This post has been brewing in my head for a long, long time. Nothing in particular sparked it, but many little things prodded me to think a lot about it.
I am not a gal’s gal. Growing up, I preferred friendships with guys because there was no drama involved. My mom is a lover of the drama, and I knew this at a young age. There was always some falling out she was having with someone, but then they’d be best friends again a month or so later… Until the next round of drama. It was all very confusing for me and seemed like such a waste of energy. No thank you!
I had to learn on my own how to be friends with women, and more importantly, how to be a friend to women. Guys didn’t require much at all out of friendship – all I had to do was show up to have a good time. It was awesome! Eventually though, I grew older and maybe wiser and realized that real, deeper friendships would be needed for the long haul. Eventually, we all couple up and male/female friendships usually fizzle in the interest of focusing on our own romantic relationships. When that fizzle happens, what are we left with if we have no friends of the same sex?
So, once I was in my mid-20’s, I decided to make female friendships a priority. I still had male friends, but my primary friendships were with women. I really struggled with these friendships but usually persevered. I did not make my mom’s same mistakes, but I made several of my own. For instance, I would easily lose touch with old friends left behind in Chicago because they were out of sight and out of mind. This was a remnant from my days of being friends with guys – they never cared if you checked in just to see how they were doing. Women like to be thought of. Who knew? I also said a lot of hurtful things that didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. I tell it like it is and figured that’s just me – but it couldn’t just be me with women. We’re sensitive creatures and until we really know one another, it’s best to not always call it like you see it. Again, I didn’t know that!
I am proud of the friendships I have now. I have a lot of friendships, both IRL and URL, and most are rather solid. I know that each friendship fulfills different needs of mine, just like my friendship fulfills different needs of my friends. It’s weird to think about it this way, but I have different “categories” of friends:
- Closest of Friends – I trust these women with the details of my life. I tell it like it is with these women – they can take it and value that- just like I value their candor with me. These women know when B and I fight, what we fight about, the ugly things I said to him, and how things shake out. These women never hold this knowledge against me or B. I can count these women on one hand – they know who they are. They know that they are cherished. They also know that I have their backs in return – I would do anything for them.
- Great Gal Pals – These women are easy to laugh with and share much with. Things don’t get near as intense in conversation with them as they do with my closest friends, but conversations flow easily and two ways. These friends make life fun and easy, and entertaining. These friends are fun to banter with on FB or in comments of blogs. I feel very free and light with these friends.
- Mom Friends – The name of this category seems pretty lame, but it is what it is. These women make me feel good about my parenting, or rather, my failings as a parent. Ha! They make me feel normal. They make me feel sane. They help fill my days. We all help each other out when needed or just desired – I would watch their sick kid in a heartbeat so that they could get their other kid to some activity or appointment. We laugh about our husbands, we talk about poop, we silently mouth the swear words to each other in conversation. As I was writing this post, a group text conversation with my mom friends got a moms’ night out scheduled for next week. See? Sanity!
Many of my friends fall into 2 of the above categories at once, which I think is normal. I like how my friendships with women have shaken out. I like that I have so many different types of friends, all enriching my life in many ways. I like knowing who I can turn to for what needs, and I like being a support system for my friends. I don’t need to be super close to all of my friends, but I do need to always be a good friend to each of them in the way they need me.
I have no time in my life for drama. I am not my mother – I don’t particularly like drama. I like interesting stories and situations, but drama is just not my thing. I’ve learned how to let go of friendships that bring no value to my life, especially when they bring nothing but drama. I have been surprised by some of the friendships I do have (like a super fun gal pal on FB who was in my high school class and although we got along well, we were never what I would have called FRIENDS), and I’ve been surprised by some friendships that have fizzled. I don’t spend time analyzing either type of situation – I just go with it and enjoy each friendship for what it is, what it brings to the table, and what I bring to their table.
It’s a good place to be, and not a place I ever thought I’d be back when I was hanging out with all of those guys. I mean, let’s face it – those guys would have been happy to talk about poop – but only their own. Bring up the topic and contents of a little person’s poop with any of those guys, and they would have run for the hills. So not what I need and value right now! 🙂