Dear New Friend
Hi! It’s been nice getting to know you. We may have met at church, or school or through our kids activities and I think we’ve reached that point in the friendship where we can have the DTR talk. You know … Define The Relationship.
Now that I’ve been a mom for nearly a decade, and have mostly become a “real” adult, I feel like I can be a little more straightforward about some things. By now, high school is nearly 20 years in my rearview mirror but let’s face it – women of all ages can bring some drama. I’ve had my fair share, both by my own doing and by others’ doing. Girlfriend, let’s be real here. I have 4 kids, a dog, a husband and a business to run. I just don’t have time for anyone’s junk.
You know what else I don’t have time for? Fake. Yep, you heard me. I do not have the time or energy to put on any kind of front with you, or anyone else. What you see is what you get. Oh sure, I may weigh my responses a bit while we are still in the “getting to know each other” phase. But woman, let me tell you. I can put up a front on social media with the best of them, but mostly I just wanna be real and honest and relatable here. I’m not afraid of what you think, I just think you deserve fair warning.
My house is a mess, like all the time. I’m mostly exhausted and I hate mornings. I don’t work out like I should and I’m not a gym rat, although I kind of wish I was. I am stupid about makeup and I wear it when I probably don’t need to because I’m crazy self-conscious about my skin. I crave Starbuck’s and Cherry Coke and Skittles like 99% of my waking hours. Sometimes I craft or go out when I should be doing more adult things like cleaning or paying bills. I’m not always a very “present” or “intentional” parent, and when my kids get hurt my knee-jerk reaction is “suck it up, buttercup!” I am on my phone way too much. I’ve been a consultant for at least 3 direct sales companies. I spend too much money on pretty much everything. I am obsessed with photos and correct grammar. I have a horrible tendency to be overly chatty and monopolize a conversation.
Oh, and I love Jesus and I’m not afraid of what you think about that either.
You know what else? (Warning: horn-tooting ahead) I am a freaking awesome friend. I know I’m not perfect, but I love fiercely and I know that friendship, REAL friendship, the kind you want holding your hand in the hospital, or stroking your back at a funeral, or taking on vacation … it’s worth the work. It takes work, friend. It takes text messages and coffee runs and gifts for no reason and random snail mail and inside jokes and hilarious adventures and screaming kids and glasses of wine and surprise birthday parties and ding-dong ditching. It takes lots and lots of thought and kindness, and considering others as greater than yourself. Until one day you turn around and you realize this friendship (and this friend) has woven itself into the fabric of your inner self.
My friends are like my family.
So, new friend, what kind of friend will you be? How deep with you go with me? I’m not so naïve to think that I can jive wonderfully with everyone. Lord knows, I’ve been burned by some friends in the past. I’ve invested in people who didn’t invest back. I’ve assumed things about people that came back to bite me when I realized I was wrong. I’ve watched situations reveal things about people that surprised me. I’ve seen how the fires of conflict or miscommunication or hurt or betrayal can either burn the relationship to the ground or refine it and make it stronger.
My most valued friendships are those that see ME, that see my heart, that see how far I’ve come, how far God has brought me. They listen with their ears and their own hearts. It is my hope and prayer that I would do the same for them. Do you want to be really KNOWN, more than just having yourself be heard, but really sharing a deeper understanding of who you are?
When you misunderstand something from me, will you take what you know about my heart or will you assume the worst and assign motives to me that weren’t there? Will you share YOUR heart with me, so that I can know you and seek to understand you? When my direct approach (read: painfully blunt) hurts your feelings, will you be honest with me? When conflict comes, will you talk it through with me or will you run for the hills?
Will you discuss hot-button topics with me like an adult, even if we disagree?
Will you reassure me when my confidence as a mom, wife or person takes a nose dive?
Will you be a giver AND a taker in this friendship? Will you fill my tank as much as you seek me to fill yours?
Will you check in with me when I’m struggling and will you share with me your own struggles? Will you do this without judgment or comparison?
Will we rejoice and mourn together? Will you let me sing or cry with you and will you do that with me?
Will we love on each others’ kids and offer support in our journeys of motherhood, no matter how different they may look? Will we correct each other’s kids, because we know what’s really important in parenting and we agree on it?
Will our whole families jive?
Will you call me out when I’m being ridiculous or gossipy? (Because let’s face it, we are all ridiculous sometimes …)
Will we know each other so well that we can anticipate each other’s reactions?
Will you pray for me and with me?
I may not have time or energy for your useless drama. But I sure will make time for YOU. I have time to know you, to invest in you, to go deeper with you, to share passions and struggles and hurts and laughs. One day our kids will be grown and gone, and I want to look around and realize that I have invested wisely in my marriage and my friendships. I have time for more than just a surfacey friendship.
Just know this before you get too far with me … I play for keeps.