We all have those friends who are in a different category from the rest. Now I'm not talking about those "special" friends, but more so those that we would go to hell and back for in order to ensure they're happy, like any great wingwoman would.
What do I mean by "wingwoman" exactly? OK, so aside from the obvious gender difference, a great wingwoman — key word being great — will, without any doubt, go to large lengths to ensure that the recipient's standards are maintained and their appetite "satiated."
I think it's safe to speak on behalf of most women when I say that there is always at least one night a week where adulting is too much, where there isn't enough wine in the bottle, where we question our love lives and we genuinely think about the feasibility of quitting our jobs and becoming a unicorn, glitter and all.
We bury our heads in books to try and find solutions to those things we call feelings, we spend hours skirting around conversations that force us to confront "those issues" and, most commonly, we all rely on that friend whose insights and advice tell you everything you already know, but whose words roll much better off their tongue as opposed to our own.
Often, the role of wingwoman is something that is bestowed upon us, kind of like the whole "wand chooses the wizard" sort of thing. Bestowed sometimes is a bit of a stretch, though. In my case, my duties started along with the new job.
Being in the same office as a friend is both absolutely brilliant and often largely unproductive. We had our own setup, constant Facebook messaging, Skype messenger for when Facebook was blocked and often coordinated bathroom/kitchen and corridor trips just to ensure not a minute passed without live updates.
The term "work wife" is taken very seriously in this dynamic, and it all culminated at none other than the office Christmas party. Picture this: too much food, too much alcohol, too many colleagues and too many graphic images now etched into my brain. Little did I know that this would become the foundation for a new depth of discussion, long walks around the block and not to mention the development of a rather comprehensive understanding of said friend's situations without them saying a single word.
Don't get me wrong. There have been times where I feel like I am more emotionally invested in my friends' life events than my own, and there's definitely no fairy godmother hanging over your shoulder providing additional wisdom and cheering you on from the sidelines.
So what would I say to all the wingwoman in training?
1. Be prepared, and be open.
I'm talking about anything and everything. The challenge of being a wingwoman, and a good one at that, is you will never know exactly what will be required of you. While none of us really know what we are doing, having an open mind to whatever conversation/drama/predicament that requires our insights will make one's ability to approach and open up 100 percent easier.
2. Stand your ground.
Believe me when I say there are going to be plenty of times where you look at your friend and either ask what they've been smoking, or when you'll wonder how many times one has to say the same thing before there is some level of acknowledgement. Those conversations where you're asked to comment on something where you have different opinions. Truth is, if you agreed on everything, they wouldn't be asking you for anything, now would they? Embrace your differences, and always stay true to yourself.
3. Chill out.
I will be the first to admit that prior to more recent times, the only chill thing anywhere near me would have been my freezer. In the long run, it makes everything so much more complicated for you and for everything else. If you start becoming too emotionally involved, it will not only cause a strain on your own relationship dynamic, but most definitely impair your ability to take an effective, more calculated approach.
4. Timing is everything.
This does not just apply to attracting someone's attention at a bar. I'm talking the follow-up discussions, the processing time and accepting the fact that there are likely to be plenty of discussions in between that have nothing to do with the issue at play. Be patient, and remember that it's their life and not yours. Not everyone deals with things the same way, and this will never be the case. Don't dwell on the "well, if they would just," they aren't likely to follow your advice, nor should they. Deal with it, and use your intuition. You'll know when it's appropriate to put your foot down.
5. Emotions aren't easy.
I'm not going to go completely psychoanalytical on you all, but I'll be damned if I regurgitate the "emotions aren't rational" BS. No one wants to face rejection. After all, we are creatures craving validation and affection. First things first, there is no wrong way to feel. There are most definitely wrong ways to behave, but there are plenty of stages in between to work through in the meantime. Trust your intuition and listen for the sake of listening, not just to respond.
Take the good with the bad. This "arrangement" is not a formal contract. We're all fallible, so don't put the pressure on yourself to get it right all the time. All friendships come with their duties, and by all means, it isn't always a matter of convenience, but often the most valuable lessons and best memories come from situations and places where we least expect it.