I’ve come to the point in life where if I can’t pee on the phone with a friend, and tell them I am peeing while I am on the phone with them, it’s just not going to work out between us.
Let’s face it, what makes a true friend during adulthood is being able to show them all the parts of yourself — the shitty, the vulnerable, the angry, and the side of you that makes epic mistakes, without feeling like it’s a competition or being fearful they’re going to take you down behind your back.
There’s nothing like becoming a parent, or blossoming into mid-life, that allows you to see and feel what true friendship actually is and is not. The years and experiences we carry with us truly are the best friend-filters we could ask for.
We’ve all had the narcissistic friend, the one who only takes, the fake friend, the friend who would pass us up for someone or something better in an instant. We know it leaves us feeling less-than and digs up shit from the fifth grade.
And we’ve all had the experience of having at least one friend who is our ride or die, the one who always knows when to show up, the one who understands months might go by without any communication between us, and it doesn’t have an effect on our friendship whatsoever.
True friendship is walking into someone’s house without knocking and opening up the fridge to help yourself to their food. They expect nothing less from you, and you know they will do the same the next time they come to your place. Also, they aren’t afraid to say, “Don’t touch that last piece of chocolate pie, bitch. It’s mine.”
True friendship is knowing you can verbally vomit on someone, and the trail of venting, or gossip, or mindless rambling is safe with them. It’s also knowing they aren’t going to let you get away with selling yourself short or treat yourself like a dickhole.
True friendship is letting each other know when you are acting like an asshole.
It’s also making sure your person is living up to their potential, and not just spewing artificial sweeteners up their ass and comforting them because it’s what they want to hear. A true friend will say things like, “Listen, he just doesn’t like you enough so stop thinking his low-value text messages mean anything” and “You bring this stress on yourself because you don’t know how to say no, and until you do, the same thing is going to keep happening.” Then they follow it with, “I say this all out of love. Now how can I support you through this?”
Because a true friend knows they could stay in the smooth lane and keep sweeping things under the rug, your rug, and treating you like a victim who has no control over your life as they coddle you deeper into your mess by not calling you out on your bullshit. But they also know it won’t be long before you will trip over that rug, and true friends don’t want you to fall on your face.
True friendship is when you can remove your bra mid-convo without missing a beat in the conversation and they aren’t phased at all by your postpartum boobs.
True friendship is when you can count on them to help you out and they show up sans explanation or expecting you to pay them back. They also understand if you can’t help them at that very second and know it has nothing to do with them.
True friendship is when you know when to listen to them–that’s it. You listen without chiming in, without trying to solve their problem, without telling them about a similar experience you’ve had until they’ve asked for advice. Sometimes people just need to let it all out, and good friends have a way of sensing when their job is to simply be there.
True friendship is a secret code of sorts. You can curate a secret language of your own, you start to feel when they need you — even if they haven’t asked for help — by the tone of their voice, their silence, or by one glance across the room that says, “Okay, it’s time to go, please get me the hell out of here.”
The real deal ebbs and flows throughout the years yet never makes us uncomfortable. We know true friendship may change but never ends. You know this when you are bent over laughing trying to hold in your pee. And you still know it when you hurt each other’s feelings, and are able to move past the hurt.
But, more than anything, true friendship has so much value because of its rare beauty and strength. It’s the kind of relationship that boosts your self-worth and helps you put a stop to things that aren’t good for you because you know there is someone really important who will have your back.
That is true friendship.