I met Markle on the first day of college. There she was, audaciously defending Hitler and making a spectacle of herself. Needless to say, my first impression of her was not very positive. If someone were to tell me that day that she would end up becoming one of my closest friends, I would have laughed. However, here we are seven years down the line and this girl today is an integral part of my support system. That’s the beauty of a strong female friendship; it’s free from judgment, and it helps you discover new sides to your personality.

But my relationship with Markle was not always this strong; neither did I have any other close female friends. Back in college, I was in a relationship which left me with a limited social life. My partner was fulfilling my emotional and intellectual needs. Thus I never felt it necessary to cultivate meaningful and positive relationships with other individuals. This is a common phenomenon, where young women prioritize romantic relationships over friendships. However, time and experience teach us the importance of having positive female friendships. It was only when I went through a personal crisis that I realized the value of a strong female support system.

While women have been supporting one another for centuries, we grow up in a society where women are often pitted against one another. Phrases such as “a woman is a woman’s worst enemy” are used abundantly. The media dictates our perception of an “ideal woman,” while subconsciously teaching us that anyone who does not fit into this mold is not good enough. Pop culture shows female friendships in a negative light and dictates that such relationships are riddled with needless drama. Young women also fall trap to the misconception that in order to be desirable to the opposite gender, they must be a “guys’ girl.” The truth, however, couldn’t be farther removed from these misconceptions.

Strong female bonds have historically provided women with attention, affection, and an outlet for intellectual discourse. The camaraderie and kinship one feels around close friends are vital for our emotional wellbeing. Although the nature of these relationships changes over the years, its criticality only increases. Be it a bitter breakup, mental health issues, career advice, or something as trivial as culinary tips, female friendships have always helped women wade through the treacherous terrain of adult life. Factors such as similar life experience and shared value systems help women understand each other better.

Life can get pretty rough, especially as we grow older. It is this emotional and mental connect with female friends that make life slightly easier to deal with. And the few moments of laughter and happiness that women steal from their busy lives are made better when shared with your girl gang. Markle is undoubtedly a ray of sunshine in my life. So, keep the Markle in your life close to you and see how this bond transforms your life for the better.

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