How can having friends change our lives?
We have friends – be it many or be it one, but have you thought of a life without them?
We celebrated Friendship day a few days back and that got me thinking – about all the friends I have made over the years. How they have helped me evolve into the person I am today and how they have helped me, when I was in need and when I was down.
While we don’t get to choose our families, we certainly can choose our friends. The right friend can help make our lives pleasant.
Today we will talk about how friends are important, simple things we can do to keep the bond intact and the seemingly silly things we do that break even the strongest of friendships.
Most of us made our first friends while at school. Our first friends were usually the kids who sat next to you in class. As we grew, that changed. Our friends became people who we shared interests and hobbies with.
As the years passed the number of friends grew, then we started categorizing them as school friends, college friends, friends from the neighborhood, work friends, husband’s friends, and children’s friends’ parents.
We have forgotten about some, some we haven’t kept in touch with but there would be a friend/friends who come to mind as you are reading this – the ones who you can call your gang or crew.
This post is dedicated to all your friends, no matter which category they fall into.
Moms and Friends:
Admit it, we are different around our best friends. The time you spend together is like turning back time. You suddenly feel younger when you are with them.
Isn’t it so?
I know that I act different when I am with my closest friends (read –crazy).
But how many of us have spent time with friends after the arrival of the little ones?
My relative was telling me that she envies the gang of friends her husband has. They meet once a while and we get to see a whole new side of his persona. He hasn’t put any restrictions on his wife in having friends, but somewhere in her journey of being an amazing mom, her friends were forgotten.
Her world revolved around her two kids and their needs. She simply couldn’t fit her friends into this equation.
I am sure a lot of us are guilty of doing this. And it is not just us, our moms did it too.
If you don’t believe me, do this. Try to remember the name of your dad’s best friends/ friend. Now try the same with your mom. Once you are done doing that, try to remember the times your father got together with his friends and the time your mom got together with hers. Most of you may have noticed a stark difference.
Once we have a baby, they become the center of our universe and we forget everything else, including our friends.
Why moms need friends too?
Being a parent is not easy. (Notice that I said parent, not just mom or dad.) Earlier, we stayed in joint families where help was at hand when it came to raising kids, but now the majority live in nuclear setups. At each stage, we face new challenges and dilemmas.
Spending time with friends is a way to seek answers and unwind. Dads are known to socialize more than moms with their friends. This helps them relax. But most moms give up on their friends once they get married and have a child. This gives way to the complaint that they have no one to share their concerns with. This can lead to frustration and resentment. If not dealt with it could also lead to depression.
Having a friend can help change that.
If you feel that spending time with friends is an unnecessary or an unproductive way to spend time, you have got to see the benefits of having good friends.
#1. They are stress busters
There are a million things that stress you out, I am sure that is the case with you too. For me, meeting certain relatives have become exceedingly stressful after becoming a mom.
They look at my little one, who is a petite little thing and wonder why I don’t feed her enough. I end up feeling like a horrible mom.
This is one thing that winds me up. There are many other things. So when I feel stressed out, I find that a quick call to my BFF is like a visit to the spa, I feel relaxed and calmer.
#2. Your own trusted advisory board
Friends have your best interests at heart. If you have any questions regarding your life, you know whom to turn to. They can answer your questions without having any hidden agendas in mind.
You can turn to them for advice regarding relationships, children and they will guide you. So whether it is the best cloth diaper for your child or the best place to buy cutlery- they will have the answers you need.
#3. They are honest critics
Is it really too late to blame the excess pounds on the baby or have you gotten lazy? Is the outfit you have chosen for your relative’s wedding a bit too over the top?
You may be putting your husband on the spot if you ask him such questions. Ask your BFF she will tell you what you need to know and not what you need to hear, without being judgmental.
Imagine asking your hubby if mauve suits you better or should your favor a dress that has a peachy shade. (I am clutching my sides laughing as I type this as I can imagine my husband’s reaction to such a question.)
#4. They always have your back
You know they are always there for you, no matter what.
#5. They know you need a break, once in a while
Glorious FB posts on motherhood and cute DPs with kiddos aside, how many you have wanted a break at least once? A date with your BFF can be that break.
#6. Kids will grow up one day
The number one excuse most mothers give, when they are asked to make or spend time with their friends is – KIDS. The kids become their only focus in life.
Is it wrong to take care of kids?Oh no no!
In fact, you should devote your time, so that the child inculcates the right values. But at the same time, not giving any time for friends isn’t a good idea. One day, your kids will grow up, they will move out. Then you are left with a void.
Having friends will not help filling the void kids have left, but they will help make you come to terms with it.
How to keep friendships alive?
Ok, time for another exercise.
How many friends (the ones you thought you would never part with) have you stopped being in touch with? Why?
Was it the distance? Did you get married? Was it the arrival of your kid/kids? Did you have a fallout due to a misunderstanding? Or did you simply just drift apart?
You will now realize that the main reason why most friendships die is because we stopped putting in efforts. Just like any other relationship, friendships also need to be given time and a bit of work. If we stop doing it, then our friends become just another name on our contact lists.
In order to avoid that we can do a few simple things-
- Keep in touch
Isn’t it funny that in this age, people find it difficult to keep in touch? Whatsapp, call, Facetime, Skype, email – the options of keeping in touch are aplenty. Doing this will ensure that distances don’t break your bond.
- Plan a get-together
Depending on how close or far you stay, you can schedule your get-together. For friends who are separated by long distances, an annual trip will do.
- Do things together
Heard about a new place in town? Check it out with your BFF. Catch a movie or a spa date.
You can also join an activity class together. Friends who live in the same city can try this out. It is a fun way of ensuring that you catch up.
- Don’t forget they have a life too
Friendship isn’t a one way street. If you want your friends to be there for you, you have to be there for them as well. This means remembering important days, celebrating their milestones, giving them space when they need it etc.
What not to do in friendship (Subheadings)
Now we know how important it is for us to have friends and how we can ensure that they don’t drift away. But this post won’t be complete if I don’t write about the things that you should not do.
#1. Discuss your sex life
While you may be able to discuss and share anything under the sun, certain things should be kept private. For instance, what happens in the bedroom, should stay in the bedroom. (Unless and until it is violence, in that case, seek help.)
It is not ok to discuss your sex life in detail with your friends.
#2. Discuss details about tiffs with your partner
You don’t want to burden your friends with details of your fights. Unless you want advice, it is better if you keep the details to yourself.
#3. Discuss your partner’s work life
Do not share the details of your husband’s work life with your friends. If he wants to share it with anyone, he will do it himself.
#4. Discuss your partner’s personal life
Just like you shouldn’t talk about your hubby’s work life, their personal life is also off limits for discussion.
#5. Over sharing details about your baby
You may have just become a mom, but your friend may still be single. Do not expect them to share the same concern that you have regarding the color of their poop or snot.
#6. Getting too inquisitive about their life
Over sharing isn’t good and so is snooping. If your friend is not willing to share some information, he/she may have a good enough reason to do so.
#7. Giving unsolicited advice
Everybody has a way of living their life. Your friend may have a way different from yours. That does not make it wrong. Avoid wanting to correct their choices and offer advises when they haven’t asked for it. This habit can prove to be detrimental in the long run.
#8. Compare your achievements
Avoid comparing your achievements with your friends’ achievements. Many a friendships have become sour because moms compared their kids to their friends kids.
Your milestones are important but that doesn’t mean you can underplay theirs.
#9. Making them a third wheel
Friends are important, but if they have become a third wheel in your relationship, then it is time to introspect. Make sure that your time with friends is not invading your family life.
Don’t forget to read:
- 20 Me time ideas – Indulge yourself in something you enjoy
- 11 Killer tips to make the most out of your SAHM time
- 13 Tips to relish your motherhood (especially for the first time moms)
This is so true! A good friend will be able to tell you your shortcomings and plus points.
Apart from being a mirror, they can be your confidante/advisor when the situation demands it. They are someone with whom you don’t have to pretend and let your hair down.
In short, they are good for you!
This friendship day, what did you do with your friends? Forwarding friendship day messages don’t count. If you haven’t done anything, then take that phone/laptop/tablet and call up your friend/friends.
Make a plan to catch up. Or make something that he/she likes and take it across (if they live nearby). You can also reconnect with old friends. For all you know, they could have been waiting for it.
Also make a conscious effort from your side, to keep in touch with your friends, no matter what.
Hope this post motivates you to make your current friendships stronger and helps you reconnect with old friends. So what are you waiting for – make some plans, now!
And Happy Friendship Day!