I’m texting with Kim. Interrogating her about how she balances the demands of family, job, hobbies, friendships. We’ve talked about this a thousand times and I still think she’ll have the answer. She doesn’t.
Mostly I complain about my intense guilt. The guilt I feel when a friend who I love asks “when can we get together” and I respond “Ummm…I’m not sure” or someone says, “let’s have a play date” and I say “YES” when in my mind I’m thinking “Oh.my.god. when the heck do we have time for that?”
We start to joke about how much easier it would be if there was some set of friendship rules that dictate the parameters of friendships. Being in the tech industry I suggest the answer is a friendship service level agreement (SLA). She enthusiastically agrees. We brainstorm.
I exclaim, “this would be a great blog”. She enthusiastically agrees again. I must be on to something.
So here they are. Friendship SLAs as defined by an overworked, exhausted chic who apparently has time to blog but no time to answer the phone, return texts and emails, or agree to play dates, girls night’s out and other fun activities.
Friendship Service Level Agreements
The following communication parameters apply to each person involved in said friendship.
1.1 Phone Calls
All phone calls will be returned within 48 hours. Any of the following factors could delay call backs up to 2 (or more) weeks:
- Extensive travel by the husband during which time mom is in survival mode
- Child(ren) with: stomach bugs, pink eye, strep throat or other contagious illness
- Unhappy temper-tantruming children
- Time-sucking work project(s)
- Time-sucking life project(s) – including but not limited to: selling / purchasing a house, major redesign of a room or house, anything involving the PTA, child-related milestones that require preparation
1.2 Text messaging
All texts will be returned in less than 12 hours. The following factors will delay text backs:
- Phone is lost
- Phone is slimy (due to sticky kid fingers)
- Too many texts – or group texts – delay response time.
Emails will likely have a same-day response but:
- Please limit email to one big topic per day
- Expect no more than 4 back-and-forth exchanges on each topic. If more discussion is needed please pick up the phone. See above.
2. Getting Together
The following parameters shall be adhered to if we stand a chance of getting together
2.1 Play dates
Requests for a play date will be honored at the next available date. To ensure a speedier response please:
- Provide up to three date/time options keeping in mind:
- Remember that mom and dad work. Therefore weekday play dates are only an option if you are offering to pick up my kids.
2.2.Girls night out
Requests for a “girls-night-out” will be subject to:
- Husband’s travel schedule and/or grandparent or other child care provider’s ability to be with children.
- The amount of work required for the night out. A night of drinking wine and chatting will get a quicker response than a night that requires (a) effort (b) reservations or up-front payment
- Night’s out will happen sooner when approached like this, “Let’s go out on [date] at [time] to [location] instead of this, “I’d love to see you. When can we get together? Where should we meet? I only eat [list dietary restrictions]”
3. Conflict Resolution
All conflicts will be resolved using the guidelines below.
3.1 Assume positive intent
Friends will always assume positive intent. A pause after “when can we get together” shall not be interpreted as “she hates me and never has time for me”. Instead such statements will be interpreted as, “wow, she is so busy she can’t even express her excitement to get together.” Unless you violate SLA 3.2 bullet 5in which case the pause means “are we really going to talk about THAT again?”
3.2 Help! [fill in super-urgent-problem that has nothing to do with me here]
Your problems will be addressed in the following manner:
- Before stating your problem indicate your intent: (1) venting (2) coaching required (3) solution required
- Then state your problem providing the necessary details ONLY
- Venting will be limited to one 20 minute session with a follow up 20 minute session if required
- If action is required to solve the problem, take said action before raising the problem again for discussion
- If a problem is brought up for a 2nd time but no action has been taken, no further discussion will be allowed
- If I violate any of the above simply hang up on me.
The fine print
If you are a friend of mine who read this blog and is offended you:
- Seriously do not get my sense of humor
- Might have dropped a notch on the friendship hierarchy
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