6 Things My Friends Taught Me

#DearFutureGrandchildren,

Like many, I have several acquaintances and few close friends. In fact, I can count my best friends on one hand. I’m not the type to post my every close friendship on social media or advertise each time I go out and where I go but that doesn’t mean I don’t value the spontaneous outings, low-key nights in, and the lessons learned along the way.

Here are 6 Things My Friends Taught Me:

1. It’s normal to care what people think. We live in a culture that tells you it shouldn’t matter what other people think of you or accuse you of, as long as you know the truth. But that’s a lie. What people say about us instinctively matters. It’s okay to speak up and tell your truth, long as you remain respectful and maintain your composure. After you have said all you can say and done all you can do, keep walking. Don’t dwell on it, because that’s how people-bondage arises and debilitates you from making any strides toward your goals out of fear of what people might think or say about you.

2. It’s okay to delete every photo of yourself from the ages of 11-15; maybe 17 if you were ugly. The strongest friendships I have are the ones with people who have ALSO erased hard-drives, burned photo albums, and paid off family members to hide photos of them during those “awkward puberty” years.

but, Caro, where is the lesson here?

The lesson is, you need friends who share the same belief-system as you. Sure, not every friend is going to have the same exact crazy ideas you do. But find at least one. If I’m here roasting marshmallows over a fireplace filled with photos of 12-year-old me in a too-tight Hollister polo, gold hoop earrings, and icy blue eyeshadow and all my close friends are looking over at me like I’m nuts, I’M DOING LIFE WRONG.

3. A true friend wants to see you faithful. A real friend wants to see you succeed. But more so, they are wise enough to know that shortcuts, manipulation, and lies, while they may work in the short-term, will not produce lasting achievement. So, your friend will hold you accountable because a real friend wants to see you faithful. They won’t cover your tracks when you steal. They won’t lie to your boyfriend/girlfriend for you while you are out with your sidepiece. They won’t blindly follow your lead. They look out for you.

(And no, this doesn’t count if you aren’t telling your friend the whole truth. If you are lying to them about things and manipulating them to go along with something, it isn’t their fault; it’s your fault for lying. I have been in situations where I supported a lying friend and blamed myself for not figuring the truth sooner. If you’ve been in the same situation, it isn’t your fault. People manipulate to get what they want. You’re only a bad friend if you knowingly go along with a plan that isn’t right.)

4. Just like I need friends who share my “burn embarrassing photo” belief-system, I need friends who can park my car for me. Yes, we need friends who are similar to us. But we also need friends who fill in the gaps where we are weakest (which is why my friend Juliette parks my car for me.) I’m an exemplary driver, but my visual-spacial ability is practically nonexistent while parking. Though I haven’t hit another car, I have been known to gently brush against a pole or two with my vehicle. Or get tangled in the gas station’s gas pump. Or bump into glass doors because I think the door is already open. So, she helps me with those grueling details of life. We all need friends who are secure in areas where we may need some work.

5. A true friend keeps your woes private.

Your friend told you.

Not your man.

Not your mom.

Not your mutual friend.

You.

A friend doesn’t go around sharing your troubles with those closest to them. What is between me and a friend stays that way. I am also careful to not leave intimate texts, emails, or Instagram chats available for others to see. That’s actually been a huge pet peeve of mine since I was young. If I work to guard someone’s secrets, I don’t want another person leaving my deepest thoughts and feelings around for people in their lives-boyfriend, girlfriend, sibling, whomever- to read.

6. A true friend will risk their life to take a BOMB photo of you. When you enter a friendship, (at least with me) there is an unspoken-but very real-clause that states: for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for good lighting or bad lighting, through weight gain and messy hair days, I vow to always make your photos Instagram-worthy. To make your ex weep when he sees your #OOTD photo on his timeline, to make all your mom’s Facebook friends’ jaws drop, to make your frenemies comment “OHMAHGAWD, I CANT EVEN. *HEART FACE EMOJI, HEART FACE EMOJI*”

I will climb any tree, rock, ladder, bend by body in true Cirque du Soleil form, and yell at any old lady who is blocking your lighting or in your shot.

and I expect the same.

because that. is. what friends. do.

Love as usual,

CMS

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