A few months ago, I remember seeing a Facebook post on a local moms’ resource page; it was by a woman seeking friends. At first glance, I sure thought the post was, well, very different. She wasn’t asking the group for advice about breastfeeding, proper swaddling or potty training tips. She was actually asking if anybody wanted to meet up for play dates and become friends.
I didn’t laugh, and instead, I felt a little sorry for her because there was a hint of desperation. But, I kind of understood. Maybe she was new to the area, or maybe she wasn’t, but regardless, she was clearly craving friendship. I don’t blame her…I hope she has since found some new friends, because having real friendships is so important. After all, we know that often play dates aren’t just for the kids; they are a way for moms to cope and interact and get rejuvenated on the high of spending time with a trusted ally.
Most of us have different circles of family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and acquaintances…and even a potpourri of people we really wish we didn’t have to ever encounter again. Who is truly in our circle of friends/trust circle? Who makes us laugh? On our most difficult days, who do we turn to? Who do we want to share our accomplishments with, or contrarily, cry/vent to during tough times?
So, here’s to friends that are family, and family that are friends…the top 10 signs of a real friend, in no particular order!
10) They give you advice
And it’s such good advice, stemming from a good place. Real friends know you so well that they genuinely want to help, and well, they kind of know exactly how to help because you’re their beautiful, beloved, crazy friend. They’re not as much of an expert on you as you yourself, but sometimes it is eerie how well they know you. And they are your cheerleader! Having a true friend’s advice is undoubtedly invaluable; it’s reciprocal and it’s like a 24/7 free counseling/sounding board if needed. Yay! Goooooo friendship!
9) They aren’t “askholes”
Real friends take your advice, even if just some of the time. Nobody wants an “askhole” for a friend. You know, the one who sucks you dry emotionally by constantly asking for advice, but then never actually follows your suggestions. UGH! When you see you have a new text from an “askhole,” you can’t help but cringe and try to put your big girl pants on so you don’t completely lose your mind. You have to take a deep breath and tackle that situation as gracefully as possible, knowing you can never get this time back and that your friend is ultimately going to repeat the exact. same. behavior and make the same decisions he/she always did before. It’s refreshing to have friends who come to you for advice and then trust and accept your advice, at least occasionally!
8) They can let things go
Now, I’m not saying that real friends should be pushovers. But, true friends do tend to let things slide. They don’t get bogged down by small irritations or details; they don’t read into your texts or facial expressions, trying to overly decipher your tone or intent. They usually don’t take offense if you are cranky, forget something or accidentally delay a response. They love you, so they accept you and your flaws. They’re not going to get upset as easily or stop talking to you over the small stuff. And, they’re not going to talk smack about you behind your back!
In college, I remember one of my flaws was doing really stupid things after nights of partying. I loved acting stupid and making people laugh. Well, one such night I decided to stand on top of my best friend’s car, dance and yell, “SUCK IT!” (I was really into watching wrestling during that time; so weird, I know, but living with several male roommates apparently rubbed off on me. “Do you smellllll what the Rock is cooking?!”) Anyway, even though the next day my friend found a couple of dents on the roof of her car (oopsie), she couldn’t stop laughing and she didn’t disown me. Thankfully she wasn’t mad; but she was happy (as was I!) that the dealership could plunge those out for free. Woo hoo! All these years later, and we’re still besties, but just in another stage of life…adulthood, parenthood and responsibility (sigh). No more dancing on tops of cars for me! It was a good run while it lasted though.
7) They have your back
Can you believe she wore *that* outfit today? Seriously, did you see what her latest Facebook status was? Can you believe she was chewing her food like that? Did you hear what she said yesterday? I can’t even.
(Cringing) Yessss, you know this is just how it is sometimes, ladies. It’s often petty. It can be lame. Deep down, we know this. It’s not always attractive, but it’s life, and it happens. Gossip. Backstabbing. High school-like drama in the adult world. At work. At the mall playground. In mom’s groups. At the gym. At freaking children’s places. The good news is your real friends care about you and always have your back, even if it resorts to them making snarky comments to you about those who have wronged you; you know, because they care about you and don’t want to see you get hurt. Like, omg, did she really just look at you like that? It doesn’t help reduce our overall judgy society, but deep down, it comes from a good place?
6) Tipsy texts
They feel comfortable enough (literally) to send you drunk texts, and they don’t get mad when you send one their way when a little tipsy. It’s “wine and whine” time, friends, so the more emojis, the better! Granted they may not remember all of it, so you may need to embarrass, er, remind them about it later, but hey, that’s ok!
5) No drama
Hahahaha at the “no” before “drama.” Ok, so let’s not kid ourselves; where there are human relationships, there is ALWAYS going to be drama. Period. It may not be crazy drama, or exciting drama, or even interesting drama, but there *will* definitely be drama at some point. It will be about a comment someone made. Or a text someone sent. Or a post someone made. Or a look someone gave someone else. It’s inevitable. I once belonged to a book club (past tense because of drama). Seriously, it was a freaking BOOK CLUB, so you would think it could be drama-free, but nope. People got upset about book selections or meeting times or the types of discussions or the places we met. If that’s not exhausting, I don’t know what is. Time for a new chapter!
The good thing about having genuine friends is that at least the drama is greatly reduced, and if it does arise, it is usually fleeting. Real friends know time is valuable and we shouldn’t waste it on doo doo (let alone book club doo doo). Let’s just smile and laugh together as much as possible!
4) Vault status
This one is critical. A real friend trusts you with their heart, their angst and their times of confusion, and vice versa; you need that reciprocity in a strong friendship. It’s comforting to know you have vault status with a friend, and you can completely open up without worrying if they’re going to tell six other people and the mailman your business. With vault status you feel heard, you feel loved and you feel less shackled to your problems because someone has given you an outlet…and not just any outlet; a safe, confidential one.
There’s nothing like sharing all sorts of tips, horror stories, sex stories (turns out the laundry room is good for more than just laundry! Wink wink)…anything adult and everything good, especially for a mommy to be reminded she’s more than just a mommy.
3) They are there for you all the time
We’re all busy, but we undoubtedly make time for what’s important to us. We make our friends a priority because they are a priority to us, not just a convenience. And they can happily blow up our phone in between hang-out sessions. Even if we don’t get to see our buddies all the time, when we do see them, it’s like we never skipped a beat.
2) They don’t flake on you
Yes, things happen and life happens, but your real friends try real hard to be on time…and to keep your scheduled “dates!” Flakiness gets really old really fast, so we appreciate those close friends who value our time and genuinely want to see us!
1) They make you laugh
This one is my favorite. I love to laugh, and I love making people laugh! When your friends “get” you, it makes it easier to be yourself and act as goofy as you want at times without fear of judgment. As we all know, laughing (and pizza…definitely pizza) is so good for the soul!
I have a longtime friend who, while our boys are running around playing trains or pretending to be “Ghostbusters,” loves to re-enact ridiculous online pictures with me. We Google certain phrases, see what hilarious pictures pop up, and then try to re-enact the same poses and expressions. I cannot tell you how hard our recreations make me laugh! Yes, it’s so stupid and pretty childish, but we love it; it’s therapeutic to be around people who love to laugh as much as me!
Surrounding yourself with those who uplift you, encourage you and make you spit out your drink on the way to work because of a funny story they shared or a quirky comment they spouted out is THE best. Life is too short; removing toxic people is easy when you focus on the real treasures in your life.
I was ignorant to think that after college or the workplace, making new friends was not on the radar. I’m so blessed to have the friendships I have now, several of which were established in my adult years.
So, although it may be a different approach, I say good for those individuals using friends apps or posting online in search of new friendships; hopefully they can safely find ones that enhance their lives, fill any voids and make them a little happier in this crazy little world.