If you’re looking for an actual how-to guide for planning events, this isn’t it. But my ebook, Plan a Fabulous Party {without losing your mind}, is exactly that – and it’s 50% off with the code GNO.

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending two “girls-only” events. I spent Friday night at a trendy restaurant, sipping a martini and laughing with friends. Then I spent Saturday afternoon at my mom’s house, eating tiny foods and drinking from a tea cup with family and friends.

As if that weren’t enough to make you think I’m a spoiled brat living a life of leisure, tomorrow night I’m going to a movie premiere with my best friend, and on Saturday I’m going to spend several hours scrapbooking with a group of friends I used to work with.

I don’t normally get quite so much friend time or girl time, especially so much so close together. Honestly. But something about these first two weeks of March has meant I practically taped a “No Boys Allowed” sign over half of my calendar!

After the mental whiplash of going from Friday night’s girls night out to Saturday afternoon’s tea party, I started thinking about what exactly makes a perfect get-together for women.

Is it simply the lack of testosterone? (Maybe.)
Does it have to do with fewer kids and, therefore, fewer interruptions? (Possibly.)
Is it the location, the theme, the people, the food? (I don’t think so.)

Given that I have had a great time with women I love in all sorts of places, for all sorts of reasons, eating all sorts of food off of all sorts of plates, I don’t think those details – the ones that stress us out or make our day, depending on exactly how hooked on Pinterest we are – are the key.

I mean, really, if we had to create a set of “girls night out rules” based on the four recent and upcoming events Ilisted from my own life, it just would end up one long list of contradictions.

Send invitations in the mail.
Create an event on Facebook.
Pick the date that works best for you.
Ask everyone what date they can meet and compromise.
Go out to dinner.
Stay in for snacks.
Serve alcohol.
Don’t serve alcohol.
Splurge on a fancy meal.
Don’t spend a dime.
Wear a dress and some eyeliner.
Wear your yoga pants and bring your slippers.
Spend your time visiting quietly.
Spend your time laughing loudly.
Spend your time watching a movie.
Spend your time working on a project.
Make all the food yourself.
Make it a potluck.
Paper plates.
Fine china.
Trendy restaurant.
Drafty clubhouse.
Bring your daughters with you.
Get a babysitter.

See what I mean? Just like the groups of women I care about and enjoy spending time with are vastly different, so are our get-togethers. What they have in common, though, is way more important than the type of plates or invitations or what we wear.

Every time I meet up with women I care about, no matter what the event itself looks like, the same things happen: laughter, sharing, encouragement, storytelling, more laughter, eating (often), crying (occasionally).

Is that all that happens when women get together? Is it all cupcakes and Tupperware and hand-made cards? Do my female friends and family never face awkward silences, never get dirty looks from other restaurant patrons when the laughter gets too loud, never get too tipsy, never snap, never spill, never judge? Have I actually managed to find the only women alive who never compare or criticize or exaggerate or interrupt or roll their eyes at the exact wrong moment during your Very Important Story?

Nope.

Please. The women I know and love? They are all human – just as human as me. And sometimes our humanness, our brokenness, our ugly comes out. Sometimes it can’t be helped. But sometimes, we can move past all that and simply have a good time.

That’s what makes a girls night out successful; it’s what makes those occasions so special. The lack of drama means way more than the lack of men. The focus on what we have in common is way more important than our ability to focus without the interruptions of children. And the memories we create and goodwill we build is infinitely more valuable than any appetizer or craft project we could make.

When was the last night you had a girls night out?
What made that time special for you?

Psst. Are you looking for a reason to get together with other women? (in)courage has just the thing for you! (in)RL is hundreds of meetups all around the world, all taking place on April 27. It’s like a girls getaway weekend – without the packing or the cost! Find a meetup near you, or host one yourself!

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