Do you remember in high school, before cell phones, texting and Snapchat, when you and your girlfriends would call each other on the phone to talk about what you were going to wear to school the next day? I do. Inevitably, the conversation turned into plans for the weekend, who was dating who and the teacher who was giving us the hardest time that week. At that time in my life, Saturday 5:00 Catholic Mass was really just a social event for all of us where we went through the motions of Mass, yet were more concerned about plans for that evening. While I am a Believer, I haven’t attended Mass in decades, but that’s a story for another time.
As we got older, headed off to college and met a new girlfriends from around the state or country, our conversations didn’t change much. We still talked about clothes, plans for the weekend, the dating scene and the professor who was giving us the hardest time.
After college, a lot of us went our separate ways. Some of us went to grad school, some got married, some went back to our home towns to get that first adult job.
Still BFF’s All These Years Later
While we didn’t have acronyms back then (such as BFF), my heart is full knowing that girlfriends from high school and college are still close friends all these decades later. We haven’t always kept in touch, yet it’s comforting knowing we can go months without talking and pick up right where we left off when we do.
For some of us, we are two marriages, several kids, a couple of careers and cross-country moves later.
When I went through my divorce, my girlfriends were my rock. They were there to lend a shoulder to cry on, scream or just listen until I was all talked out.
They were there to listen when the kids were teething, potty-training or sick and when every day as a new single mom blended into the next. It wasn’t easy and I was there for them, too, sometimes talking for hours with my dear sweet friend, Denise, who was trying to navigate a divorce, health challenges and 3 kids all at the same time.
What We Should Have, But Didn’t Talk About
Throughout the years, we talked about A LOT of stuff. Kids, divorce, husbands and when we were all going to meet up again. The one thing missing from any of our conversations during those trying times, especially during divorce, was money.
I know, it’s not an easy topic to talk about. We can feel embarrassment and shame. I get it, personal finances is personal, But, why is it we can talk about sex, also very personal, but we can’t talk about money with these very same girlfriends?
When I look back, I see why for me.
I grew up in a household where kids were literally told:
- children should be seen and not heard
- money is the root of all evil.
- nice girls don’t talk about money.
and, of course… that’s for the grownups to discuss.
Children should be seen and not heard:
I have (or had) an uncle (I haven’t talked to him since the 80’s so I have no idea if he’s still alive) who would literally tell his kids (my cousins) to ‘put their mouths in park’ whenever they started speaking. Nice, huh? No, he wasn’t a very nice man at all. As for me, my lesson was that children don’t have a voice.
Money is the root of all evil:
Thank you, Catholic Sunday School for impressing upon me that money is bad. This is probably THE most misquoted and misused verse of the Bible. The actual verse, 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” Big difference.
Nice girls don’t talk about money:
I actually grew up in an entrepreneurial family, although at that time, we just called it a family business. Oh, the irony! So, while I grew up learning a strong work ethic, I never learned how to handle money or how to even talk about it. As you can probably tell by now, it wasn’t a topic for discussion in our house.
Girlfriends, We Have to Talk
WE HAVE TO TALK about money. Our relationship with it, how it makes us feel, our security, insecurity, our habits, our power and everything else associated with it.
As unbelievable as it seems today, there was a time when topics such as divorce and sex were considered shameful. Crazy, I know.
Today, they are as common as it gets. It didn’t happen overnight, though. It took time and people willing to step up first, regardless of what anyone else thought, to start the conversations.
How about you? This matters, you matter, I matter. I don’t want to see another girlfriend in financial crisis or ruin because she was too afraid or ashamed to ask for help or reach out to a girlfriend.
So, let’s start those conversations, OK? Will you join me?