Friendships. This has been on my mind a lot lately even before I read Elizabeth's column on Facebook friends. Leslie touched on some of my thoughts lately, as well, and I can especially identify with her admission - "I'm the sort of person who's skin crawls at the thought of prolonged superficiality." Me, too!
Ever since middle school, I have had many acquaintances but only two to three true friends in each season of my life. You probably can call to mind those who were your BFFs. In middle school, I remember Jennifer, Andrea, and Stacey. In high school, I had Wendy and Emily. In college, they were Gina and Terri. One summer, Rachel became my pal. Early marriage, I found Margaret and Stephanie (more mentors than friends, actually). As a new mother, I was inspired by Lauren and Mary. In law school, God sent Katie, Kate, and Carolyn (then Lauren). In Florida, I met Cristina, Mimi, and Theresa. All so special!
My personality is such that new conversations either get deep really fast or die even faster. I like to get to know other people really well. So, by our second one-on-one conversation, we are either forever friends, polite acquaintances, or waving goodbye. This doesn't mean I will not invite groups of acquaintances to hang out (like at our recent Mom's Breakfast), but my forever friends are the ones I make a point to enjoy their company regularly!
Anyway, the reasons I have been pondering friendships are that we just moved to a new city where I only knew a handful of people, and I am gladly enduring another babyhood phase of my life in which free time is nonexistent. I admitted yesterday to a friend, IRL on FB (that feels so hip to type!), that I realized I am and feel I must be very guarded with my choices of friends in this season of life. My rationale appears quite selfish, but I am okay with that. What I am trying to do is put my family first, because if mama ain't happy...
My guidelines for making new friends IRL (so, dearest friends who are already loved and do not fit one or more of these, I will not leave you) are the following:
1. She must not require a lot of time from me. Honestly, God has filled my hands with homeschooling and raising three amazing children while seeking my own holiness and my beloved husband's. I do not have time for weekly play dates or daily chats on the phone, much less a more mature dessert, wine, or coffee date. If we are going to spend time together, it is going to be with my children. Therefore...
2. I must like her children and like them enough to want them to be friends with my children. If this is true, I know we have something in common. We have high expectations for the behavior and holiness of our children. Our children are our life and our vocation. Leading to...
3. She has to be a
4. It would be ideal if she is a strong Catholic in love with the Truth of Holy Mother Church. My faith is such an integral part of my life that I want my intimate relationships to include that faith. During this season of my life, I do not feel called to defend my faith on a regular basis. Religion is such a sacred, personal topic that to delve into deep conversation with anyone of faith automatically involves his/her beliefs. Sure, I could agree to disagree with someone on some things, but if it is a central Truth of my life, I would always feel uncomfortable truly sharing my heart.
Disclaimer: Yes, it is healthy to have friends who see things differently. No, I am not opposed to being friends with someone the Lord puts in my path who does not meet my guidelines. That is why they are guidelines not requirements! I am speaking here of those women I seek out specifically for friendship.
What do you think? Am I being too picky? Do you understand my reasoning? Are you happy with your circle of friends? What guidelines do you follow for carefully choosing friends? (and, let us talk soon about how to teach your children to choose friends carefully!)