Dear daughter of mine,
You have a lot of friends. At just 3 years old, you rattle off their names like the roster of a baseball team. Your “best” friends shift from day to day, depending on who you’ve seen most recently, but you never have a shortage of buddies you’re ready to tell me all about.
It might just be one of my favorite things about you, this willingness you have to embrace everyone you meet as a friend.
Of course, it’s also one of the things that makes me worry for your future. Not because I want you to lose that innocence that tells you everyone is your friend, but because I fear that if you don’t … you’re in for a world of hurt and disappointment when you realize not everyone else values relationships in the same way.
I want you to have good friends, little girl. The kind who will laugh with you, not at you, and who will support you in whatever it is that excites you.
I hope you make friends who cheer you on when you’re doing well, but who are also honest when it seems as though you might need some help. I hope your friends will be those who trust you with their secrets, and who can be trusted with yours in return. I want you to have friends you can call on late at night when you’re sad, or scared, or just need someone to talk to.
Though, for the record, your mommy will always be here for that as well!
I’ve been lucky in my life, lucky in my friendships. I’m blessed to count a handful of women as my forever friends. The kind of good, sincere, loyal women I hope you one day find for yourself.
But like most women, I’ve also had my share of bad friends: toxic girls and women who live their lives jockeying for position and knocking aside anyone who gets in their way.
I hope you can avoid the friends who keep you close for the wrong reasons. The kind of friends who will gossip about you, enjoy making you cry, or who find pleasure in hurting your more authentic relationships. While I know it’s likely inevitable that you will at some point cross paths with friends like those, I still hope you never do.
There will also be friends who judge you based on the price tag of your coat, or try to tell you that you need to lose weight or wear more makeup to hang out with them. I hope you’ll know those aren’t friends at all, and that you’re better off without them.
I feel like navigating female friendships will be one of the hardest lessons you’ll ever have to learn; I know it was for me. But I also know that one of the best things I took away from those lessons was the knowledge that good friends lift you up and make your life so much happier and more fulfilled. False friends, on the other hand, will pull you down.
You don’t need those friends. And I will do everything in my power to ensure that you never become one of them.
Because you, my sweet girl, are better than that. And I know that one day, you’ll be just as good a friend as I hope you’ll come to have.
Leah Campbell is a writer and editor living in Anchorage, Alaska. A single mother by choice after a serendipitous series of events led to the adoption of her daughter, Leah is also author of Single Infertile Female and has written extensively on the topics of infertility, adoption, and parenting. You can connect with Leah at her personal website or on Twitter.