I got to do a truly fantastic thing this week…
I got to make a guest appearance on my dear friend Beatrice Kamau’s podcast, The Self Love Fix, where we had a real, raw conversation about forming deep, lasting friendships!
If you don’t know Beatrice, she’s a self-trust embodiment coach who helps bad bitches magnetize their desires with ease through shadow work and developing self-trust…and happens to be a bad bitch herself! This week, we sat down together and discussed all things friendship, jealousy between female friends, and why vulnerability is the key to any relationship, even platonic ones.
Beatrice: So, Michelle, let’s have a conversation about friendship. We’ve been friends since 2020. For everybody who’s new to Michelle, we actually met in a mastermind together, so we’ve been there with each other through it all: through business things and relationship things, all while forming a friendship along the way.
A lot of people think that as an adult you can’t find friendships…or at least, you can’t find friendships with depth. People think you’re just going to have your coffee friends, or maybe going-out-for-a-drink friends, but not friends that you could have deep conversations with. What do you have to say about that?
Michelle: For me, I’ve always had really surface-level friendships, honestly. I had a lot of party friends—at least, back when I could party. Now I can’t stay up past 9:00 PM. But back then, my “friendships” were all based on fun, not actual depth. Or, if they weren’t party friends, a lot of my friendships were based on mutual misery. Both of our lives were going so terribly that we could really relate over how shitty our lives were. And in the place I’m at now in my life, I just don’t want to be in that space anymore.
I hear a lot from women that making friends and forming deep friendships is so hard, that it’s difficult to find—and this is such an overused, cringy word, but I can’t think of a better one—“aligned” friendships. And I get that, but when I ask them why they don’t put themselves in spaces where they could meet people who are into the same things, they’re immediately like, “No. I will not be doing that.” Well, don’t complain then!
The reality is, you don’t even necessarily have to go out to find community. Beatrice and I have actually never met in person, but we have such a deep friendship because we’ve connected over shared spaces and passions.
Beatrice: There are so many beliefs attached to what a deep friendship looks like and what the “requirements” are. Whether it’s a certain length of time, or maybe having gone through similar things…maybe even mutual misery, like Michelle mentioned. But none of that is truly required for forming deep friendships.
Michelle: That’s true. To me, any relationship, romantic or platonic, requires vulnerability. They require you to open yourself up and to expose yourself on some other level, and that’s what creates true connection.
So if you’re in this space of wanting deeper friendships, but you’re waiting for the other person to go first, that isn’t going to work. You have to just be brave. You have to take the first step and open up, even if it’s scary.
People inherently know that vulnerability is what creates connection, but people don’t have a clean relationship to their own vulnerability. So often what happens is that instead of truly being vulnerable, it turns into emotionally dumping, and that’s where you get those friendships that are built on misery.
Instead of finding deep friendships and true connection, you end up having mutual pity parties. This might be your way of trying to connect through being vulnerable, but instead, it’s just you outpouring all of your wounds. And not everyone has the capacity to hold that for you in that way.
Vulnerability requires a lot of self-responsibility. You can have your emotions and you can share that with your friend, but you might want to check in as to whether or not they’re available to receive that, especially if it’s a big, heavy thing. That’s not to say that you need to be self-responsible and never ever share your shit, but try to be mindful about checking in. Ask them if they’re available to receive that, and being willing to take no as an answer. Don’t just ask as a formality; make sure you’re asking with the intention to actually see what the person thinks.
Why is this a crucial piece of vulnerability? Because the main pillar of safe relationships is boundaries.
They’ve done studies on children at a playground to prove this out. When there’s no fence and it’s completely open, children will stay a lot closer to their parents, because they don’t know where the boundary is. But when there’s a fence, they’ll play right up to the edge. That’s what creates safety in relationships: knowing where the boundary lies. I definitely feel a lot more trusting of the people that are clear and direct about their boundaries.
Beatrice: Now, we never really connected over misery. That was never really part of our friendship. But something I’ve noticed in us both recently is how we’re really leaning into celebrating each other. I think that’s such a powerful trait of deep friendships, too.
Michelle: Yes! There’s a common saying out there that the people who are there for you when you’re really down, those are your real friends. And while I understand the sentiment of that, I also think you need to look for the people who are there when you’re doing really well. Because what I’ve seen as I’ve started to make a lot of money in my business, build deep friendships, and start an incredible relationship with my partner, some people have had some fucking issues with that. People I would’ve called close friends, people I thought I had deep friendships with. I’ve completely worked it out with some of them, but with others, they just can’t be happy for me. That’s sad, you know, but that also helped highlight something positive that you and I have leaned into. We can celebrate with each other over our individual victories, even if the other isn’t achieving the same. I can see you succeeding, be happy for you, and really mean it—and vice versa.
Michelle: Comparison is a game you can’t win, especially if you’re trying to form deep friendships, yeah? It just breeds jealousy and resentment. I remember our old business coach, the one who ran the mastermind where we met, she talked about comparison a lot with me. I was struggling a lot with that. And you know what she said? “If the people in close proximity to you are doing really well, that’s something to get really excited about, because that means it’s really close for you.” If all of the people I have deep friendships with are doing amazing shit, that must mean like I’m right on the cusp of it also. So celebrate with your friends, even if you’re not reaching the same heights. Otherwise, you can fall into the trap so many female friendships end up in: jealousy.
Comparison with other women is so deeply ingrained in what we call the feminine pain body. It’s something that we as women feel as a collective. It’s this ingrained energy of having to fight each other to get the guy, to get the job, to get the money, to get the success or the visibility.
It’s such a lack mindset, and there’s not space for it in deep friendships.
I had sooo much fucking fun getting to hang out with Beatrice this week. Hopefully this proves that you can still have absolutely fantastic friendships well into adulthood, and it doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds!
Are you ready to get off the hamster wheel of going on date after date that goes absolutely nowhere and learn how to date with confidence and clarity? Sign up for Swipe Right, a six-week program for women who want to date like motherfucking queens: https://michellepanning.com/swipe-right
I get it, girl. I’ve been there too. For years, I was going through the same experiences with men over and over again that left me feeling confused, anxious and pissed off.
I silenced myself in dating and relationships because I was terrified of being judged, rejected and abandoned. It all changed when I went through a break-up and thought “enough is enough. I cannot continue to repeat the same relationships with different men! Something HAS to change!”