Moms need friends, not just any type of friend but the ones that meet the following criteria as nicely laid out by Shelly Emling of the Huffington Post.
1) Friends who make the effort.
I have one friend who — although she is swamped with career and childcare duties — never fails to reach out via text, email or phone every few days, no matter what else is going on. Even if it’s simply something succinct — like “just wanted to touch base and say hi” — I truly appreciate these signals that I’m being thought about and that our friendship is important to her.
I also appreciate my friends who are forgiving. I’m not saying that someone should forgive an offense quickly — or superficially. It takes time to forgive. But if too much time is taken, bad feelings fester, and the friendship may never get back on track. No one is perfect and a true friend will understand that.
2) Friends who are genuinely happy for me when something good happens.
I’m fortunate enough to have at least a few friends who are sincerely and openly happy for me when something nice occurs. (You’re probably wondering… shouldn’t every kind of friend be happy for others? You’d think so, but that’s not always the case.)
Friends who are genuinely happy exhibit not a smidgeon of jealously, but seem truly thrilled about the sale of my book — and the various accomplishments of my three children. They watch and revel in my glory — without any inkling of bitterness — and I do the same for them. (After all, friendship is a two-way street.)
3) Friends who are upbeat.
You know the opposite of this type. They are those folks who ruminate over every little problem in their life again and again — and yet never make one move to change their situation. They are Debbie Downers. And they bring me down. Misery loves company and downbeat friends generally are more interested in your bad news than your good news.
People who are positive and motivated and optimistic and who lift up those around them are worth hanging on to. I have one friend who never fails to compliment me on something — even if it’s just “wow, are you parting your hair on a different side? Nice!” — when she sees me.
4) Friends who are up for anything.
Earlier this month, I went with five girlfriends to a Korean spa in New Jersey called King Spa. The facility is like a mall, with three floors composed of all types of hot and cold spas. The night before our “spa day,” we checked the website and realized we’d be naked — and so would everyone else. But rather than cop out, we decided to go for it. And it was one of the best times I’ve ever had.
There is something completely liberating about sitting with friends, chatting about our lives, while totally naked. Talk about shedding one’s inhibitions! I left there loving the fact that my friends were willing to try something completely outside their comfort zone.
5) Friends who are authentic.
This is the steadfast friend who is anything but pretentious — the one who’s not afraid to see you without makeup or after she’s been crying or when her house is a mess. She’s not averse to showing you her true self — or seeing yours. She’s “real” and honest and will tell you the truth when asked her opinion.
When your behavior is questionable, there is a fine line between expressing concern and expressing judgement. A true friend will tell you the truth — and will let you know they’ll always be on your side no matter what decision you make even if, in their opinion, it’s the wrong one.
Shelley Emling is a senior editor at Huffpost 50.