Caution – there are a lot of Leslie Knope references today. However, any post on friendship really needs to reference a true friend like Leslie. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
“Good friendships are like breakfast. You think you’re too busy to eat breakfast, but then you find yourself exhausted and cranky halfway through the day, and discover that your attempt to save time totally backfired. In the same way, you can try to do it alone because you don’t have time or because your house is too messy to have people over, or because making new friend is like the very worst parts of dating. But halfway through a hard day or a hard week, you’ll realize in a flash that you’re breathtakingly lonely. Get up, make a phone call, buy a cheap ticket, open your front door. Because there really is nothing like good friends, like the sounds of their laughter and the tones of their voices and the things they teach us in the quietest, smallest moments.”
~Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet
I never thought I had to spell out the obvious about the value of friendship: having a loyal and devoted group of extraordinary friends is extremely important for all of us to have. You need to count on good friends to share the happy, goofy, awkward and downright horrible moments of life, whether or not you’re single or in a committed relationship, whether or not you are close to your family, or if you’re living in a modern Montague-Capulet type family feud.
For one, you need balance. You can’t rely on a single person for everything, emotionally or otherwise. While your boyfriend, husband, or life partner might think you’re the funniest person ever, or be a great shoulder to lean on, they won’t always be available to you – they might have a busy work schedule, hobbies that might not involve you, or
simply not understand certain things about your life, no matter how much you try to explain. And this isn’t a bad thing – learning to be independent is good, no matter what stage of life you’re in. What’s more, there are certain things that only friends can understand because they’ve shared some very special moments or challenges, that nobody, not a significant other or family member can share. Of course, you need to be well-rounded, so of course, don’t ignore other important familial and romantic relationships. I’m just saying don’t give up on friends if you have a healthy and happy bond in another relationship circle.
All Eggs In One Basket? Don’t Leave Your Friends By The Wayside
I don’t know how many girlfriends I’ve had who were good friends only when they were single, but the moment they had a significant other they disappeared. This always made me really sad for them because things didn’t work out with a lot of the guys for whom they tossed aside their besties. And when things didn’t work out, sure maybe we’d be there for them once or twice, but after a while of seeing the pattern it was hard to be there for them in quite the same way as before.
For me in particular, after a friend showed her true colors (or priorities), I would realize that I too needed to reevaluate where she stood as well. Because after doing this to her friends several times, you’ll know that she was going to be very alone instead of having a devoted group of friends to lean on in her moment of need. This moment doesn’t exist only when she breaks up with Mr. Right, but even if she’s in a genuinely great relationship. But what if Mr. Right has a really busy work schedule, or if he’s deployed, or if has very manly hobbies that you are simply not interested in? And don’t you want friends to hang out with for girly things, like getting your mani-pedi, a heart-to-heart, talking about what birth control works best, or getting excellent shopping advice? I’m not trying to be cliché, but there are some things that your man might just not want to do, or talk about. And both of you will be much happier if you have close friends to do it with instead of dragging him along, or having to go with his best friend’s girlfriend who rubs you the wrong way.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had plenty of amazing friends who are in very healthy, happy relationships, but who also keep their friends close. And just from observing both types of friends, I’ve noticed that these besties are the happiest ones. Sure, they’re busy on Friday nights when they have a special date night, or go out of town for romantic getaways, but they also make time to stay in touch with their besties. Maybe not all the friends they’ve ever made, but for the one ones that are truly important to them. They’re the ones who don’t feel this loneliness when their significant other has to take a business trip – because that just means they can have some Me-Time or a Girl’s Night Out!
Be A Good Friend
In my humble opinion, it’s as simple as being a good friend. Call your bestie up, send her a goofy postcard, or be there for brunch. She’ll be the most devoted person in your posse. She might be overly-enthusiastic, like Leslie Knope, but you’ll never wonder where she stands, unlike those two-faced co-workers who gossip behind your back, or those guys who don’t call you back after what you thought was a perfectly fun date.
She’ll always laugh at your jokes (or laugh at you when your jokes lie flat). She’ll tell you that the leopard print leggings you’re currently showing off on a weekly basis might not be the most flattering outfit in your closet. And she will probably laugh out loud when you trip down two sets of stairs in front of your boss. But she’ll be there to make sure you’re ok before laughing, I promise! And she’ll hold your hand at the emergency room, until you push her aside when the cute ER doctor comes in to ask if you’re doing ok. (Ok, ok, let’s dream on…) But she WILL shove YOU into the arms of a cute guy whom you’re too dense to see is flirting with you. She’ll know you better than yourself, and might come over with Ben & Jerry’s when you’re having a rough week. She might also confiscate said ice cream if she knows you’re on a kick butt health quest!
She’ll know what songs to put on your playlist for your roadtrip adventures together (Shake It Soñora by Pitbull, duh!) She’ll choreograph sweet dance moves to your favorite song, or practice the routine to that song in Something Borrowed with you. She’ll have a perfectly horrendous nickname for you, or remember all the nicknames you give to men you’ve had, dreamed of, or insulted on tv. Of course, she’ll appreciate how hard you tried your hand at “crafting” when you that card you made her out of construction paper turns out lopsided and more like a second-grade art project. And, she’ll know just what to say to you when you’re having a fabulous, horrendous or blush-fest kind of day! So don’t forget your friends, whether or not it’s Galentine’s Day. Remember, they need you just as much as you need them, and breakfast! And in the end, you’ll have amazing bridesmaids who actually care about you, besties to share your froyo love with, and girlfriends to giggle with on a stormy night. I’d like to take a minute to thank all of my AMAZINGLY patient, loyal, hilarious and goofy friends! Thanks for getting me, putting up with my nonsense and teaching me what it means to be a good person! Murky buckets! <3
What do you value the most about your besties? Do you agree that you need family, romantic relationships AND friends to survive? Is it tough to balance friendships, work, family and romance?
Please comment, share your thoughts and let me know what you think. Please help me keep this a positive forum, though. I am so excited for some debate, but let’s respect each other please. I reserve the right to monitor and delete inappropriate posts. Thanks in advance!