Trying to make friends as an adult is freaking complicated. It would be nice if it were as easy as when we were kids. Imagine women meeting at the park and saying things like, “I like your shoes.” They would become instant best friends for the next hour until it is time to leave, then hug each other goodbye and skip to the car happy to have had a playmate for a few minutes.
Adult relationships are so much trickier, and it can be exhausting trying to find friends. It’s hard to put yourself out there, and it’s even more difficult to weed out the fake friendships and find your true friends who are authentic, caring, and real.
Here’s the thing, the older I get, the more I realize that I’ve got a lot of deal breakers. One of mine is that if you meet me somewhere so our kids can play, you better not ever say that one of your kids was up puking all night. I’m sorry, but no. Keep your ass at home if you’re sick.
I just don’t feel like in my adult life that I can mess around with friendships that aren’t fulfilling me in some way. I need substance, and I need you to be dependable, and I need you to be authentic. I don’t have time for the fake friends. But that’s not my only deal breaker. Here are my non-negotiables if this friendship is going to work out:
1. If I have to clean before you come over, this isn’t going to work out.
I want a friend who loves me for who I am. And who I am is someone who does not always have a perfectly clean house. So if I have to clean just for you, sorry, but that’s a deal breaker.
2. If you want to give me loads of unsolicited advice about my parenting, you can show yourself out.
If I’m asking, please help me. I might very well be drowning. But if I’m just venting, let me vent. I’ll ask for advice if I need it. We can totally have different parenting styles, but I never want to feel like my parenting style is inferior to yours. You do you, and I’ll do me. If you can make me feel that although we’re really different, you still support my parenting choices, then we’ll get along just fine.
3. If I’m just your backup friend when no one else is available, forget it.
I want friends who are excited to introduce me to their other friends. I don’t need to be your back up friend, and I also don’t want to be your backup plan all the time when your babysitter falls through either. I don’t need to be your only friend, but I want to at least feel like an important one.
4. If you don’t have a sense of humor, this probably won’t last.
My sarcasm runs deep, and while I’m certainly no comedian, I have to at least feel like I can laugh with my friends. Life is hard, but laughing about it is my medicine, and if we can’t do that together, then we might need to go our separate ways. A sense of humor is a must.
5. The relationship can’t feel one-sided.
Look, I get it. Life is busy, and sometimes you can’t get together. But here’s the thing: If our friendship is going to survive, I need you to put in a little effort. I don’t want to be the only one putting forth the effort to hang out. That gets old fast.
6. Don’t be a flake.
Don’t worry, I’m a reasonable person, and I understand that last-minute things come up from time to time and require a rain check on our meet-up. But if you flake out on me dam near every time we make a plan? I’m going to move on. It’s not you, it’s me. Actually, no, it is you.
7. If you can’t keep a secret, then bye, Felicia.
There is nothing worse than confiding in a friend and realizing a few days later that your secret is now public knowledge. Just assume that anything I tell you huddled together over coffee is between you and me. If you’re not sure, then just don’t blab. If you can’t keep your mouth shut about my life, then that’s a big-time deal breaker for me. I need to be able to trust my friends.
8. I have to feel like I can be myself — 100%.
If I feel judged in the slightest, it’s not going to last. I am a put-together, positive, woman some days, and a hot mess on other days. Sometimes I fall somewhere in the middle. I need to feel like I can show up exactly as I am on any given day, and you’re going to embrace it. If you can’t do that, then we shouldn’t waste each other’s time.
While it may seem like I’ve got a lot of deal breakers, I think they are all solid and fair. I will say that I’m a loyal friend. I don’t expect any more from you than I would be able to give of myself. I hold myself to these same standards. So tell me what your deal breakers are, and let’s skip off into the sunset together and go get some coffee.