Did you know that it’s International Women’s Friendship Month? OK, I didn’t either, until I got a press release about it.
Good timing, though. When September rolls around, I think a lot of us take stock. Cull our social media. Reassess connections. Prioritize and reconfigure. When life gets busy, who do we choose to spend time with? How do we make those choices?
I asked busy women what they considered important in a good friend. Anybody can like an Instagram post or send a text from time to time. But what makes someone an actual, true friend?
Being there even when you’re not fun, or if you can’t do fun stuff.
Checking in, even if you’re both busy. A simple “Hey, how’s your week going?” goes a long way.
Remembering the small details, like asking how your mom is if she had surgery, or the date of a loved one’s death, and acknowledging it.
Reminding about unhealthy patterns (in a gentle way).
No expectations: You don’t have to clean your house or put on makeup or look good to hang out with them.
Like a good therapist, they know your personal history: The name of the bad boyfriend from high school, the mean third-grade teacher who picked on your son or the idiotic bully mom who confronted you on the playground five years ago when you were newly postpartum and burst into tears.
Like-minded, non-judgmental, funny and adventurous.
Not in competition with you. They can show their worst selves to you without feeling the need to one-up you in the kid department, house department or marriage department.
They’re a sounding board; they don’t try to provide solutions.
The best quality is understanding that I’m still just as much a friend despite not having as much time to invest in the friendship, and not making me feel guilty about it.
Someone who you feel totally comfortable with and is there during good times and bad. Also, someone who you make great memories with even during otherwise basic times, like grabbing a bite to eat along the ocean or catching a late-night movie.
Someone who loves my kids and looks out for them, but who also sees me as my own person and not just as their mom.
A friend connects with you in a way that leaves you feeling proud and happy to just be you. Genuine and authentically you.
Understanding that sometimes the activities need to be child-friendly, and yes, that’s a priority.
Keep asking, even if I haven’t been able to do it the 100 times before. Maybe this will be the night!
Let’s be honest: Proximity can be huge, too. I find that my relationships with people nearby have really blossomed since having kids. It’s nice to be able to walk to your friend’s house after the kids are in bed for wine and whining.
A good friend is someone who doesn’t need to be asked to do something, who persists even when you say you don’t need help, who does the little things and who is genuine.
Friends “get” you and don’t judge you. They know what is important to you (do you care about being on time? or about great food? or sleeping late?), and they respect it. And, most of all, when you need them, they show up. In my opinion, “showing up” is top priority.
What do you think makes a good friend?