who has been around long enough to say, “And you’re surprised that your stepmother wants you to fly across the country with your toddler and infant at great expense and sleep in a motel over a holiday weekend when it would be much easier for she and your dad to come to you? Why? Because she’s always been so accommodating? Remember the time when …” It is so validating and makes you feel ever so much less like a crazy lady. And if a new friend steps in with a fresh way to talk to the difficult stepmother (since muttering “I hate you!” under your breath since you were 16 hasn’t worked), all the better. New friends let you make new patterns—they let you see that if you act differently, maybe you’ll get different results. Either way, you’ve got two great girls to go out to a bar with once in a while. You can order a silly-sounding drink, blow off some steam for as long as you can keep your eyes open and remember you’re not old. That is, if you can ever find a date to meet up that works for all three of you.
4 Friends Every Formerly Needs 1. The blunt but loving friend . She’ll tell you, yes, your skin is looking a little slack these days, but it’s nothing a decent night cream, a little microdermabrasion and a good night’s sleep won’t cure. 2. The outraged-on-your-behalf friend . “WTF? Are they trying to make things harder for us? Would it kill them to make a bikini top with an underwire? It’s not you—it’s the *^&* bathing suit. Christ.” 3. The friend who will wipe your kid’s ass as if it were her own kid’s ass . This is the same friend who also really won’t hold it against you if your kid pukes on her rug, and will take him home from school with her kid if your sitter bails and you’re stuck at work, because she knows your boss is itching to replace you with some recent grad who he can pay half of what you make. ’Nuff said. 4. The friend who can tell you which celebrity has had what work done . Some people have an eagle eye for this and I find it incredibly helpful to be reminded that—despite protestations that all they do is drink a lot of water, wear sunscreen and hike for 20 minutes with their dogs and that’s why they have unlined faces and fat-free bodies—no one looks like Nicole Kidman and Angelina Jolie at their age with their offspring without a little high-tech help. 5. The friend who reminds you to trust your gut . Formerlies know that their instincts are usually right, but the transition from what you were to a Formerly can be destabilizing. It helps to have someone around who points out that whatever choice you make will turn out to be the right one, because one way or another, you’ll make it so. … And Friends for Whom Formerlies Have No Use The friend who is deeply hurt and thinks you would already know why if you were really her friend. The friend who can’t even pretend to like your significant other and/or who can’t genuinely like your children. The friend who points out that if you eat two Lean Cuisines you may as well have eaten a regular meal.You’re not an idiot. You’re a Formerly. You’re doing the best you can. The friend who won’t come to your neighborhood at least half the time. The friend who remains silent and allows you to believe everything is as easy as she makes it seem.
5 My Friend Restraint A Formerly needs more than jeans in her closet, of course, but figuring out what works now that you’re in a new category of human can be tricky. So every time I go shopping, online or in person, I bring along my personal stylist, Restraint. She sounds like a big old poop, but she’s not—in fact, she’ll take you clubbing, and you’ll have a rockin’ time, but the next day you won’t be nearly dead of a hangover and hallucinating that you did it with one of the Ramones. Here’s an example of her type of thinking: Wear a mini-skirt if you want. But don’t wear it with fishnets and platform pumps and a bustier and an MC jacket.