On the Cathartic Power of a Girls’ Trip

Last weekend, I drove down to DC with a my girl gang from high school. It seems a little weird to call them my “high-school” friends because I met most of them in elementary and middle school, but the group wasn’t solidified until the middle of our high school careers.

We all went our separate ways after graduation, or at least I did. A lot of them ended up going to the same school but they’ve all branched out into the new people a new school has to offer.

Since then the gang has gotten back to together three times each year: Friendsgiving, sometime over winter break, and the May party after we’re all done with spring semester. Different iterations of the gang will see each other at other times, but for the most part the true girl gang is limited to those three events. And even then not everyone is always there.

img9546192Back to last weekend, five of us drove down to DC to meet one of us who is interning there this semester. The first three hours of the drive we didn’t realize we weren’t listening to music because there was no lull in the conversation.

The whole weekend followed that pattern of unending conversation, whether we were brunching, shopping, or getting midnight tequila shots to celebrate a 21st as soon as we legally could, even if those tequila shots were significantly more expensive than we were expecting (Seriously, bars should have to put prices in their drink menus). We talked about relationships (or lack thereof), career developments (or lack thereof), friendship and family, funny stories (or stories that were at least funny in retrospect).

After that weekend of constant conversation and venting, I felt better, more motivated, more myself in a way even though I didn’t know I wasn’t feeling myself. And maybe it’s because this trip coincided with the dawn of spring and that I started drinking coffee again, but this week has been my most productive and least anxious about the impending future of being an English major stereotype (unemployed).

So why did this reunion trip with my girl gang have such an effect? Why did it feel different about my weekly wine nights with my school friends?

I think the catharsis I felt after these conversations can be boiled down to 3 reasons:

1.)  Distance+Time= The Good Stories

I don’t see them every week so I wasn’t getting their most interesting bits of the last five days. I was getting the highlights of the last three months. It’s like watching a movie instead of a month of daily vlogs. I wasn’t seeing what they ate for breakfast because who really cares about that? We were all able to package our stories a little nicer and only pick the ones that actually ended up being stories worth telling.

2.) More reflection, less reaction

Most of the stories took place a while ago so the story teller had more time to process their own emotions and reflect on why the situation went down that way and to create a plan for the future. If the story teller is more reflective then the story-listeners can be too.

3. New Ears

The girl gang also acted as a fresh perspective for things we’d been thinking about for weeks. No one already knew the stories so none one was already bored of the topic. The things I’d been worrying about for weeks/months (what is post-grad life?) were completely new to them and they were able to offer new pieces of advice (or commiserate).

img954840New friends could do the same things by hearing all your old stories but I’ve known these girls for 8+ years so they’ve got the backstory and we stopped trying to impress each other a long time ago.

This trip went beyond our thrice-yearly meetings because everyone got to talk about themselves as long as they wanted and there wasn’t a time limit. We got to talk not only about the deep stuff, but also the dumb stuff, the scary stuff, the annoying stuff.  Also we made some new inside jokes #rolltide.

In short, go more places with your girl gang.

Also, credit to Em (@emilybrisbin) for making that awesome graphic for the trip. (I’m the tall one)

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