Something in me seems to have shifted. I don’t know if I’m able to articulate this well, but after 12.5 years of pregnancies, potty training, chasing toddlers, foster care, adoption, child-induced insomnia, moving, and renovating a house, I feel like I can look at the people who have been walking with me and I’m finally able to sigh deeply and say “Hey, I don’t feel like I’m in a crisis right now. How are you?”
And as I consider the people who have walked with me through all my crazy, I started to see a trend emerging. It turns out I have four types of friends, with some overlaps:
1. Prepared Friend: I highly recommend that every person finds a prepared friend. Prepared Friends always know what’s going on over the weekend and where to find a Groupon for it. They always carry band-aids, tissues, ibuprofen and snacks. Their phone is always charged and always have a water bottle. They know all the best events in the city over the course of the next three months and will send invites to your calendar. Prepared Friends remind you that this Friday is a half day at your child’s school because you forgot. They are the best people to get stuck in an elevator with, because you’ll live quite comfortably until the firemen come and pry the doors open.
2. Kind Friend: Oh, kind friends. I don’t know why you befriend people like me, but I am so thankful for it. My Kind Friends listen to their children recite every mundane detail of their day without trying to prompt their child just to give them the highlight reel. Kind Friends listen to me even when I am being dramatic and pathetic and whiny. They bring you dinner when you aren’t feeling well, or drop off a latte when you’ve had a terrible morning. Kind Friends ask if you need help even when you could do it yourself; they come over at the drop of a hat to help you catch squirrels and birds that invade your house. Kind Friends take your guinea pig because it was just one too many lives to be responsible for. Take care of your Kind Friends–they need someone to bring them a latte and listen to them, too.
3. Scheduled Friend: My Scheduled Friends will send me a text at 6a to ask me what I’m doing three weeks from Tuesday. Your scheduled friend knows what day she’s buying groceries; he knows to check all the smoke alarms every three months to make sure the batteries are good. They remember to schedule dentist appointments, tire rotations, and computer backups. Scheduled Friends are always on time and leave before 10 so they can get six hours’ sleep. Scheduled Friends inspire me to accomplish things and just get stuff done without panicking. Life is not a crisis for Scheduled Friends: life is a series of problems that can and will be solved in the most efficient manner.
4. Drama Free Friend: One of my Drama Free Friends laughed in my face when I tearfully told her that we were expecting our fourth child. I felt like I was on the edge of sanity and she reminded me not to take it so seriously. And she was right. Drama Free Friends let us know when we’re being irrational and whiny and we should listen to them. They’re not trying to be mean; they’re reminding us of a place called Reality and inviting people like me to visit once and awhile. Drama Free friends don’t get stuck in details or anxiety–they’re nimble. But Drama Free Friends would be the worst people to be stuck in an elevator with because they’d tell people like me not to panic, even though I’m pretty sure there’s less oxygen in this elevator than there was 15 seconds ago and–did you hear that sound?–the cable is going to break at any moment. But after the firemen pry the doors open to the elevator, your Drama Free Friend would forget that you etched your will onto the wall during those 6 minutes you were stuck and you would both go see a movie and have a great time.
What kind of friends do you have?