Welcome to motherhood where your time for friends is very, very, very (did I say very?) LIMITED. Use it wisely. It is good to set boundaries. Determine how close you want to be with someone, how deep you want to go. We all have levels of friendships! Just because you are a mom and so is she doesn’t mean that you have to be friends. There are several levels of friendship, but not everyone makes the cut. So evaluate your season and then make some cuts.
Now let’s talk levels. Acquaintances (level 3 friends), Groupies (level 2 friends), Golden Girls (level 1 friends), and Ride or Die (bull’s-eye friends).
- Level 3: Acquaintances. These are your “hey,” “good to see you,” “cute top,” “nice jeans” (thumbs up with a wink because you know she probably has done a million things to earn her way back into those jeans). It’s good to be friendly and exude kindness. This is a necessary level of friendship. It teaches us to acknowledge others and be warm and friendly in any situation.
- Level 2: Groupies. We are all a part of different groups: mom groups, church groups, community groups, work groups, school event groups…etc. You may connect with another woman/mom and really enjoy seeing them at these groups. You guys always text the day before, meet in the parking lot, and make sure to stick together at the event. You laugh, share, and may even share some intimate details of certain areas of life. You can offer each other advice, condolences, and encouragement. And next time you see each other, you check in. You may meet up here or there for a play date or cup of coffee, but generally you aren’t showing up at each other’s houses. These friends are usually limited to your common location. Again this is a great group of friends. You enjoy the group they are in with you and you each offer a perspective and outlook that can benefit the other person. You aren’t best friends but you value the person for who they are and what their strengths are. A mutual admiration so to speak.
- Level 1: Golden Girls. You’ve usually got 5-7 of these girls. These are your everyday life friends. The ones you text funny pictures to, go to dinner with, discuss some of your daily issues with. These are the girls who can tell you like it is, hurt you feelings, and hug you all in one meeting. They want you to be your best and will help you see what that is. You exchange challenging questions and cut the crap. You are real…really real. You don’t necessarily have children the same age but chances are some of these girls do. You want to be around these girls, you look for opportunities to hang out, and you make plans. These relationships are a priority. They are not one sided, and most of all they are honest, vulnerable, and genuine.
- Bull’s-eye: Ride or Die. These friends are like family. It usually takes years for someone to enter Ride or Die status. These are the Level Ones who have stuck it out, kicked you into gear, and arranged an intervention when you have derailed. These are your go-to people. These are the people who know your skeletons, have walked the hard times, have celebrated the best times, and never judge you for it. These are the people who love you just the way you are but know you will continue to change and are willing to push you to be better. These are the friends you can’t live without. You share you heart, your deepest struggles, your fears, your good, bad and ugly. Usually there are only 3-5 of these girls. They are hard to come by and almost impossible to replace. Distance, location, nor any amount of “busyness” can keep them away! You are in this rollercoaster of life…for life!
Next, let’s talk about deciding who is in what level. Sometimes we have to decide, and sometimes relationships just evolve and happen. But let me say this: It is ok to friend shop.
Friend shop? Yes! It’s a thing.
When you change stages in life you need some new friends. Don’t throw out all of your old friends (trust me many of them will remove themselves anyway), but as you make new friendships and let others dissolve…choose wisely.
Friend shop. Accept play dates, lunch dates, invitations to mom gatherings, ladies nights out…etc. Say yes! Then go! Show up and be yourself. Don’t try to fit in when you get there, just be you. There will be at least one other mom that you click with, someone you can be authentic with, someone who shares your title of mom, but likes you for you. Your Bull’s-eye is hard to get into and rarely does anyone get out. But the other levels are fluid; they change with stages of life, locations, and general life circumstances. You can’t be friends with everyone, and just because you are both moms doesn’t mean it will work out either. AND THAT IS OK. Do some shopping, friend shopping, and find those great jeans…I mean friends.
Choose wisely with whom you spend your time. Lots of people will try to weigh in on your life and your choices…unfortunately you cannot stop them. But you can wisely choose with whom you surround yourself. Choose the relationships where you laugh, you are encouraged, not torn down, where another woman speaks truth into you as a person and into your role as a mother. There are many challenges as a mom, so don’t make your life harder by allowing negative influences or people to drag you down. It doesn’t matter if your kids go to the same school, take the same lessons, or play at the same places.