In what was a mostly tongue in cheek #catholicgrlprob tweet, last night @JackieFrancois tweeted about that “awkward moment at Mass when you’re between your boyfriend and best friend and don’t know who to give peace to first”.
This prompted a range of responses-- @ATLenahan answered, “always the boyfriend first! If she is a besty she’ll understand”.
I replied that I disagree, stating “bff before bf. unless there’s another friend, creating a row of 4. Then normal laws of balance apply”. @CatholicDrinkie agreed with me, and @LT_TheBiblegeek sided with @ATLenahan, saying he was correct, “bff ought to support discernment, unless they are unhealthily codependent… ;)
This conversation was evidence of a lot of things. First, look at what happens on twitter when it’s not retreat or conference season… We spend Saturday mornings analyzing Catholic habits, presumably hyped up on caffeine… However, I also thought @JackieFrancois’ tweet… and the subsequent responses (and I only shared the highlights—there were more) brought up something important: the importance of friendship-- especially among single Catholic ladies. As girls complain more and more about the "drama" among them, the gift that is friendship can be overlooked*. And it shouldn't be.
I know that each vocation holds it’s unique challenges, but for a second I want to address single Catholic women in their late twenties / thirties/ (and up) and the friendships that form, should you find yourself in this state of life. Unlike our peers who found their soulmates in college or soon thereafter, we have navigated the “lawless post-apocalyptic wasteland” that is dating in the “real world”. We’ve attended more wedding, bachelorette and baby related functions and been privy to more conversations on NFP and children than I believe men in “equivalent states of life” could possibly understand.
It is these friends—these fellow single Catholic ladies—that you call or text when you have just come home from a long day of work where co-workers have asked and told you you’re still single because you were too picky to go out with their neighbor’s nephew a second time—after he spent the first date asking you, “what, dude, you’re Catholic? So like, you believe what that guy in Rome says about like, condoms and stuff?” and you arrive home to find a mailbox stuffed with wedding and shower and baby related communications and you’re ready to settle and go out with whoever asks you next—if that even happens-- or just join the convent already.
It is these gals that you call to regain your sanity. They remind you that you’re not crazy for feeling overwhelmed. Or lonely. Or frustrated. Or just really really tired. And, it’s these ladies that remind you not to settle. To wait for the right guy. To not settle for “almost” and to wait for “God’s will”.
Then, when you do think you’ve met Mr. Right, they’re the ones that talk you into going on the second date (even though you’re worried about being disappointed) and help you see how this person’s gifts complement yours. The friend who can listen to you talk on and on about how a date was just right—when their last one was catastrophic. The friend who googles temperaments and helps you understand that “those weird things he does” are actually part of his God-given personality and what makes him just right for you. The friend who helps you realize what’s best for you when—as we girls can sometimes be—you’re too spastic to come to this conclusion on your own. We do it with shoes, dresses, careers and dating. Do guys do this too? I don’t know. But it's not dysfunctional-- it's that we girls are relational and the more complex our lives get, the more we need a good friend to help us.
This isn’t co-dependence. These are friendships that are necessary for Catholic gals these days. These are friendships that a boyfriend needs to understand as an ally in your discernment. And in a world where being a single Catholic girl is pretty darn difficult, I’m going to honor these friendships every chance I get.
I know that this twitter thread was mostly tongue-in-cheek, and I know that in the grand scheme of things, who you give the sign of peace to is not a deal breaker for any party involved. However, I needed to articulate why I give my “bff” the sign of peace first. They know I love them both. But it’s the “bff” that helped me stay sane enough to find the “bf” in the first place.
Plus, as my “bf” said, “we hug longer. It’d be rude to keep her waiting”.
(Chivalry for the win.)
*a footnote… Ladies, if you’re still a teenager or a young’un in college, understand that this is why even though you may “like your guy friends more cause there’s less drama”, it is SO important to have good girlfriends.