Saturday, June 8, 2013

The 12 Friends that Every Woman Needs (and 3 to Watch Out For).

I will post more about this past week, and my bday weekend probably tomorrow, but I thought I would talk about friendships. I was inspired to write something on this, from a magazine article I read a while back. I am NOT copying it; I am only writing from my point of view...and the friends that I think are important.... So many women think need to have friends who are in the same stage of life as they are....married, moms, kids with the same ages...and while that IS important, it is also important to have OTHER friends from other demographics. Why? So we can learn from each other. We all have different experiences, and we can give each other feedback and encouragement, and they can bring different things to the table, and can offer a different perspective of/on things...here are 5 different friendships that I have found to be important.

First..let me define friends..these are not work, nor family (although I will talk about that). They are people that you chose to have as your friend in your life. I am also mainly talking about real life friends...although I know a lot of us have online friends, and they are not to be disregarded. I have a lot of online FB friends (and penpals) that I connect with on an almost daily basis. However, I am mainly talking about friends that we connect with and in our daily lives.

1. The older friend. Honestly? Most of my friends are older than me (this does not include..although it can..your family..mom, aunts, grammas). I have always seemed to connect more with ladies that are at least 10-15 years older than me (or older). They have had more experience. For one, they aren't trying compete with life. They have finished raising their kids, may or may not be retired, and have decided that the "young" stuff just isn't worth fighting over. They (for the most part) don't have an attitude (although I have worked with ladies who have attitude...), and they know what they want. They may or may not be parents/grandparents, or may or may not be married. It doesn't matter...it is important to have at least one (or more!) friend who has at least a decade older than you. One of my best (non-family) friends is a lady in our church. I go to her and talk to her about LOTS of stuff...when the two of us go for coffee, we talk non stop! We have fun and laugh..a lot!

2. The younger friend. Not all girls (I am assuming we are talking about girls here) are ..well..you know. Last year, in my English class, one of the girls who was 19 and I got to know each other and connected fairly well. We still text to this day, are on FB together, and chat about school, and life. This last year, one of my closest  classmate friends is 22 years old. Again, we just connected. Of course, I am friends with all the other girls, but she and I somehow really connected. We hung out together, I went to her house to help her study...we talked about our pets...Why can younger friends make good friends? Well, I think it is because they are full of life, full of wonder, and have the world at their fingertips. They aren't jaded by life's experiences, have confidence (even to the point of being arrogant, but we wont go there!!). They are excited about the adventure they are about to go on (again, it doesn't matter if they are married or not, have kids or not). Also, if you are both going to school, they make great study buddies. They are in the "school/study"mode, and have all the tips and tricks on how to help you study. Plus, they have a young and fresh view on/of life.

These next few I am going to combine....depending on your demographic...

3. The Married (if you are unmarried) Friend...Yah, I remember when I was single, I thought married people were annoying. And yes, we can be. But as a single, my married friends offered some good advice on life...(they also offered some clichés, which bothered me), don't rush into marriage, enjoy being single...to name a few. You also get to see an insight into their life. Marriage isn't perfect, and it is good for singles to see that (and vice versa). The single and marrieds CAN interact together and still get along! However, Singleton, try not to flaunt your crazy single life in their face:)

4. The Single Friend (if you are married). Yes...as I have stated..it is not sinful to hang out with your single friends (including widows and divorcees)! We CAN be together. You BOTH have something unique to offer. Your single friend is probably pretty crazy; she may want to go out and try new things, or maybe she has more free time than you. That's ok. You can BOTH enjoy each other's company, and learn from each other. Ask her what she likes best about being single, and she can ask you the same thing.  You can explain (nicely) that marriage isn't all good all the time, and although she is probably wanting to get married, encourage/remind her that once she gets married her time is not her own. Please stay away from using too many clichés. Please remember, though...try to not talk about your marriage ( and SEX) ALL the time when you are with your single friends...it can become annoying (unless you came to them and asked specifically to talk about it). Trust me. I have been there.

5. The Mom Friend (if you don't have kids). This is probably the hardest one for me. Because I don't have kids, it can be especially emotional and a bit sad being around children. If you can handle it, however, this is a great friend to have. Again, you can see her side of life...you can enjoy her kids, and then go home..give her kids candy, then go home..you get the idea! When I am with my nephew, for instance, I can enjoy him, but I also realize how TIRED I am when I am done. I am SO GLAD to get home to MY OWN space, MY OWN time, and I can DO WHAT I WANT! You enjoy the kiddies, then go home. 'Nuff said. You realize that being a mom is tough. You are always worrying about the kids...you get to see a side of your friend that you may have never seen before. They are a mom...they have other worries and needs other than what you see and know as a girl friend (Again, it doesn't matter if they are single, married, divorced, etc). That being said, they also have dreams, thoughts, ideas, and experiences that go beyond (or before) having kids. Ask them about their life before having babies. What did they do? Did they work? Do they still work (as your friend, you should know this..but you know what I mean)?

6. The Non-Mom (Married) Friend (if you have kids). Please, oh, please still hang out with us! Just because we don't have kids, it doesn't mean we are idiots. We have ideas, thoughts, feelings, too. Ask us about our lives, our dreams. If you know she can't have kids due to health reasons, ask her how she is doing once in a while. Acknowledge her on Mother's Day. Have your kids give her a card to their "Aunty". Give her a flower. Don't be offended if she doesn't want to come to your kids' bday parties (esp if they are younger children...I know being around younger kids can be hard for me), or to your baby showers. But please, oh, please don't spend 24/7 talking about your kids ALL the time! It gets annoying, trust me. I've been there. Save all that talk for your mommy/play groups/dates.

7.The Family Friend. No, I mean, family. You know, your mom, sister, aunt, SIL, Grandma, girl cousin (or "in-laws"...you know..your boy cousins wife, etc) You know what? Some of my closest friends are family. I call my aunt at least once every two weeks, my SILS at least once a week (I try), my cousin once a week or so, my mom..well, you get the picture. Two of my aunts are almost like my second moms. My cousin is like my (annoying!..LOL) older sister. It doesn't matter if they are younger or older than you (although most of my female rellies are older). It is nice to have someone to go to talk about someone else in the family who you don't maybe understand, or they really do annoy you, and you maybe need their advice and experitise on how to best approach them. My mom told me that when she got married, she and her brother in law started an "{last name| in law" group. To talk about their frustrations of being married in the family. Ok, it wasn't a group, but they would get together and talk. True story. Every family has their quirks. Enjoy yours!!

8. The Family Guy Friend. Ok, this is a bit harder to explain, but I will try. You know when you want some man advice, but you don't know who to go to  (yes, you can go to your pastor, and that is a good idea, too), or maybe it is some family advice you want to seek, but you don't want to go to your brother, dad, etc? Family guy friends are great for this. These are guys who are family, but they have not been in your family for very long; my aunt's hubby has only been in our family for about 12 years, my cousins hubby about 13 years. Yes, they are family, but in my opinion, they are different...kind of like "in-law" family (as I described above). You feel comfortable going and talking with them about guy-related stuff that you may not feel comfortable going and talking to another guy relative about.

9. The Non-Christian (or of another Faith friend). I have a lot of non-Christian friends. Ok, not a lot, and we are not totally close, but I love having friends from all different walks of life. I LOVE hearing about other cultures, religions.  Again, we can all learn from each other. Sometimes, when I have a problem, I would rather talk to my non-Christian Friend than a Christian friend about it. They have a different view, and we Christians can get so "preachy" with what and how we say things.  "God knows",  "I will pray for you about it" (which, btw, these are all good things to say and know). These things, while good, can get tiring to hear all.the.time. Talking to someone else who doesn't have a faith (or a different faith) can give you another perspective and life-view.(and also, it shows your Non-Christian friends that you aren't perfect).

10.The Christian (or of Faith) Friend. This is pretty much the same as above. If you aren't a believer, we still enjoy hanging out with you. We like to hear your ideas, thoughts, your dreams. You can offer  us advice that our other Christian friends can't.

11. The Online/Blogging/Facebook Fried. Ahhh...the quintessential online friend! How many of our "friends" on FB are our real life friends? I would say that nearly half of mine are online friends. Ones who I have never met. We can offer advice based on what we see online. We don't know each other. We are brought together by several groups, blogs, etc. I have a lot of TTC friends on FB. Another blogging friend has made friends from TCOYF. There are online boards (not so much chat rooms, but those as well) that bring people together. We have been brought together be some sort of connection; PCOS, TTYC, a disease, weight lose, childless momma groups, Baby loss groups. Sometimes, THESE friends are the only ones who truly can understand what we are going through, and can offer advice and encouragement with out judgment or lack of knowledge on their part.

Ok..this is getting long..sorry..but here is one more...

12.The School (or College) Chum. You know the one. Maybe you went to elementary or high school together. You have seen each other through bad boyfriends, marriage, babies. You bring out the school or college year book, and can reminisce for hours. I have a few friends in this category, but not a lot. I went to Bible College for one year, and I STILL have friends who I connect with on FB. Although we don't talk as much as we used to, we can connect on some special level that will always be there.

...And the 3 Friends You Should Watch out For:

There are those that we KNOW we shouldn't be (close) friends with..ones who are rude, swear (A LOT), users (not THAT kind of user...lol), arrogant, obnoxious, selfish) but I have found that there are some ppl who are friends with "friends" who really aren't (or don't want to be) their friends at all...

1. The Non-Reciprocate Friend. I have a few of these friends. I love them dearly. I ask them for coffee, and they don't respond, I say hi or leave a msg for them on FB, and they don't respond. There are some friends that I am ALWAYS initating things with, and to be honest, it drives me nuts. And while there are ppl in your life that you can't get rid of (family, etc), you don't need them in your daily life. If you can't leave them be, at least minimize your time with them.

2. The Needy/User Friend. You know the one. They ask you to look after their kids, pick them up, run your errands for you, who call/text you. all.the.time. They never ask you about you, they never offer to help you, or if you do ask, they say no. They always talk about themselves. You don't need them. Let them find new friends to use.

3.The Problem/Negative Friend. You know who they are. They always have problems (and want you to solve them), and want advice, but they won't take your advice, and grow (up). They are always down(and no, I don't mean in a depression), they always have something wrong with them (not so much health-wise..but that can be involved too). They don't want to move forward in their life. They always call you up; to talk about the problems in their life. If you are ok with spending your time with someone, then go ahead, may God Bless you, but watch out for your own mental and emotional health. Don't let yourself become bogged down with their problems.

Please Note: With the three above mentioned "friends"; there are times (and will be more times) that we will need our friends more than usual. I am NOT talking about times like that. I am simply talking about the friend who has this going as a regular part in their life. We will all have times when we NEED our friends!!!! There are times when we will get a disease, have a baby, an accident, and we will be called upon to help them. I am not talking about those types of circumstances.

Well, I think that about covers it. I hope I have made some sense:) Happy Saturday!

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