5 Tips For Supporting Your Friend, A Woman In Ag!
Maintaining relationships as a woman in Ag is fraught with unique challenges. I'd love to share some thoughts and experiences that may help grow your friendship! A few days ago a friend and her family stopped by unexpectedly. We hadn't seen them for quite a while due to their circumstances and this ever-changing, all-encompassing, crazy agricultural lifestyle that we have as well. We talked about how much we had missed visiting with each other and a quick visit turned into at least an hour. It was wonderful to reconnect with them. It felt like reconnecting with long-lost friends who just live a few miles away.
Towards the end of the busiest season women in ag come out of the fields and pastures to begin reconnecting with life outside of ag once again.
During our visit I felt the need to apologize for not being a better friend and not connecting more often. My hubby and I began to throw out thoughts and ideas for get-togethers, double dates, kids play dates, etc. Then, I began to feel like a "needy" friend.
During the busiest season its hard to connect with friends. Then during the slower season, for farming friends -from harvest, through the winter, until seeding, and for ranching friends - after calving, haying, and weaning, its easy to feel like you become the "needy" friend as the feeling of urgency to reconnect with friends reappears. I look forward to refilling my cup by renewing friendships every fall! But, all too soon that time and opportunity will come to a screeching halt again.
It takes vulnerability and mindfulness to express how you're feeling about your role in the friendship, and that although you feel like the "needy" friend it is because you value the friendship and want to take every opportunity to reconnect. It is so important to express those feelings so that the relationship can grow and thrive.
Sometimes its hard to put all of those things into words, so I'd like to offer some insight and tips for supporting your friend a Woman in ag!
How do you support a friend who is a woman in ag (farm, ranch, homestead)?
Seek to understand her lifestyle! Ask questions. Be willing to meet her in the field.
Rest assured that she is definitely not avoiding you. She frequently falls into bed at night with so many things still left undone, including calling you, the friend with whom she'd love to reconnect.
Trust that she does value your friendship, even if you don't hear from her consistently. Sometimes, when you know you're going to get interrupted in the middle of a phone conversation with a friend, with important instructions for whatever ag role you are playing at the moment, you begin to figure "Why call? I'll wait until I know I can have a complete conversation." And that time may be a long time coming.
Know that even though she works alongside her husband, she'd love a relaxed date night with him without the kids. She hates to ask for help or childcare, especially when she feels like she hasn't been able to invest as much as she'd like into your friendship. If you can offer that, it'd mean the world to her!
A quick "hello, thinking of you" text goes a long way! She appreciates the thought so much and that simple message can go a long way in making a stressful day brighter.