Ride or Die: Friendship is work

You know that group of friends you see that is a little bit loud, a little bit obnoxious, filled with inside jokes and pee-in-your-pants amounts of laughter? The kind of friends that are fiercely loyal, ride or die, bury-a-body-with-you type of friends? 

Those are my friends. 

I don’t say this in a boastful manner; it’s simply the truth. I’ve had a lot of people comment to me, “Man, how did you get so many great friends? It is so hard for me— I don’t have anyone like that in my life.”

Let me tell you one important thing about the friendships in my life. They may have began organically, based on pot-luck roommates, college connections and similar interests, but they are still intact—10 years later—because of one simple thing: hard work. 

It is completely unrealistic and downright dumb to think that friendships can magically appear, grow and remain for years without hard work. It is no one else’s responsibility to do the work, but your own. As a good friend, yes, it is my job to check in on you as I am able. But an important reality of adult friendships is that we are all crazy busy with our own crap, as are you, and cannot always pick up on your subtle, sometimes passive aggressive, cries for attention. 

You need friend time? Make a plan and text the group. Feeling neglected? Ask for a coffee date and approach the situation in a loving fashion. There will be times of confrontation and disagreement that don’t have to have a negative result. If I am a friend worth having, I’ll operate with grace for you because you, as a friend worth having, will have grace for me. 

I cannot tell you how easy it would be for me to lose my friends. Currently, I’m the only one with a kid, let alone two, and that means my time is not my own. It is so easy to feel left out, because my season of life looks the most different. Sometimes, I am completely exhausted and don’t feel like getting ready, putting on pants and making it out. It would be so much easier to just cancel. So, you know what I do? 

I put on my big girl pants and I go. Why? Because that’s what good friends do.

Good friends group text, good friends stay connected, good friends tell you that your hair is a hot mess. Good friends aren’t easy to come by, so, when you have them, you fight tooth and nail to keep them. 

So yeah, you may be a little bit annoyed when we have the entire restaurant cheering at brunch. One of us may even fall off a chair when inspired to do a little “These boots were made for walking” chair dance because mimosas. The ridiculous amounts of pictures may spark a pang of jealousy or loneliness. My heart goes out to you. Instead of feeling bad about that, let it inspire you to find your people and work like mad to keep them. 

They are out there, you are lovable (Ben Higgins) and you are deserving. Now, get to work. 

(Quick disclaimer: friendship is work but it should never be consistently one-sided with absolutely no reciprocation. That’s a toxic environment and you should exit immediately. There is a grieving process to a friend break up that is perhaps more severe than a bf/gf situation. But it is critical to your health. That’s another post entirely.)

(Important note for those who really don’t have any solid friends: Adulthood does not provide the built-in friendship structure of being in school. In high school and college, it was easy because you saw people on the regular and had little other responsibilities to get in the way of hanging out. Start looking for people in places you frequent, like church, an adult sports league, a cooking class. If I can make friends, you can make friends. I promise.)