Here's the thing..when you're a busy Mom and you take the time out of your gong show of a day I am a firm believer it should result in something that will leave you feeling GOOD...dare I even say uplifted. This is where gal pals come in. What's better than the ear of a good friend to refresh your spirits?? I love the individuality in my tight knit crew...each of my go-to gals brings something unique to the table. One thing we all share though is the ability to bring some happiness into eachothers lives. Be it a raucous giggle, some kind wisdom, a supportive ear to listen to the latest Mommy rant or just a voice on the other end of the phone on a lonely day...friends can really make a Moms day a little bit brighter. BUT they can also break it...and that is where this weeks rant comes into play.
ARE YOU A TOXIC FRIEND?? We've all had one or two of the not-so-nice kind of friendships in our lives. You know the kind...they leave you feeling guilty, hurt, not good enough, angry, competitive or all of the above. There gets to be a point in our lives when we realize we are not in grade school any more. Shocker right?? We are strong, grown up, individual, powerful women and Mothers. Why should any of us settle for less than the kind of positive and nurturing friendship that we would want for our own children. What kind of examples are we setting for our families by surrounding ourselves with drama, gossip and cat fights?? Sometimes it's necessary to weed the garden. As a friend of mine recently said, "you need to pull the weeds to allow the beautiful flowers to grow." Absolutely. Sometimes part of being a grown up is also taking a good, long look in the mirror. In my life time I've been guilty of playing the toxic friend role once or twice...something I'm not proud of...but self improvement is a beautiful thing. It's never to late to shake things up and make a positive change.
The Toxic Ten
1. The Time Keeper. This friend keeps score and let's you know it. If you don't return a phone call or a text message or an email or a tweet....expect to hear about it. How many Moms have the time in their day to drop everything and return a phone call at a moments notice - put your hands up. If you have your hand up I have some advice for you - stop kidding yourself. How many of you have completely flaked out and actually forgotten that friend left you a message to begin with?? Newsflash - this doesn't make you a bad friend. It makes you a MOM!! I barely have time to pee let alone keep on top of my voicemails and who has poked me on facebook. Real friends don't judge their friends or hold it against them when they have a busy week. No matter how much time has passed we always pick up where we left off. And when you are having an actual crisis your gal pals will be there for you...guaranteed. Let me also add - grilling your friend about where she was/what she was doing instead of taking your phone calls/answering your text messages makes you look like a crazy stalker. No one wants to be friends with that girl.
2. The Judgemental Chic. She always seems to have something to say about how you and everyone else are living their lives. She doesn't like your husband. She thinks your kids are badly behaved. She points out that your floors could really use a good cleaning. She feels the need to point out how many calories are in your snickers bar. She always seems to know someone who has something better/has done something better/ who knows better than you. She habitually rolls her eyes and has a way of making you feel about two inches tall. She is practically begging for a punch in the face. This friend should be the easiest to toss to the curb without a second thought. But she is sneaky...seeming sweet and sincere one moment while the next you feel like something she has brought in on the bottom of her shoe. No one deserves to be the victim of someone elses insecurity. This one is a bully - and bullies deserve to be left in the past along with everything else that sucked about high school.
3. The Time Capsule. Speaking of high school, we all have at least one of those friends that we simply keep along for the ride because we've known them a long time. If you're still super tight and are contributing something positive to each others lives than all the power to you both. But sometimes over time what was once a GREAT friend turns into one from one of the other categories. So if you have nothing in common anymore and conversing has turned into something more painful than a root canal then why do you continue to nurture the friendship?? Time is not a good reason to maintain a friendship that is falling apart at the seams. This one can be the most heartbreaking to let go..but when you think about it wouldn't it be nicer to remember this person as the fun childhood friend they were rather than the unfortunate influence of your life today??
4. The Gossip. It's true what they say, if someone gossips about everybody else they are definitely gossiping about you as well. Now one thing that needs to be made clear is there are two types of gossip. We all gossip. Now whether it's malicious or not is what sets the two types apart. Venting to a close girlfriend or speaking about situations that directly involve your own lives is normal and healthy. Speaking about someone elses private business to an uninvolved third party is gossip of the worst kind. If you have a gf that is known for poking fun at someone the moment they get up and leave the room you can bet when it's your turn to use the restroom that it'll be your name on her lips next. It's easier for a gossip to focus on the problems of others than to deal with those of their own. A false sense of empowerment is common for most notorious gossips. There is nothing that makes me run faster than someone who is constantly talking about everybody elses business.
5. The Mascot. This girl hates your other friends. She might not say it but it's apparent with her pouting and obvious disdain for the other girls in your life. She never seems to even try to make nice with your crew and turns down every invite that isn't a one on one. She becomes moody when you make plans without her and makes a point to mention with distaste whenever one of your friends tags you or writes on your wall on facebook. She makes being your friend feel like a competition. Be real with this one. If you try and try to include her and she continues to be a drag on your time and emotions then it's time to cut her loose.
6. The Competitor. Everything is a damn contest with this one. She likes to be the best of the best and in your friendship there is no exception. Ever have a conversation with someone where they are constantly "one-upping" you?? That is what EVERY conversation is like with this friend. The Competitor is the perfect wife and the perfect Mother which would be perfectly fine if she didn't feel the need to constantly rub it in everyone's face, especially yours. Yes you realize you could have stayed up until midnight baking cupcakes from scratch for the class Valentines party but you chose to buy a package of cookies from Walmart and put your feet up to watch Pretty Little Liars before heading to bed early. A good friend would give you a high five not snicker and roll her eyes at your efforts..or perhaps lack there of.
7. The Single White Female. This friend is a stage 9 clinger. She constantly calls. She constantly texts. She seems to be having a serious identity crisis. Since you've met she has changed her hairstyle to emulate yours, gone out and purchased the exact same handbag you splurged on last month, taken up your favorite hobby with vigor and has started adding and chatting up all of your friends on facebook without any sort of prior introductions. At first it was kind of cute...now it's downright creepy. Everyone likes to be admired but you're starting to feel like you're losing yourself...and your mind. A good tip - don't let it get this far!! Let her know you love your friends because they are individuals. If all else fails they invented call block for a reason.
8. The Downer. Every time you're up - she drags you back down. It seems like this friend always has something negative to say. She isn't happy with her own life and isn't ready to make the changes she needs to be happy. Every time you chat she complains about her life and it's obvious she sees the glass as half empty. When you have good news, she finds a way to make it about herself. When you have a great idea, she has a warning of a worst case scenario outcome. You try and try but her gloomy outlook on life can sure feel contagious. There's only so much you can do before you need to realize some people are just happy to be unhappy. Adios naysayers!!
9. The Star of the Show. "Me. Me. Me. Me. Me." If there is another subject on the face of the Earth you have yet to hear it. She loves to hear herself talk that's for sure. You only hear from her when she is having a crisis and she could clearly not care less what is going on in your life. Every time you get together it's all about her...and it's getting old. If you've tried and tried and still find yourself wanting to make face time with a cheese grater when your together then it's time to give her the heave-ho!!
10. The Trouble Maker. She always seems to be in the middle of some kind of drama. It's always someone elses fault of course but time after time she seems to find herself in the middle of a cat fight, someone elses relationship troubles, problems at work, issues with her children and other peoples children...and the list goes on. Where she is...trouble follows. There is so much drama in this gals life that you're surprised she doesn't have her own reality show. When you're out together you can't help but notice the looks that slide your way. Have you ever noticed that some people thrive in dramatic situations?? My 3 year old is having a phase where she will misbehave in order to gain our attention. We reiterate to her daily that negative attention is not the kind of attention she is looking for...and slowly but surely she is starting to get it. A Trouble Maker still hasn't figured this out. She is proud of being "a bitch" and has no qualms about "telling it like it is." Last time I checked being a brat isn't attractive and that is why my 3 year old ends up in a time out when she portrays such behavior. Hang with a trouble maker and you may find yourself tagged with the label simply by association.
As I said to a good friend recently, life is short. It's far too beautiful to muck it up with unpleasant experiences and spending precious time, emotions and care on those that wouldn't share the same with you. Remember..be the kind of friend you are looking for. It's never too late to make the kind of life and friendships you dream of for yourself. When it comes to friendship, it's about quality not quantity. I would much rather 4 quarters than 100 pennies any day.