Investing time in friendship: Women share why friends matter

March 2013 Posted in Other, People
Twelve women meet once a month to play Bunko, have dinner and talk while their children play.

Twelve women meet once a month to play Bunko, have dinner and talk while their children play.

By Kristine Thomas

Not unlike many women, Rosi Green, Shannon Rice, Paetra Orueta, Jill Rivoli, Kristin Newland and April Linn are pulled in 15 different directions.

Careers, children and long “To Do” lists keep them quickly switching gears from one activity to the next.

Despite the hustle and bustle of life, they have made both the choice and the commitment to nurture their friendships.

“I think spending time with your girlfriends is incredibly important,” April, 40, said. “Your girlfriends are also trying to raise families, create stable marriages, have successful careers and maintain many relationships. No one else in your life understands all you go through. Other women are the best resource for support and information.”

Especially when their lives become chaotic or unpredictable.

It’s often life’s roadblocks “when you really need to connect with your friends,” Jill, 43, said. “Friendship is like anything else in life…you get out of it what you put into it.”

All six women have roots in Silverton and many years of knowing one another from high school. And they are one of the many groups of women who get together for dinners or adventures.

What’s clear from these women’s stories is they cherish one another and truly value their friendships.

Many times, Rosi has had people tell her that they are envious of the friendships she has with her different groups – she and 11 friends play Bunko and another group has dinner.

She explains their get togethers don’t magically happen. It takes planning. For example, her Bunko group plans to take a photograph each month for a calendar they create.

Every January, she opens her calendar and schedules her entire year of events with her friends.

“You have to plan and make the time if you want to get together,” Rosi said.

The group also plans to take a photograph each month for their friendship calendar.

The group also plans to take a photograph each month for their friendship calendar.

All six women said their friendships that have provided the strength to endure life’s challenges and celebrate the achievements.

The mother of three children and a rural postal carrier, April has three friends who meet once a week for dinners. They take turns hosting and cooking. While they talk, their children play. For their 40th birthdays, they traveled to Spain, Italy and Turkey, a trip they spent years planning.

From high school to boyfriends to marriage and children, April said her friends have been through everything together.

“In the last few years, I had a brother die and gone through a difficult divorce,” April said. “Without my strong female friendships, I don’t know how I would have survived those things. They have been there for me through all of life’s ups and downs.”

Kristin, 40, said her women friends have the ability to love unconditionally.

“When you are supported by women that don’t judge you for the choices you make, support you through the tough times and make you laugh until you cry, it fills your soul. It balances you,” Kristin said. “You feel safe and loved without any strings.”

It’s time for Ladies Night Out …
What happens in Silverton?
Ladies never tell…
Friday, March 15
7 – 10 p.m.
Frank J. Schmidt Pavilion
The Oregon Garden
879 W. Main St. Silverton

Grab your friends and visit this
year’s themed event, ‘Sin City’
at the Garden featuring vices such
as gambling, decadent desserts,
devilish cocktails, racy comedy
and dancing.

Enjoy a comedy show,
mixology lessons,
shopping and more.

Tickets: $25 now,
$30 at the door.

Available at the
Silverton Chamber of Commerce
426 S. Water St., Silverton

Proceeds benefit the
Silverton Chamber of Commerce.

They have plans to attend Ladies Night Out in March, volunteer at The Oregon Garden’s Brewfest in April, take trips along with their monthly dinner dates and Bunko games.

A Wilsonville resident, Shannon, 43, has to allot extra time to drive to visit her friends in Silverton. That time is worth it because she leaves their gatherings “more energized, more joyful, more hopeful and more satisfied with who I am and what my purpose in life is.”

It is important to make time with friends, Shannon added, because maintaining close friendships is crucial to our emotional health.

“Every woman needs a safe place to share the sorrows, worries, upsets, blessings and joys of life,” Shannon added. “There are just times only a good girlfriend will be able to see you for you and reflect your potential, your light and the innate goodness we all have within us.”

While Paetra and Rosi have known each other since high school, they were out of contact with one another for 20 years.

“Our daughters discovered each other and became best friends in grade school,” Paetra said. “Soon after, we started our Bunko group along with 10 other women.”

Each of the women said there has been a time when they didn’t schedule time to spend with their friends.

“Before having this time with friends, I felt really alone and that everything that came up was either ‘I’m the only one dealing with this’ or ‘I really wish I had someone I could bounce this thought/decision off of to see if I’m on the right track,” Paetra said.

What she enjoys about her Bunko group is her friend’s children are becoming friends. She laughs and says she and the 11 moms have their own spy network so they will know what their children are doing. She’s grateful she can count on her friends to help with her children on days she  needs help.

All said they know women who will say they can’t make the time to spend with friends. They  encourage them to find the time.

“We are all busy grown ups with too much on our plates. The good news is that girlfriends make it easier to bear,” Jill said. “We never make each other feel guilty about being busy and provide support to each other. Even if it’s just listening for 15 minutes on the phone.”

What Rosi, Jill, Paetra, Shannon, April and Kristin all shared is that their friends have a way of making them feel better about themselves and prepared to tackle whatever comes their way.

“These women make my life happier, more joyful, better and easier…always,” Jill said. “If your girlfriends don’t do that for you…find some new girlfriends. Surround yourself with positive women who have a deep belly laugh. My girlfriends and I allow ourselves a few minutes of complaining but really stay focused on being positive and uplifting.”

Yes, Shannon said, their friendship requires work. It takes planning. But it is worth it.

“With each day that passes, each week that melts away, each year that fades, I am more and more grateful for my close friendships,” Shannon said. “These women have soothed me, supported me, stood by me and most of all, loved me. I am wholly blessed to call them friends and in essence, sisters.”

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