Here’s What My Friends Can Expect From Me

It’s been a while.

We’re just not doing it as much as we used to.

There’s a million reasons why.

But the real reason we’re not doing it, having girl fights, is I’m just not interested in that kind of relationship. And I’m pretty sure my good friends feel the same as well.

So you can imagine how surprised I was to find myself in the midst of a girl fight after a nearly 10-year hiatus from friendship drama.  It came out of the blue and I still haven’t quite made sense of it.  The details don’t really matter, but it ended ugly.  The friendship is still intact, but so is my memory.

I may forgive, but my memory won’t forget.  Once you see someone’s true colors, it’s hard to turn back.

I think the mark of a really good friendship, the kind that lasts a lifetime, the kind you value, the kind that makes you feel lucky is the ability to disagree, maybe even fight.  But the truth of the matter is, when you have a really good friendship, the kind that lasts a lifetime, you don’t really need to fight.

You have each other’s backs.

You give each other the benefit of the doubt.

You’d never consider being unkind. It just wouldn’t occur to you.

You’re a tribe, even if there’s just two of you.

Girl fights can do one of two things for a friendship, end it or make it stronger.  Because any kind of fight lets you really see what the other person is made of.  And it shows who you really are as well.

The real you is the person in the midst of conflict who gets mean and dirty, or who takes the high road and keeps your mouth shut. The real you is the person who’s competitive with a friend, which is probably an oxymoron. The real you is the kind of friend you are when your friend isn’t around.

Like most women I treat my friends and my friendships like a valued commodity. That’s because they are. I’ve spent a lifetime cultivating and curating my list of besties.  They’re my sisters, my pals, my confidants and yes, my tribe.  Even if sometimes, there’s just two of us.

Getting into a mean argument with someone I’d considered part of my tribe took me by surprise.  I’ve spent months thinking about it and replaying the events in my head, wondering what I did to cause it even though I did nothing at all.

When you get married, there are conversations about how the relationship is going to go.  Well, hopefully there were conversations. Sometimes those conversations are even negotiations. How many kids? Where will we live? Who earns the cash? Who spends it?  When Justin and I got married he even suggested setting up some “how we fight” guidelines.  Great idea.  It’s helped along the way and kept one of us from getting nasty (me) or going below the belt just for the sake of it (again, totally would have been me.)

But friendships are relationships without rules.  There’s no ceremony that says, “we’re friends now, here’s how we’re going to treat each other.”  Sure, some of us have unspoken rules about how we treat others that we assume everyone else is in on.  And then personal history, current life circumstances and stuff totally beyond our own control come in to play and you find yourself on the tail end of a girl fight that feels like a sucker punch from a prize fighter.

So I thought I’d set up some friendship guidelines.  In the comments below add your own. And share this, or your own version, with your very best besties.  Though I’m beginning to think that if they are really a best friend, they won’t need it.

Here’s What My Friends Can Expect From Me:

1) My thought bubble will be kind to you.I’m not acting one way and think another. What you see is what you get.

2) I’m not going to talk behind your back and I’ll shut others down if they do.  I won’t  say anything behind your back that I wouldn’t say to your face. And if I hear others speaking unkindly about you I won’t just passively sit back and not participate, I’ll actively demand that they stop and defend you regardless.

3) I‘m going to celebrate your success.  There’s no competition here.  I’m going to be happy for you even if you got something that I wanted.

4) I’m not going to have an opinion on how you do things.  You get to raise your kids how you want, dress as you wish, speak as you like.  And you don’t have to worry that I have an opinion on your life. I don’t.  I think you’re fabulous!

5) I’m going to be kind to your spouse.  The most important person in the world to you is important to me, even if he’s different than the person with whom I chose to spend my life.   Just be careful about telling me if he’s been unkind to you. I’ll have a hard time forgetting that and will wonder why you have a spouse who is unkind.

6) I’m going to like your children unconditionally because they’re yours.  Our kids are all going to go through their “difficult ” phase. Some kids will go through it for their entire life. It’s fine with me. I know you’re doing your best and your kids are too.

7) I’m going to keep your secrets. My cone of silence reaches wide. I’m not going to spill the beans. Your news is your news to tell.

8) I’m going to acknowledge what’s important to you even if it’s not important to me. We may have differing interests, but that doesn’t mean yours are less valuable. If you put time and effort in to something and it’s important to you, it’s automatically important to me.

9) I’m going to show up for you.  If you’re hosting an event or inviting me to see your work, I’m going to do my best to be there. Sometimes it won’t be possible, but I’m always going to try even if it’s not something I would normally attend unprompted.

10) I’m going to include you.  ‘Nuff said.

11) I’m not going to say something mean to you.  And if I do, I’m going to apologize and try not to do it again.

12) I’m going to let you know when you’ve hurt me and I won’t hold a grudge afterward.  Sometimes you’re going to do something that will hurt my feelings. Sometimes I’ll assume you didn’t mean it. But on occasion, I’ll feel the need to speak up.  And when the conversation is over I’m not going to hold a grudge.  It’s over and done.

13) I’m going to think of ways to help you and have an impact on your life.  If I know someone who can help you, I’m going to introduce you. If you’re having a hard time, I’m going to check in on you.  If there’s a way I can help, I want to and I will.

14) I’m going to tell you when I’m concerned about you with no other agenda than your well being.  I’m going to speak up if I see you running yourself ragged or making a choice that isn’t good for you.  But I’m not going to be judgmental, I just want you to know I notice and care.

15) I’m going to invite you to my home, not only for holidays and big events.  You can even stop by without a plan.  Hopefully I won’t having my ugly sweats on! ( I so will).

16) I’m going to apologize when I screw up.  Because I will.

And I’m going to expect you to do the same for me.


*So if you like this post, or even if you don’t, press the FB like button and don’t forget the FB share button. Share this post with some of your friends.  They’ll appreciate it and so will I.

So what can your friends expect from you? Leave a comment below.






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16 thoughts on “Here’s What My Friends Can Expect From Me

  1. We live in a very small community, and a number of parents have made a pact (this relates more to kids, but still has to do with friends)–if my kid comes and tells me your kid is doing something that may be dangerous or harmful to himself or others, I will tell you. Without judgment, without accusation. Just facts. And if you come to me and do the same, I will take the information as it’s presented–without judgment, without accusation–say thank you for letting me know, and take the matter up with my child. We have an agreement amongst ourselves to watch out for each other’s kids, and therefore indirectly for each other.

  2. I absolutely love everything you said here. This is exactly how I feel about my friends. You captured my thoughts perfectly! I remember an old poem:

    If you have a friend,
    Keep him so,
    And let him not
    Your secrets know
    For if your friend
    Becomes your foe
    All the world
    Your secrets will know

    I always thought that poem got it wrong. If it’s true, it makes me sad. … because I have never betrayed a confidence, even when that person is no longer a part of my life, because I let them go. I take secrets to the grave, even out of respect for what we once had, if we don’t have it anymore.

    Great post!

  3. Ah yes. This is the list. Having just lost my best friend a little over 6 months ago, I have a deeper appreciation for what I valued in that friendship and what I won’t stand for with fair weather friends going forward. Your list nails it.

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