No, I’m not talking about “the one” as in a husband. I’m talking about the MOM best friend. You know, the friend every woman has in every movie. She picks up the phone at all hours and calls this person to talk about anything and everything. Some people reading this may say “oh yeah, that is definitely Sarah and me”, but many others are filled with unrealistic expectations of what this friendship should be.
For many, college years are filled with a large group of friends and countless late nights, spring break trips, and coffee hangouts. My college experience was just this, and fortunately, many of those friends are still good ones. But, like anything in life, time changes many things. Our close friends have moved far away and even for ones who did stay close, schedules have changed and life moved on. Not to mention, we all grew up. In our prime college days, there wasn’t much conflict in our little Christian bubble, everyone agreed on the big things. Now, our friends may have different views on politics, theology, finances, and even parenting styles. I still treasure the relationships that started back then and continue to grow and adapt to our changing lifestyles.
Most of our friends got married at the same time that we did. And then a year after that, everyone started getting pregnant. We truly are blessed with a large group of people in our same life stage, with toddlers everywhere. We’ve talked each other through pregnancies, celebrated gender reveals, shared breastfeeding tips and baby sleeping advice, and now, how to discipline toddlers – ha! While most of us consider our husbands as our best friends, there is such a need for that good girlfriend who can relate to this season of life.
When we look for “the friend”, the one who we’ll do vacations with for the next 40 years, we often set up too many criteria. We think to ourselves: they have to have kids the same age and gender as mine, and attend the same elementary school. Her husband obviously has to be best friends with my husband. We must attend the same church, have the same hobbies, and by all means, we must be on the same political page. Despite what we may think, or what movies tell us, there is so much beauty in having a variety of friends who differ from us.
You’ll most likely have friends who you see as above you, that you scrub and clean for before they arrive, and then you’ll downplay your house to them when they arrive. And you’ll have the friends who show up wearing slippers, a messy bun, no makeup and have a sink full of dishes. You may have friends who are on the same page spiritually as you and attend church with you, but on the weekends, your hobbies look completely different. You may have the friends who ask deep and hard questions that challenge you, pray and encourage you. And you may have friends who keep it surface level but are the first to jump at a spontaneous outing. You may have the friends who subconsciously applaud you for your opinions. And you may have friends who look, think, and vote differently than you. By all means, please be friends with people who look, think, and vote differently than you! There is so much to learn when we look outside our little bubbles! You may have friends that you’ve never argued with before because you think the exact thing at all times. And you may have friends who leave you a little frustrated, but also have you thinking a lot about what they said in their boldness. You may have friends who aren’t married, don’t have kids, or have kids who are significantly older than yours. I can’t tell you how much wisdom comes from all of these friendships! My single friends keep me grounded and make sure I don’t forget to have a girls weekend every now and then, friends who don’t have kids yet help me to focus on my marriage, and friends with older kids have so much wisdom on parenting.
All to say, sometimes its better to have a large group of friends that bring so much to the table, instead of one go-to friend. So go! Push yourself to engage with someone who may be a little different than you. And while you’re at it, try to be a little perfectly imperfect. Many times, we aim to be hospitable toward our friends but instead let the pressure to create the perfect home or meal get in the way. Have someone over and don’t change your slippers! Don’t clean the house to perfection, make some mediocre coffee, and be transparent about who you are! This is where some of the most sincere and authentic friendships are born.
What kind of friend are you to others? And what kind of friendship do you need in your life?