Imagine a house. A sweet little house, that’s just yours. Imagine your house has a beautiful front porch with a swing and rocking chairs. Outside the porch, there’s a yard and a little garden. And your yard is surrounded by a little white fence. Your house has limited space inside. You have an adorable little nook in your kitchen where you can sit and have coffee with a close friend, or two. And your sweet porch has about 3 chairs and a swing, for visitors. On a beautiful day, you can invite folks to your place to picnic or BBQ in your yard and sit on blankets around your home.
Sounds quaint, right?
What if I told you that you had to host 15 people inside or crowd 30 people on your front porch? Or what if you felt like EVERYONE deserved a spot at your kitchen nook when, really, they might be better suited as a picnic friend? You might feel stressed, right? It might not feel as intimate as you intended. Especially if you were trying to simply have coffee and talk at the nook but felt like a dozen or so people needed your attention and space.
This house is an analogy to your village. I want you to build that house, aka, create and nurture the village you need.
I don’t know about you, but I have limited time and energy. I have busy kids, a full life, and I want to spend time with my husband. That means, there’s only room for a few people at a time at the nook. And only small gatherings in my house or on the front porch. And the yard – well those gatherings happen every so often.
In the past (not too distant, I might add), I made the mistake of inviting people into my house when they should really be front porch friends. Or inviting people on my front porch when they should really only be backyard bbq friends. It requires keen deciphering. Here are my rough definitions:
Kitchen nook friends – My “no matter what” people. These are my girlfriends I could call, day or night, and they would drop anything to be with me. These women show up fiercely. For me. For my children. For anything. There’s no judgement or pretense. They are allies and confidantes. They will sit with my pain, laugh until we cry, hug me when I’m overwhelmed and cheer for my successes. They’ve seen me at my worst and my best.
Front porch friends – My small, extended family. These friends are beautiful too! They’re incredible and loving, but not always available and have their own “kitchen nook” friends. But they love the things I love and I often gather with them because of mutual interests, our children or our shared history. They have a special place in my heart and I love spending time with them.
Backyard BBQ Friends – I love these people! They make up the rest of my village. We see each other a few times a year, laughing and catching up. I enjoy their company, I love hearing about their lives and children. We share warmth and community and we look forward to getting together again.
I don’t know friends – what am I missing? I’m still trying to build out this analogy. What else would you distinguish? Or how else do you distinguish these groups of people? They’re all loving and important to have in your life. It’s just different levels of closeness.
I’d love to hear from you – about how you’re building your village. Next week, I’ll dive into what you should expect from your village.
I hope I’m part of it, even if I’m celebrating you from next door!
Oh, if you’re reading this and you’re free tonight – Tuesday, May 23 at 4 PM PST/7 PM EST – join me and other professionals as we discuss childhood trauma – it’s being live-streamed! https://www.youtube.com/c/NerissaBauerMD