For Lois, A School Friend

As I continue to abstain from Facbeook and Twitter, I am becoming more and more thankful I have email. Late last week, I received an email from a college (and Facebook) friend. During my first year in college, you’d often find me and my roommate in this friend’s room. We would laugh together often – and maybe drink a little, too. When reliving memories of college, my friend Lois comes to my mind.

Lois sent me an email about an article she ran across in Parenting magazine: “6 Friends Every Mom Needs.” She thought the subject would be a good one for my blog. (Keep those suggestions coming, Readers!) Instantly, I egotistically assumed, “Aw, I’m one of the friends Lois needs.” And, if you read the article, it is apparent I am Lois’ ‘Slightly Glam Girlfriend’. NOT! Please. I’m more along the lines of the ‘Not even slightly glam girlfriend’. In any case, I don’t really believe I am on the list of friends Lois needs, but I know I’m on the list of friends she enjoys! (Ditto!)

Before I share the list of 6 ‘must-have’ friends, according to Parenting Magazine, I want to share some thoughts about a book I am currently reading, “I Know Just What You Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women’s Lives” by Ellen Goodman and Patricia O’Brien. Lois couldn’t have timed her topic suggestion better. As I read Goodman and O’Brien’s book, I find myself reflecting on past friends, old friends and new friends. Goodman and O’Brien write, “Friends? What’s a friend? If the Eskimos have twenty-six different words for snow, Americans have only one word commonly used to describe everyone from acquaintances to intimates. It is a word we have to qualify with adjectives: school friends, work friends, old friends, casual friends, good friends.” They wrote their book back in 2000, so I am going to add “Facebook friends” to their list of adjectives needed to qualify friends.

Now, according to Parenting magazine, every Mom needs the following 6 friends:

  1. The Mom in the Same Boat
  2. The No-Kids Pal
  3. The Been-There, Done-That Mom
  4. The I’ll-Do-Anything-For-You Buddy
  5. The Slightly Glam Girlfriend
  6. The Brutally Honest Pal

Combining the thoughts of Goodman, O’Brien and Parenting, I think many of the friends included in the list would be described using the adjectives: school, old, casual and good. As my own school, old, casual and good friends read through the list, I’d love to hear the thoughts in their head as they try to figure out which one they are on the list. (Oh friends, you know you are talking to yourself right now and trying to figure out your placement. And yes, you are number 6.)

What happens, though, when you feel cut off from friends? Most Moms are crazy busy, with little time for anything more than family. Working Moms want to make the most of the family time when they are finally home with the family. Stay-at-home Moms spend the weekdays taking care of and holding down the fort, while running non-stop errands for this item and/or that appointment. I have close friends, and yet we will go weeks without connecting. It happens. And when it happens … enter Facebook. (And, no, this is not a paid endorsement.)

Facebook is a useful tool enabling Moms to find a few of their needed friends. A Mom might update her status to say, “My child will not stay in his bed at night. It drives me crazy!”, and within a few minutes the Mom’s Facebook, and “in the same boat”, friend will respond with “Ugh. My 3yr old does the same thing! How long does this last?” A few seconds later, a Facebook friend without kids might say, “You need a break. Meet me for coffee or lunch, whatever works best for you.” And finally, the older and wiser, ‘been there-done that’ friend will post “I remember those nights. Be firm. Hang tight. This too shall pass.”

Americans may use only one word to describe a relationship between two people, but regardless of the adjectives used to describe the word, the fact remains – the person is a friend. Whether we reach out through Facebook, phone, email or in person, friends know just what we mean. Thanks for being my young, old, casual, intimate, past, present, school, work, virtual-life, real-life, honest, creative, good and best friend. (Thanks again for the post idea, Lois!)

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