With the exception of early elementary school, when the girlfriend pool was too shallow for me to find my tribe, I have always had a cornucopia of friends. Some of these friends have been in it for the long haul, some have faded away because of distance, maintaining contact through Facebook only, and some are newer friends. The newer friends are mostly other moms or co-workers, and some of them are people I’ve never met in person. Blogger friends.
I am beyond blessed when it come to my girlfriends. Many of our life experiences are different, the political views run the gamut, they are responsible and they are carefree and impulsive. I have friends who speak with kindness, and friends who are nothing but frank. My friends live abroad, and they live in my hometown. They live across the street and next door.
Not everyone needs a ton of friends. But everyone needs friends, and for me, there are a few who are priceless.
The Fun Junkie
This friend is always doing something fun. She makes you want to do fun things, too, and sometimes she’s able to drag you off the couch and into her fun world. Often this friend is married to another fun junkie, and they are raising little fun junkie kids. Stay close to these folks. They’ll flip you tons of shit if you go to bed early, but they’ll show you a good time when you’re forced to stay up late.
This friend works hard and plays hard, and is often in excellent shape. Being so awesome must burn lots of calories.
The Religious One
This friend is the one who reminds you to “Speak the truth with love,” and to go to church. She isn’t perfect, and doesn’t claim to be, but she wants to be better, and she makes you want to be better, too. You can always count on her for some good strong prayers, and she can be trusted with some pretty serious secrets.
This friend may not belong to the same religion as you, but that probably doesn’t matter. The religious friend is spiritual and behaves in a way that is more selfless than the rest of us.
The Responsible One
She is the one who books the reservations, always has snacks for the kids (hers and yours) and hand-sanitizing wipes for everyone. She is prompt and thoughtful, and she makes you feel safe and taken care of. In a good way. She reminds her flighty friends (me) of school dress-up days and fun, local events.
Don’t take advantage of your responsible friend. You aren’t her kid, so don’t act like it.
For me, this used to be the friend who understood the crazy life of a retail manager, and now it’s the friend who understands the crazy life of a writer, or a stay-at-home parent.
They stay-at-home parent doesn’t need you to explain that sometimes when you have a free moment, you don’t want to spend it chatting on the phone, you just want some quiet. That the blessing of full immersion into your kids’ days often feels joyfully light, but at times feels like a stifling weight. This friend knows the surprising amount of mental energy spent in a day with small children.
If you are a working parent, you’ll want a friend who feels the pull to be at work and at home. That the need or desire to work outside the home doesn’t make you any less of a mother than someone who stays home.
The writer friend knows the joy and terror of sharing words with others. This friend understands the amount of work involved in what many call a hobby, and the thrill of actually making money! She will celebrate your promotion or your inclusion in an anthology, and she will call you out on your crap in the way only an insider can.
The Friend with Older Kids
This friend will hook your kids up with hand-me-downs, and she’ll drop tons of parenting knowledge on you. It’s best when this friend actually parents the way you do, or the way you hope to. When my second child was born, I asked a friend who had two kids how she managed a newborn and a toddler. She said, “I’m not gonna lie. There was a lot of TV involved at first.” This was a parenting tip I could use. And I used the shit out of that simple suggestion.
This friend should also have a good memory. My sister-in-law asks me baby questions all the time and my standard response is, “I don’t remember.” Or, “Didn’t I give you a book about that? Why don’t you read it.” Sometimes I do a quick Google search while I’m on the phone with her and pass that information off as my own.
Sometimes, my religious friend is also my fun junkie friend. Sometimes the responsible one is also the friend with older kids. I like the fluidity of my friendships, and I understand that these friends won’t always be the same people. Since I am consistently inconsistent, I also shift categories, and I am a different friend to different people. I can, however, always be counted on to say something inappropriate, and to graciously accept any food or drink offerings. That’s kind of my thing.
What kind of friend is on your list? What kind of friend are you?