Commandments for Being an Adult Friend

10. Thou Shall Make Plans a Month Ahead of Time: Long gone are the days that you find yourself sitting at home without plans on a Friday night at 7 PM and can text your friends to spontaneously make plans to do something wild and fun and exciting. As an adult, your friends have work commitment, family commitments, spouse commitments, dog commitments, or are just really, really tired at the conclusion of the working week so if you haven’t made plans by Monday afternoon, it looks like you will probably be sitting at home, scrolling through your Insta feed on Friday night because everyone else likely already has plans.

9. Thou Shall Not Share News Until It is Publicly Posted on Social Media: Engagements, babies, divorces, new jobs, etc. By this time in our lives, we’ve definitely encountered a situation in which information was shared prior to it being posted on social media and it really messed up plans. Like maybe our friends were planning some elaborate, expensive, surprise party to announce their engagement to their parents, and we blabbed ahead of time. Or, there was strife between one friend and another, and we announced their pregnancy, which only caused the strife to get worse. When people post things on social media, that means they are willing to make that information public, so as an adult friend, we do not share any news until we get the go-ahead from that InstaGram picture.

8. Thou Shall Enforce Friend’s Parenting Strategies: It is kind of like training a dog–if one person messes up or falters on the training, or doesn’t stick with the routine, then it is all over for the owner. Like, if the owner does not allow the dog to sit on the couch, but a guest coaxes the dog up, now the dog knows this is a possibility and tries it with the owner. The same is true with your friends’ kids–if mom and dad don’t allow the kid to eat sugar before bed, but you do, then you have taught the kid a bad habit, have gone against mom and dad’s parenting strategies, and could successively ruin the track the child is on. So, you find out what things are acceptable, or unacceptable, and you try to mimic your friends’ parenting to their children (so that your friend isn’t suffering from a child who no longer sleeps, or who has learned if they cry long enough, someone will shut them up with a piece of candy).

7. Thou Shall Not Take Advantage of Services (unless offered): By now, everyone has been in a career or service field for long enough to probably consider themselves ‘experts’, and you, as an expert yourself, know how annoying it is when people try to take advantage of your expertise for free. Like, it is inevitable for our cars to breakdown, and when that happens, we all think about that mechanic we can call, in hopes they will diagnose our car for free (so we save the $150 on labor). Or, we need engagement pictures, so we try to probe our photographer friend to do them for free (so we can save the $500 it costs to do pictures). Or, we know someone who is a lawyer, and hope we can seek out advice about our rights as tenants against our landlord (so we can save ourselves the $500 retainer fee it would be for an attorney). But, we also know how annoying it is when other people ask US for OUR expertise, and because we want to respect our friends, we just cough up the money and go somewhere else to resolve our issues.

6. Thou Shall Ask to Invite Appendages Along: It used to be that everyone was lonely, desperate for friends, lived in crappy college apartments, so it didn’t matter who or what you brought along with you. But now that we are adults, people live in nicer places, strategically plan out seating arrangements, have accumulated more valuables, etc., it is important we ask before bringing someone along. When your wedding invitation is addressed to, “Ms. Britany Ederveen”, I shouldn’t just assume that Michael is also invited (because that is super awkward when Michael shows up and there is no setting at the table for him so he has to go eat his wedding dinner in a closet or outside in the pouring rain). Or, when my friend invites me to her Halloween party, I shouldn’t just assume that I can bring the girl I just met on the Light Rail (because who knows what their history could actually be–that LightRail chick totally could have been my friend’s fiancé’s ex-stalker). Or, when my co-worker invites us all to her house for happy hour after work, I shouldn’t just assume that I can also invite my sister and her co-worker’s and her co-worker’s children (because maybe her house actually isn’t child-proof and my kid risks pulling that urn off the shelf and scattering the contents everywhere).

5. Thou shall not leave voicemails unless it is urgent: With the great invention of the cell phone, it is likely that, if we call our friend and they do not pick up, they will receive a nice notification saying we called. No one needs to leave messages anymore and when I do see a message, I automatically think there is an emergency and I freak out and panic and, because I’m busy and in the middle of something, I get annoyed when I listen to the voicemail and it says, “Hey, just wanted to let you know that I bought those cute leggings we were looking at the other day”–and then I have to go through the process of deleting that message from all of the app’s that capture voicemails on my phone.

4. Thou shall monitor liquid intake: More so than for our friends who have to take care of us, this is important because one too many glasses results in a WAY MORE miserable next day (actually, more than ONE glass in general). And, because we are older and have more responsibilities, this will also trail much longer into our weeks if we are not careful.

3. Thou Shall Not Full-Frontal Hug a Woman who Recently Birthed a Baby: I’ve obviously never been birthed my own baby before, but the non verbal language I’ve gathered from my friends who have is that you don’t offer full frontal hugs. Maybe a side hug (depending on the stretch we have to make for that physical contact and amount of labor my friend recently endured), maybe a little elbow tap, but never, never, never a front hug. (I think) what happens could be potential leakage, and honestly, I’m happy to not be the recipient of that, and I don’t think my friend really wants to give away her gold to me anyways.

2. Thou shall not be upset by text messages returned two weeks later: Again, when everyone was bored, lonely, insecure, craving attention, working minimum wage jobs, etc. we all had time to be on our phones constantly. Then life happened. People upgrade their jobs, upgraded their responsibilities, bought houses where pipes burst, Internet goes out, leaves get sucked into the gutter, etc. They stare at their computers all day at work, are busy carting young children around to extracurricular activities, etc. so sometimes, it’s not until Sunday night when they finally have a moment to glance through all unread text messages that they remember to respond, But, because we all do it–we are all guilty of meaning to respond, and then not–so we forgive our friends.

1.Thou shall use those manners our moms taught us: Take off your shoes when entering the house. Stay until the toilet is all the way flushed. Call if you are going to be late. Don’t send a message after 11 PM (unless you have one of those friends who is breastfeeding, then you never know when she will respond and you can send messages anytime). Bring your own food and beverage if you have dietary restrictions or preferences. Don’t block people in when you park. Throw away your trash. Send thank you notes–all of those things you neglected as an younger adult that are now actually important to follow.

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