I recently renamed my group chat The Stepford Diaries. Then I almost exited it altogether. Call me immature, but the prospect of listening to endless debates on the most lightweight stroller on the Bugaboo market made me want to inflict physical pain upon myself in a not-so-lightweight way.
Please keep in mind that, a mere decade ago, the members of my group chat were passing around a tiered, backless Alice & Olivia dress to slut it up at 1 Oak. And negotiating their way into Bungalow 8 to do illegal narcotics next to B-list celebrities. And driving to the Hamptons for one night to cuddle in random beds with Veuve Clicquot magnums (and strangers.) Today, these same women are passing around quinoa puree recipes and cuddling in bed with their multi-member households.
FYI, I am a lucky to be part of a relatively balanced group that still includes one fellow single. Out of the paired-up ladies, not all have kids. While the others are waiting for the Baby Gods to work their magic, they are practicing motherhood on their dogs, which means that 50% of our conversations revolve around fluffy creatures who don’t have the capacity to distinguish color, let alone appreciate their GMO-free treats. When it’s not gushing about puppies, Group Chat is usually cooking, eating, or trying to lose 5 pounds.
Occasionally, this predicament terrifies me. After all, it is only a matter of time until all the puppies are replaced by babies, and mommy talk officially takes over, drowning out all chances of having a nice chat about, oh I don’t know, my Raya du jour? And, when this happens, where does this leave those of us –i.e. myself – who refuse to grow up, or happen to grow in another direction? Am I going to be excommunicated and left to make new, twenty-something-year-old friends? God help me.
Or, maybe, I won’t have to. After all, what we occasionally forget is that real friendships doesn’t hinge on being on the same page – or even on the same chapter – of the Tolstoy-worthy novel called life. That’s the stuff reserved for second tier friendships (think school friends, coworkers, Mommy & Me friends), as disposable as last season’s culottes. Nah, real friends are the equivalent of your vintage Levi’s – irreplaceable, timeless, trusted life companions that stick with you through thick and thin and post-baby bloated and married and divorced and eternally single and everything else life serves you.
That is, as long as you stick to a few cardinal squad rules.
Respect each other’s life choices. The first and paramount friendship rule is particularly hard for me, for it simply doesn’t come naturally. And yet, I once heard that the most anti-feminist thing one can do is judge other women, so what does that say about you if these women happen to be your best friends? Fine, so one friend decided to abandon a promising career and become a professional baby machine, and another one is wasting her time on a dead-end relationship from hell, and another one decided to divorce her husband and run away with a leprechaun. (Just checking if you’re listening!) Well, guess what, you probably ain’t a stellar paradigm of life choices either, so pipe down and R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
Speaking of which..
Don’t talk shit. This one is equally antagonizing. You see, as women, we are wired to be gossipy creatures who get an extra serotonin kick out of talking smack about one another. However, I strongly recommend minimizing inner-squad gossip, i.e. splitting up in petty duos and dissecting the other members until their ears are burning. On the plus side, you can do the next best thing – talk shit about everybody outside of your squad, absolutely guilt-free!
Be curious. As humans, we often have a hard time seeing past our own personal circumstances, yet I promise you that there is something highly rewarding about stepping into the shoes of your married / corporate / freedom-fighting friend and seeing her perspective. Perhaps, you will even start understanding her choices, which will make #1 less of a struggle! Also, if you pay attention, you might actually learn something! Personally, I know a whole lot about sperm count! And baby food! And a whole lot of other stuff that I hope to never apply in practice!
Preserve a balance. No one party (or puppy) should overpower the rest, so make sure everybody’s voice is heard. If you start feeling marginalized, speak up, or, better yet, enforce your life upon them! Think of it as the civic duty of friendship and take advantage. For example, I like to balance every puppy picture with a screen shot of a Raya hipster with a record-setting mustache. As a result, the Stepford Diaries media library looks like this.
Pretty cool, non?
To conclude: Stick to these friendship tips and squad will stay tight forever. Better yet, you will never have to go through the torture of making new Gen Z friends!
P.S. Stepford Diaries has an Instagram account, which you can follow here! I used to be the Ayahuasca and now I’m the Mouth! FYI, I’ve never even tried ayahuasca.