I learned some very valuable lessons through these failed friendships, and as each one crashed and burned, it helped me weed out the qualities that make a friendship work. I started to look at the lasting friendships I had formed since becoming a mother (because let's face it- it's a little harder for us moms to find friends we click with), and have put together a list of a few things that helped me.
1. Pick other moms. All of the crash-and-burn friendships I've ever had have been with non-mom friends who were single. For me, I can honestly say that trying to be friends with someone who doesn't have kids is a lot harder than being friends with another mom. You seriously argue with yourself and say that you can be friends with a non-mom or single person, but my track record proves itself, so I don't fight it anymore. The people back on the east coast that I'm still friends with and have been friends with for years- all moms. That's why I hate being a military wife some days- I still want the gay guy friend, but it would work better if he was the stay-at-home-dad type as my next door neighbor, and that's not going to happen any time soon. Dammit.
2. Stay within your crazy level. Honestly rate yourself on a crazy scale from 1-10 and pick friends at the same level of crazy as you. If you go below your own crazy level, there's a chance they will dump you as a
friend, but if you go above your crazy level, there's a chance you'll come home from a date night out with hubby and they'll be sacrificing a chicken in your living room in the name of trying to win the lottery. Honestly, I'm about a 8, I think. It's hard to find other 8s on the crazy scale because it's so close to 10, and those are the straight-jacket women. But, the other 8s I have found, I'm still friends with to this day, and it's because we understand each other's bat shit crazy days. It helps to have friends just as mental as you.
3. Call a new friend "Hookerface" and see how they react. If they call you a "slutbag whore" back, keep them. If they are offended, don't force the friendship.
4. Relax. The older you get, and the older your kids get, the more crap that life throws at you. So, if you don't talk to your best friend in 3 days, don't freak out. When you are young, it's understandable to talk to your friends every single day, because you have a job, maybe school, and that's probably it. We moms have kids, school, practice, jobs, houses, spouses, after-school functions, errands, appointments... and the list goes on. True friends can pick up the phone after not speaking for a week or two and say, "Yeah, sorry I haven't called. I felt like staying in my pajamas all week and catching up on my shows. Cool?" and they'll get a reply of, "Hey, that's what I was doing all week, so I understand completely."
5. Look for similar interests. I've heard the whole 'opposites attract' thing when it comes to friendships, but for me, it's not a winning idea. I am a bitchy, foul-mouthed, tree hugging, eclectic, sarcastic, artsy,
6. Don't pursue the sugar-coating-s*it friendships. I've had one friend for years now who, to this day, is always telling me, "Stop lying. That is NOT why you did/said that. You can't lie to me," and I can turn around and call her out on her crap, too. I've had another friend for years who simply told me that she couldn't handle the person I was a few years ago and she would contact me again when she felt the time was right. I didn't understand it at first, and almost a year later when I truly sat down and looked at my life, realized it was shit, that I wasn't myself anymore, and took steps to get my life back on track, she emerged once again. We had a huge heart-to-heart talk, and there were no hard feelings at all. I was a downward spiraling bitch, and just as I had to distance myself from toxic friends that I mentioned in yesterday's post, she felt she had to distance herself from me until I figured my shit out. Honestly, her distancing was one of the things that helped me realize I wanted myself and my life back, and not the one I was currently living anymore. Surround yourself with people who know you- truly know you, accept you for who you are, and help you be the best person you can be. If that means calling you out on your shit, then sobeit. But don't keep people in your life you have to sugar-coat shit with. It's just not worth it. And if you have to change who you are just to be friends with someone, then remind yourself that you aren't in high school anymore, and doing that is one of the dumbest things you could ever do. Be yourself. If people don't like it, then screw them. At the end of the day, you are the person you have to stare at in the mirror.
7. Steer clear of Sumter, SC. A few of my best friends to this day are people I met there, but all 5 on yesterday's list live there, too. It's like trying to pick through coal that has been shoved up people's asses to try and find a diamond. I was lucky enough to find a few diamonds, but holy crap, the amount of asses I had my hand up has left me with need for a lifetime supply of hand sanitizer. No wonder I preferred staying in a xanax state while I lived there.
When I think of the friends who have
... Or yelled and screamed at someone who was supposed to be bailing me out of jail but was getting a manicure done instead...
... Or was sitting next to me in the jail cell saying, "Well hell, that was fun"...
... Or who, if I were to show up at their door with a shovel and an 'Oh, shit' look on my face, would simply call back into the house, "Honey, I'm heading out for a few hours, but Morgan and I were here with you all night," then look at me and say, "Come on, I know a perfect place to bury the body, but we need to run by Lowes first to get some lye."
Those are the friends I am happy that I've kept in my life over the years.