“I don’t come to you for warmth, I come to you for honesty, so, thank you,” my friend Kelly said to me over a video message. I laughed hearing that is who I am to her. She’s right, I’m the practical friend and she comes to me when she needs some level-headed friendship. It got me thinking about the different roles my friends play and how they all make out a well-rounded friendship circle. These are the friendships I need, and from talking with my friends, most moms need them, too.
1. The practical friend.
This friend is the one that will talk you down from an emotional ledge, by offering some surface-level empathy with some examples or solutions to make things easier or more workable for your situation. She sees a need and she handles it. She’s the one staying after the party is over and doing your dishes while you put your kids to bed. She helps minimize your stress in hopes of making life easier.
2. The always empathetic, tuned in to all the emotions friend.
She’s the one you go to when you need a good cry and hug. She’ll probably cry along with you and offer you a cup of tea and turn on some emotional music. She’ll randomly message you that she loves you.
3. The organized, problem solver.
This friend is one you go to when you are in a pickle and cannot figure how to work out a problem or want a real-world, direct solution. Completely level-headed. She has backup plans to the backup plans and is great for organizing group outings. This is her niche, and she knows it, and she shares it well.
4.The accountable, sounding board.
She’s the friend that will always keep you on track, no matter the course. If you’re training for a marathon, she’ll check-in and see how your training is going. If she hears you skipped a day, she’ll watch your kids so you can get a quick run in. If you’re trying your best to speak kindly about that hard-to-love person, she will stop you once that first syllable of snark exits your mouth. She knows your heart and your intentions and wants you to succeed in everything you are called to do.
She’s the one that has the same type of crazy. You can vent to her and you’ll get a reply of “That stinks, and reminds me of my family member – they do the same exact thing and it drives me crazy!” She has the best recipes for comfort food. Nothing you say will surprise her. This is the friendship that gives you comfort in knowing you aren’t the only one struggling.
This friend is “fun one,” the one that will try CrossFit with you, go on a girls trip to celebrate your love of Harry Potter, will force you into uncomfortable situations because she knows you’ll have fun once you loosen up, and will travel hours to see you when you’re sick in the hospital or to meet your new baby.
I’m not saying you need six active friends (as an introvert, that sounds exhausting), but these are the bases that should be covered. You may have a friend that fills more than one of these categories or a few friends that share bits and pieces from each.
These friends also don’t have to be local, but they are still available, no matter the distance or the amount of time that has passed. They will carry you through the hardest parts of your life. They will watch your kids for doctor appointments or date nights or just to give you a break. They will teach you new things and how to love others well. They will be your cheerleader.
These friendships are gold and are to be protected and valued and loved until death.
Bonus content: There is a type of friend you don’t need. The friend that brings drama and hurt to your life. The one that tells you you’re doing things wrong, because you aren’t doing life their way. The one that belittles you to make them feel superior. The one that doesn’t apologize for hurting you. That’s not friendship, that’s abuse, and you don’t have to tolerate it.