My husband and I have been listening to a lot of finance podcasts lately. The importance of diversifying your financial portfolio is always one major point. It had me thinking the other day: shouldn’t we also be diversifying our friend portfolio?
I’m not talking just about the outward appearance, but rather school of thought, beliefs, expertise, and ultimately what they provide as a friend.
I am naturally introverted and while I am no life expert, I have learned over my 35 years of existence on this Earth that I have managed to keep some pretty valuable friendships over the years. For that, I am eternally grateful. Some friends are my cheerleaders. Other friends are my reality checkers. There are women are there to remind me to enjoy life!
These women come from various timeframes in my life, marked by significant personal growth.
Naturally, your first friend is usually a family member. I lucked out and have a sister who I know that I can easily text or call at anytime of the day. While we may not see eye to eye 90% of the time, we do have that understanding of, “No one messes with my sister, but me.” Some women who have cousins are like sisters.
These women know you before you even know yourself.
Throughout high school, I made close friends by bonding over the academic trials of being students in the International Baccalaureate program. Nothing brings together a group of young girls in their formative years, like obsessively trying to perfect an Ethics presentation or translate centuries old Latin text, while also trying to have some semblance of a social life in high school. We joke these days, that we were so focused that we didn’t even realize how “uncool” we were to the rest of the student body! These are women who I go to when I hear about some research paper that was published that I want their insight on, since they have grown up to be actual rocket scientists or amazing physicians.
They are one source of my fact-checking amidst the inundation of misinformation lately.
In college, the friends I made through a study abroad program in Paris are some of my closest to date. These ladies are the ones that are hungry to travel and enjoy all the romances that life has to offer. At the drop of a hat, they are willing to plan a trip with me. These women are not mothers yet, so once a month, we virtually meet to remember the laissez-faire summer we had in Paris and they give life updates on their forays into the dating world.
Most importantly, we remind one another that life is meant to be enjoyed!
In my first years of teaching, from France to the US, I was fortunate to meet and make friends who helped me to question my own beliefs and to see the cultural differences. These women helped me become the sort of educator that I am today, one who is more compassionate to others and especially to the way that students learn. While thousands of miles apart, technology has allowed us to be there for important life events.
As a first time mom unexpectedly suffering from severe postpartum depression, my circle of friends in Louisville was composed of women who ran regularly for not only their physical health, but especially for their mental health, as raising young versions of yourself is no easy feat. These women rallied around me and convinced me that yes, I could run a personal best in all these races, postpartum.
We talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly of motherhood. No topic was off limits.
As I sit here after a year with Louisville Mom Collective, I have also managed to surround myself with another group of women who encourage, listen, and push you to try to be the best version of myself.
In my 35 years, I have managed to cultivate a portfolio of women who I can, without a doubt, go to for various reasons. If I need something light-hearted to cheer me up, I have a friend for that. If I need someone to tell me to “suck it up” and go after something, I have a friend for that. If I need to divulge in heavy events, weighing on my heart, I have a friend for that.
The friendships that you keep are some of the most valuable currency you will have in life.
These women give me fresh insight on life. A teacher who I admired greatly once said, “If you are the smartest person in the room, find a different room because you aren’t going to learn anything new.” That resonated with me after all these years. If I am in a room where everyone looks and thinks like me, I am not going to be growing as an individual. I won’t be learning anything new.
For that reason, it’s important that we are diversifying our friend portfolio, so that you can be the best version of yourself. So that you, in turn, can also be a valuable friend to someone when they need it.