Here’s to My Useless Friends

“You seem a lot happier since we moved to Texas,” my 17 year old son told me the other day.

“I do?” I asked him. “That’s not surprising. I am a lot happier.”

“I think it’s your friends here,” he said.”They make you smile.”

He’s right. They do. When we moved to Texas six years ago, I made a conscious decision to find friends who were fun and knew how to laugh.

My Oklahoma friends are all nice women, but too many of them were friends of mine because of convenience. Our children played together, and our friendships revolved around our children. Their kids took dance classes, learned Latin, played sports, did boy scouts, etc. with my children. We were on committees together.We worked together. We helped each other in our vocation as mothers. We spent a lot of time together, and grew used to having each other around.

They were great working friendships, and that was the problem with them. Our relationships were revolved completely around the work of being homeschooling mothers. Eventually our lives were so enmeshed that neither side could walk away because to disentangle ourselves from each other would be so disruptive to all of our lives.

When you can’t be yourself  and find that you are parsing your words carefully and tiptoeing around each other in order to maintain the status quo, what you have is not a true friendship.

It wasn’t until I moved away from it all that I realized how exhausting it all had been. I decided that this time I would do better, and I have. Since moving to Texas, I’ve only been keeping and seeking out useless friends. The reality I have learned is that if people have a use and a purpose in your life, you’re not really their friend.

I have and maintain lots of acquaintances these days. There are the people I meet on committees and the parents of my children’s friends. I like them all and we are friendly. We chat and hang out, laugh and enjoy each other’s company. We trade favors and recipes but we are not truly close.

Then there are the few I love, a few from there and a few from here. The ones with whom I share my authentic self. The ones who bring nothing more than joy, peace, and comfort to my life. The ones without a purpose. They are the ones I keep for fun, the ones who make me truly happy just because I know them. They are my wonderful, beloved and truly useless friends.

I hope they find me useless, too.


photo: it’s my Bunko group – some of the most useless women I know.

About Rebecca Frech

Rebecca Frech is a Catholic author, speaker, CrossFit coach, and the Managing Editor of The Catholic Conspiracy website. She is the author of the best-selling books Teaching in Your Tiara: A Homeschooling Book for the Rest of Us and Can We Be Friends? She is a co-host of the popular podcast The Visitation Project, and is a columnist for The National Catholic Register. She and her husband live just outside Dallas with their eight children, a German Shepherd named Dave, and an ever-multiplying family of dust-bunnies.
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