Lessons in Friendship; Feeling Fortunate
A woman I look up to, Stacy Marx, recently took on a very high-profile role at AT&T and published a LinkedIn post about her #hometeam. She defines what it takes to have the ultimate one: A circle of trust, not a clique; Connectors; Supporters; Self-growth because of them.
This got me thinking about how much I rely and depend on my own personal hometeam. I’m hugely blessed to have such incredible friends. I rely on these women for family stuff, work stuff, kids stuff, life stuff, and love stuff. This, in turn, got me thinking about friendships in general and how we define the ones that fall outside our hometeam.
A girlfriend (part of my hometeam, actually) once questioned why I have so many friends, many of whom she would consider to be surface friendships. Essentially, she was questioning how I build my network. She went on to say that she prefers a smaller, more intimate group of friends that she can trust and rely on but was often frustrated when one of them “disappointed” her. When she moved out to the suburbs and needed to make more friends, she found it difficult to do so.
My advice was to take and leverage what each person excels at and define your friendship with that quality in mind. Meaning, if someone is single, fun, maybe can’t hold on to a secret to save her life, but is always down for anything and doesn’t judge you, rely on this friend for an escape--not to share your deepest, darkest secrets with, but to have fun with and to break you out of your comfort zone or do something spontaneous. Perhaps you’re herresponsible, great-advice-giver friend and she’s relying on you for those qualities. As you expand on what could be considered surface friendships, you might find additional qualities you can start to rely on.
It’s Pride Month, and I was sitting at a work dinner the other night when my coworkers asked me what “color” I am. I didn’t even know that the colors of the rainbow represented aspects of queer pride and life traits, but they do! For example:
Quickly looking at the list of colors and attributes, I said, “Well clearly I’m not Healing and Nature. I guess I most strongly associate myself with Red/Life, Yellow/Sunlightand Purple/Spirit”, which, to me, all seem very similar. I like to think my hometeam relies on me for this—my joie de vivre, if you will, but with the addition of my healthy dose of cynicism. I’m blunt without being rude, honest almost to a fault, a great secret keeper, a self-proclaimed awesome advice giver, and, being a Libra, a person who sees both sides to every story, easily playing devil’s advocate. (Not always a likedtrait, especially by my husband). My outlook is that life’s too short to be fake or anything but yourself. So, I live life that way and treat the people in my life accordingly. Those that like that will choose to be my friend.
In defining or building your hometeam, or just your friendships in general, it’s important to be honest in what you bring to the table and what your friends offer in return. I know my girls’ faults and adorations, I know what they excel at and what they might stink at, I know who to go to when I need to be coddled or put in my place, who to go to when I need fresh perspective or brutal truth, the shoulder to cry on, or the friend that will inadvertently (subconsciously) let me take out my frustrations on them, who when all is said and done, understands and moves on with me like nothing happened.
I am indeed super lucky to have my hometeam. For without them, I wouldn’t be as good of a mother, friend, boss, wife, daughter, sister, human. I’m grateful for the females in my life whom I consider my best friends and role models, but I’m also thankful to my surface friendships, for without those I wouldn’t be as carefree, whimsical or impulsive, nature-filled or serene – attributes I only associate with when forced to or when developing friendships. Thank you, you know who you are.