There are so many messages out there about what makes a true friend: Someone who is always there. Someone who just gets you without you having to utter a word. Someone who will drop it all and run to pick you up when you’re down.
I believe those things are true, and I’ve been lucky enough to experience them. But there’s something left out of those messages that are always thrown around about true friendship — the word sometimes.
True friends realize you can’t always drop your life and come rescue them from theirs. They know it’s impossible to be there all the time, and they never feel the need to punish you for when you can’t be there. Pushing everything aside to go be with a friend is an occasional act and reserved for those really trying times. It should be cherished and treated as such. Friends don’t take advantage of friends or have expectations so high you are always left wondering if you’ve done enough.
True friends have a deep sense of understanding. They understand when you’re grumpy and don’t feel like talking about the reason why. They understand you are going to get anxious and need to do a recap of the evening when you meet up with a new mom group because getting to know new people is hard and makes you overthink.
Above all else, they understand your life doesn’t always allow you to just drop everything all the time and be at their side. They know you may want to ditch the kids and sit with them while you both wear bathrobes and sob over a bag of hot Cheetos, but they know that’s not how life works.
A true friend can hurt and be willing to wait to spend quality time with you. They don’t hold you accountable to fix their emotions. They aren’t needy and don’t play the guilt game if you can’t make it to girls’ night. There is no grudge-holding over missed texts or calls.
They know you aren’t the center of their world, and they are not the center of yours. And they’re good with that because they know the foundation of your friendship is build on trust, quality time when you do see each other, and a bond that can’t be broken because you aren’t able to take a day off work and come to their rescue.
Yeah, there are times when that happens — my best friend dropped her schedule for a few days and drove five hours (through the night) when I called to tell her I was in labor with my first child. It was wonderful and I appreciated it and will never forget it. But when I had my second child, it wasn’t possible for her to make it work. I understood, I didn’t expect it, and when she did have the time to come and visit a few months later, it was wonderful and felt right.
Had I expected her to drop it all and come see me straight away, it would have put a strain on our friendship. She was right in the middle of a huge push with work commitments and family weddings and I didn’t need her to shove those important people aside to prove how much she cared about me.
Real life means we simply cannot drop and go as soon as a friend needs us. We can’t always pick up the phone and check on them or call them right back. We can’t always stop everything to read their texts. We can’t tell our family to shut up so we can construct a personal reply within a certain time frame.
Having a family, a home, a dog, a career, and keeping your schedule straight doesn’t allow it.
Real friends get each other, yes. And with that means they have an understanding about how life can pick you up, sweep you out to sea, and it can be a while before you can get to them.
Here’s to the friends who aren’t high maintenance when it comes to your relationship. They are the real MVPs. They are the ones who are standing there cheering for you even if they can’t do it in person.
You know you’re in their thoughts, and they know they are in yours. Neither of you get your self-worth or measure how strong your friendship is based on the number of texts exchanged, the amount of hours you’ve spent talking, or how often they drop their life to come and help you out.
You are never left wondering if you did enough for them, if you are enough for them, or if they are going to give you the cold shoulder because you didn’t respond to them by the time they thought you should.
You both know that you bring your best, and that will always be enough.