At first glance, it might seem odd that we are friends, or that our friendship has lasted as long as it has. We may have different political or religious affiliations. We might have different upbringings and cultures and personality traits.
Our conversations might survive on text messages and emails and Facebook messenger and maybe the occasional phone call.
Our families might look different, and our parenting philosophies might not necessarily align. We might live in different kinds of houses, in different kinds of cities, in different parts of the country — or maybe even the world.
But none of that matters. Because there are things that matter when it comes to friendship, and there are things that, quite simply, IDGAF about.
For instance, IDGAF about what you and your family eat. If you want to feed your kids an all organic, non-GMO, trans fat-free diet, that’s fine. If you let your kids binge eat Cheez Doodles every day, fine. I don’t care if you have one-size-fits-all eat-it-or-starve family dinners or you make 17 different dinners each night because you have the pickiest of picky eaters. Just don’t give me the side-eye because our pantry is stocked with Pop Tarts, Lucky Charms, and Pringles, or lecture me about the amazing benefits of juicing, because that just ain’t gonna happen.
I also don’t give a fuck about your professional status. I don’t care if you are a working mom or a SAHM or a WAHM or some other inane acronym that oversimplifies a mother’s career status. I don’t care if you spend your days in meetings and on conferences calls or at playdates and library story hours.
And I sure as hell don’t care if your dress code is business casual or yoga pants chic. What matters is that we can bitch equally and respectfully about how freaking hard our respective jobs are — whether it’s lawyering or mothering or teaching or just adulting — because what are friends for if not a solid and cathartic bitch session?
I don’t care about your house or your car, either. I don’t care if your living room floor is marked with vacuum lines and I can see my reflection in your granite kitchen countertop. I don’t care if your living room floor is littered with half-finished Lego creations or Barbie dolls with no clothes on. I don’t care if there are muddy footprints in your front hall or whether your snacks are Goldfish crackers and cheap wine. The only thing I care about is whether I have to worry about taking my shoes off when I come into your house, because a good friend shouldn’t have to wonder about these kinds of things; a good friend should know whether you are a shoes-off-in-the-house kind of person or not.
I don’t care how you parent — or even if you are a parent. I don’t care whether you co-sleep, have a night nurse, use cloth diapers, make your own baby food, go on weekly date nights, or haven’t been away from your kids for more than two hours. I care about whether you treat my kids with kindness.
I care about whether you respect my parenting choices, which may be quite different from your own. I care about whether you’re a Judgey McJudgerson — because if you’re gonna be clutching at your pearls all the time, you might as while ride out on that sanctimommy horse you rode in on. And I care about whether our kids get along because it makes it so much easier for us to gossip and complain about our kids when they are entertaining each other.
I’m not particularly concerned about your political, religious or cultural preferences either. I don’t care if you watch the Real Housewives or listen to NPR, if you watch telenovelas or are addicted to CNN. Can you enjoy a tube of Pillsbury cookie dough and drink cheap Franzia wine from a box while we watch Dirty Dancing in our pajamas? Because that is what makes for a solid BFF. And I don’t care if you go to church more than once a week or worship at the church of The New York Times each Sunday morning, if you vote to the left or the right, as long as your reasons for doing so are grounded in knowledge and good intentions.
Are you a kind person with a good heart? Because those are essentials when it comes to friendship. The older I get, the fewer fucks I have to give, so I save them for things like whether you care about me, whether you respond to my calls and texts, and whether you’re supportive of my choices even if you don’t agree with them. I care about whether you make an effort, whether you put as much into the friendship as I do, and whether I can count on you when the shit hits the fan. I care about whether we can laugh together and cry together and be crazy with each other.
Do we know a few of each other’s secrets? Can you cry and complain in front of me? Can I cry and complain in front of you? Friendship takes some juice and dirt, and it’s sometimes a wet and messy job. Because ultimately, what matters is whether we can cut the bullshit and be real with each other. Can we let each other look behind the curtain, and not run away? Because that is what friendship is about.
Well, that and a couple of good stories, and a few inside jokes too.