So, now that you have followed my fool-proof 5 step plan to make Homeschool Mommy Friends (read post——> here) you have the skills to make new friends. It’s time to start building your tribe because one friend here or there is great, but a group of friends is AWESOME!
You may be asking me: Why do I need a whole tribe?
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The answer is simple: you need a friend to satisfy all of the many facets of your quirky personality and complex life. Friends are the people you choose to share snippets of your life journey with, so choose friends that fit those snippets. Each of the friends in your tribe will fulfill a different, but important part of your friendship cup.
Here are the friends I think everyone needs in their tribe…
(***Note to all of my friends: While I have chosen specific friends to highlight in this post, you are all very valuable to me and most of these categories hold a combination of each of you.***)
The Friend that is Your Best Friend
Of all of the friends in your tribe, the BEST friend is probably the most critical one. This is the friend you feel most connected with. For some people, they find a best friend early in life and stick with her through all of the chapters of their lives. It takes other people longer to find that special friend. And still others move from best friend to best friend with different chapter of their lives.
Whatever the case, I believe it is absolutely vital to have your one special friend that no matter what, you know that person loves you. A best friend is the person you feel most yourself with because she accepts the good, the bad, and the ugly in you. Your best friend still wants to go out for girl’s night with you even when she is the most innocently sweet woman ever, but you take her to see Django because you heard it was good but have no idea what it’s really about. (Right, Denise?)
We live in a society that is constantly moving so it is very possible that you or your best friend will move away from each other. The beauty of your best friend is that no amount of distance between you or time between seeing each other will change the strength of your bond. Talking to your best friend even after months have passed by is like talking to her yesterday.
The Friend That Is Your Cheerleader
We are often our own biggest critic. A friend that cheers us on as we embark on any life journey will keep us motivated to march on, even when we feel like we might be failing. Our cheerleader friend is there rooting for us when we try a new hobby, have a new baby, start a new career, or just cook a new dish. This friend is a positive force in our lives propelling us forward with encouragement. She reminds us that we are strong, capable women that can accomplish anything (even our craziest ideas) if we set our minds to it. Your cheerleader friend helps you work through your plan for success and happily promotes you in every way possible.
Hopefully, we are also a cheerleader for this friend because her positive, encouraging force inspires us to reciprocate.
The Friend That is Your Mentor
We all have heroes and people we look up to. Many times those people are celebrities or famous people. I mean, we all look up to Ghandi and Mother Teresa, right? But sometimes it’s someone we know in real life and when we can become friends with that person and get to know them on a more intimate level the inspiration makes more of an impact.
The mentor friend will always be there with experienced words of wisdom. She is the friend that can tell you all of the tips and tricks because she’s already been there and done that. You can ask her for her advice and feel confident that the advice she gives you is sound. She is a fabulous sounding board because she can see the likely path your infantile ideas will take as they come to fruition. I also love that the mentor friend will give you ideas you might never have considered and suddenly you are embarking on an exciting new journey (like homeschooling) because the idea your friend gave you resonates with you (which she knew it would) (Thank you Dee).
The Friend That Challenges You
This friend is the friend that teaches you tolerance because her spiritual, political, or social beliefs are so different from our own. Despite our differences, this friend and you share mutual respect and are more able to have open and honest discussions or even arguments without feeling that your friendship could end. The friend that challenges us gives us the opportunity to learn and grow by questioning our belief system in a loving and respectful way. We may not change our opinions, but we are more likely to take the time to consider opposing ideas and will do more research into our own ideas to give them more strength.
The Friend to Have Adventures With
Whether your idea of adventure is trying a new restaurant or climbing Mt. Everest, you absolutely must have a friend willing to do it with you because all great adventures are much more fun with someone. If you are less adventurous, your friend may be the person to draw you out of your comfort zone and try something new like sky diving. If you are more adventurous, your friend may be the person that fuels your most outlandish ideas with ideas of her own. I don’t believe that becoming wives and moms marks the end of our adventures in life. We certainly will take adventures with our spouses and children, but adventures with friends can be self-awakening. We discover ourselves when we are able to remove the labels that regularly define us (i.e. Mom, wife, teacher, chauffeur, cook, etc.) and we find that we are interesting human beings again.
The Friend to Be Healthy With (Or not)
We are all getting older and with age comes health problems. The good news is that you can add to your tribe someone that will encourage you to get healthy whether it’s eating a healthier diet or joining the gym and taking classes. Your healthy friend can give you someone not judgmental to be accountable to when you eat a gallon of ice cream on a bad day (or as I like to call them- a week day.) She will also tell you how much fun yoga is to trick you into going to yoga class where you will later find out that yoga is soooo boring, but now that you’ve gone you have to keep going with her. The bad news is that when you and your friend go out, you’ll probably be the “ugly friend” because of course she is all trim and cute and looks good. So of course, you’ll secretly hate her for how perfect she is.
To balance your healthy friend, you also need a friend that will splurge on all of the forbidden fruits with you. I mean… within reason… When you need a scoop or two of ice cream or 5 margaritas, you need a friend that is going to be crawling out the Cantina door with you. It’s possible that your healthy friend can also be this friend (you’ll hate her a little less this way) or you could be this friend for your healthy friend. Either way, I always believe in balance and if you have a weight on the side of health and exercise, you should have a weight on the side of junk food and being lazy.
The Friend You Can Be Weird With
We all have an inner weirdo and it takes a special kind of friend that not only accepts you at your weirdest, but can be just as weird as you. This friend never lets you down when you need to laugh because she always has the perfect thing to say or do that will remind you of your silly side. In a world where we all feel pressure to be the Pinterest perfect, ideal wife/mother/woman it’s really comforting to have someone in your life that gives you permission to be so much less than perfect. Because we are not perfect. And while we can uphold a certain demeanor of perfection for a while, we must have an outlet for the weirdo that is brewing just beneath the surface.
As For Me and My Tribe
When I was young, through high school and nearly all of my young adult life I had few friends, many of which were very negative influences in my life. Sure, we had fun, but a lot of times it was at the expense of my own growth and self improvement. There was a moment in my 30’s when I really needed true and good friends the most that I realized how alone I really was. My “best” friend told me I was one of the most self-centered people she knew, that I was not a good friend, and that I was not worth the effort of working to improve on our 20 year friendship. She threw our friendship away.
For several years after I hung up the phone from the phone call where she “broke up with me” I really struggled. I was afraid to be myself. I worried constantly about being a “good” friend to the point that I couldn’t let people in. I couldn’t allow myself to be close to people. I already had a very crumbling self-esteem and that person that was supposed to have been my “BEST” friend for the last 20 years of my life destroyed what was left.
But I’ve come out of the dust stronger. I’ve realized what it is to be a good friend and what it means to have good friends. I work hard to be a positive force in my friends’ lives, encouraging them, uplifting them, loving them, and being there for them. If you read my note at the beginning of my post, I’ve chosen to highlight a few of my friends here, but the reality is that I have filled my life with a huge variety of people. And I try to be a good friend to each of them, because I need them, and I hope they need me.
Maybe I am spreading myself too thin and losing the connection with these beautiful women, or maybe I’m just so complex that I need so many people to compliment the many facets of my life. Whatever it is, I have now filled my life with women that are strong, positive, encouraging, and beautiful inside and out. I feel a connection with these women that is more profound than any connection I have ever had before. I have true friends that want to give me a shoulder to cry on when I’m sad and celebrate my joys with me when I am happy.
I hope that I can give each of these women a modicum of comfort knowing that I am their friend. I hope they feel how special they are to me, and know that they have made my life better because they are in it. I hope that all of them know that I am here to be their friend, even when they may feel alone. Because my tribe, large as it may be, is filled with women I don’t know how I could ever live without.