My friends and I, we have an understanding.

by Janelle Hanchett


So there are friends, and then there are those friends.

There are childhood friends, who are pretty much sisters. And on the other end of the spectrum there are acquaintances, who you kind of know and kind of like…but then, then there those fascinating creatures right in the middle: FRIENDS. Those friends. The people who get you and you get them and it just works. There’s nothing forcing the relationship…you’re friends just because the two of you jive.

Ya feel me?

I have a few of these friends. And I heart them with all my heart.

Whoa. That was lame.

Yes, lame. But true. And the other day I was thinking about these friends and I realized that one of the things that make them so awesome is that we have some “understandings” – some unspoken ways of functioning with one another.

With these friends, I don’t have to worry about sounding good, looking good, being polite or scaring them. I can just be.

Mostly because we have these understandings, which I have summarized here:

  1. If you call one of these women a name, say for example “slut,” they will respond with something way more offensive, such as “pirate hooker.”
  2. This will not be offensive. This will be funny.
  3. Sexual innuendo is a basic tenet of conversation. For example, one of the friends in question may respond to the aforementioned name calling with something along the lines of “I love it when you talk dirty to me.” or “you’re so hot when you’re mad.”
  4. Not returning phone calls for a day or two or never is not rude, it is a reality of our lives and we all know it and we realize that soon, we will be the asshole who isn’t returning calls.
  5. It is always the husband’s fault. And when you bitch about the bastard, you will not get sound advice, helpful suggestions or supportive pick-me-ups, rather, you will hear some totally unhelpful over-generalization such as “I fucking hate men.” or “God I wish I were a lesbian.”
  6. A couple of the friends I’m referring to here are in fact lesbians, so in that case, we just talk shit about their partners and mumble things like “Let’s move to Vermont and get married and we can have lovers on the side. I’m okay with it.” In fact, that exact sentence occurred recently with a particular friend of mine.
  7. The conversations in 5 and 6 will never be told to outsiders. In fact, if they occur on the day of your wedding anniversary, this friend will STILL congratulate you wholeheartedly on Facebook, acting as if you hadn’t just told her you’d like to kick your husband in the, ahem, face.
  8. PMS is an excuse for all kinds of insanity and weeping and depression, but you will be taken seriously when you call in that state. No questions asked.
  9. If you show up to dinner with one of these friends looking like a homeless person, they won’t even notice.
  10. If you just had a baby, they’ll say you look amazing.
  11. If you just had a baby, you’ll get to decide everything.
  12. It is agreed that people who don’t understand sarcasm are suffering from some horrible mental deficiency and pretty much aren’t funny.
  13. We, however, are universally hilarious.
  14. Comments like “My demon spawn are ruining my life. This evening, instead of eating dinner, I plan on igniting myself and jumping off a building while playing ‘Blaze of Glory’ on a jukebox” are not alarming, wrong, or weird. Because these friends have been there and they’ll admit it.
  15. Any of us can flake pretty much immediately before the event without anybody losing their minds, on account of the demon spawn mentioned above. Or PMS. Or the problematic partner.
  16. None of us know a damn thing about parenting and express it openly, you know, like this for example:

Me: “Rocket’s doing [super annoying behavior]. Have your kids ever done that?”

Friend: “No, my kids are fucking perfect.”

Me: “So what did you do about it?”

Friend: “I drank a bottle of wine and left my house.”

And it’s understood that we aren’t those mothers who “know” and give wonderfully helpful advice and bask in the glory of our perfect children.

Rather, we are the mothers who do our best, clumsily and unglamorously, and often, slightly unwillingly, hoping for the best but often getting what appears to be the worst. And when that happens, we call each other and whine and commiserate, and call each other inappropriate names.

And somehow, I feel better every time.

By the way, at the risk of sounding like a lonely internet inhabitant with no real life, as I was writing this I realized that many of you are in this classification of friends. Though we may have never met in person, somehow, we jive, and sarcasm abounds, and clearly, we are the same mothers. And we are all, obviously, fucking hilarious.

So here’s to the understandings.

Between friends.



20 Comments | Posted in nothing to do with parenting. | June 28, 2012
  • Marisa

    We are awesome.

    • renegademama

      You see? This is exactly what I’m talking about. I just bellowed out in laughter when I read this comment. SO PERFECT.

      And yes, yes we are.

  • Melanie

    So true. I’m sharing this with my friend, so she’ll know how much I love her.

    • renegademama

      Okay that made me feel good. Thanks, Melanie. I mean it really is awesome to have friends that just get you…no pretense, no bullshit. Love it.

  • jackie

    thank god. you just defined what i dislike about a few so-called friends who will never, ever become actual friends. Case in point. My “demon spawn has pneumonia”. “oh really? He’s pretty young to get that, that’s unusual (and you are a horrible mom).” while I would have said to an actual friend if she told me that about her baby: “really? What did you do? Forget his jacket in -40 last week you dumbass??” which would be appropriate. Phew, now i can relax knowing i only have a few friends and stop trying to make those other bitches my friends, because, franky, they’ll never call me slut. at least to my face:)

    • renegademama

      Hysterical. And I believe the “will this person call me a slut” question is actually the official gauge of a potential friend. Shit-talking and name-calling…the pillars of a lasting friendship. xo

  • Michael Ann

    This is a huge theme in my life right now, as I am getting divorced and relying heavily on my best friends. I realize I only have a couple of them and I’d better get some more before I talk their ears off and wear out my welcome. But of course, that will never happen because they ARE my best friends and will always be here for me. There is nothing like that feeling of total connection with someone, where you can truly be yourself and they can be themselves and nothing is fake, forged or uncomfortable.

  • luella

    i think my favorite phrase that gets bandied around by my real friends (BFing mamas) originated several years ago when one friend was attempting to change into her swimsuit top at the beach without flashing everyone…to which another friend said:
    “what are you worried about anyways…your tits are old news.” now ‘your tits are old news’ is the response to many situations.

  • Christina

    Hey Hooker,

    I think you get me.

  • Shelly

    I sent this to my friend Jenny…she’s the one you describe so perfectly here. Funny story – I was eating a muffin one day at lunch, and she says to me, “What kind is it, can I sniff it?” We looked at each other, and we both just lost it, laughing our asses off. Now that’s our special joke, “Hey, I know you wanna sniff my muffin.” Yeah, she’s THAT friend. hahaha

  • Robbie

    This is hilarious and oh so true.I feel privleged to have a group of friends exactly like you describe. I only wish we all lived closer to each other.

  • Alycia

    Love this!!! I had to share it. Thank you for getting it and writing it so well.

  • Rachel

    Oh boy did I need this today! Another poignant value in friendship… Timing. Nothing like a call, text or email at exactly the right time. As in now…when my leech (daughter) is pulling at me wanting me to paint her nails RIGHT NOW while doing the “Stewie” (mom, mommy, mama… You get the rest). If I didn’t read this now, I’d be likely to nose-dive off my two story deck. So thanks, friend, for the timing.

  • Nora

    I wish I had a friend like you.

  • MomOfTwoPearces

    Just found your blog through a friend and read this post…after peeing my pants laughing (and possibly hyperventilating), I am now a fan for life 🙂

  • Momtothree

    Oh, so true, there are girls-you-know-and-kind-of-like, and then there are friends. The ones you can vent to, tell things you wouldn’t tell your own Mom, and it just makes the universe seem like an ok place sometimes, just to know there is someone who ‘gets’ what you are saying. And knowing that they will always do their best to be there for you. Even if only on the end of a phone line.
    I enjoy coming back here, time and time again. And I do feel connected to you, J. For your irreverence, for being bold enough to tell it like it (really) is. And for that one time when I called you out for what seemed a harsh post, and you were big enough to think about it, and take a stand that was both morally right, and hard to do.
    So I say thankyou. For being you, and for inspiring those of us who think the same, but who maybe can’t voice it so well, or wouldn’t dare say it out loud …

  • Erin

    SO.TRUE. Love this!

  • Kristin @MonWithMac

    Brilliant. Truly.

  • Andromeda

    oh man. I wish I had friends like that! Somehow over the last 3 years, I guess I’ve taken the “stay at home” part of this parenting gig way too seriously. All my pre-parenthood friends have moved on and I don’t know how to make new ones. I’m a bit too irreverent for the moms of my oldest son’s friends. Case in point- While going on about my FANTASTIC time at Burning Man a few years ago one mom said to me, “You’re so weird. I don’t even know why we’re friends.” Hmm… actually we aren’t.

    Anyway, you all hold on to those wonderful, special people in your life and I’ll be over there trying to figure out a way to reenter society!

  • shauna

    How did I miss this one?? After 4/almost 5 yeas living in LA I may have finally just met a soul sister. The rest are scattered all over america, and I miss them. But I’m thankful for the new one. Amen and amen.