shared love for tree climbing and dress up.
That was that: My pack was formed. We rolled together with this easy sense of community that is often hard to perfect in adult friendships.
And in fact, we may have lost a little of that pure innocence we formed in our prepubescent friendships.
With the amount of insecurities and social pressures we carry with us through teenage years, it's impossible to completely avoid a few of those surface-level clique formations.
Plot lines for movies like "Clueless" and "Mean Girls" had to have some sort of inspiration, after all.
At some point, we weed out the friends we made for the wrong reasons and we strengthen those friendships with the girls who truly know our hearts and model the same values as us.
The company we keep is everything. Nothing is more influential to a woman than her friends.
For me, the girls I still keep close to me have held me together during this transition into young adulthood.
The changing up of cities and stages in life has forced us to work harder to maintain these friendships, but those worth preserving are an almost organic thing, rather than a chore.
One of the many other parallels our friendships have to dating relationships is that we really can make the long distance thing work if it is worth it to us.
The "phone date," to me, is a dirty word. In my experience, the most spontaneous of Facetimes or texts can quickly launch into a life discussion (or what one of my closest friends and I like to call "rull talk").
Similar to dating, there is that underlying truth: Those friends who are our true soul sisters are the ones we won't be able to go too long without talking to.
Keeping up with friends in adulthood isn't as hard as everyone says. Your circles may get a little smaller as you prioritize those with whom you want to keep in touch the most.
The intent of this article is not to give off huge amounts of girl power vibes (although I'm never opposed to that). It isn't to leave you with a step-by-step guide on how to be a better friend.
It isn't to explain who your true best friends are. It isn't even meant to stress how we need to focus less on finding "the guy" and more on our girlfriends.
This was meant simply to serve as a reminder, one which I have to give myself all too often: Regardless of whether we are in the right relationship, the right city, the right job or whatever you draw your happiness and self-worth from, friendships should always be celebrated.
These amazing young women keep us sane; we've almost developed separate, unique languages with them and we can turn a simple fast food outing into a full day of random shenanigans.
Above all else, these friends are also insane enough to put up with all of our imperfections.
We should take comfort in that. As long as we have these girls, we should never be dissatisfied with wherever we are in life.