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As you grow older, daughter, we’re both realizing that your friendships aren’t quite as easy as they once were.

Gone are the days when friendships blew in like warm summer days. When friends became whichever kids happened to be at playgroup. When the kids of my friends immediately and unquestionably became your friends. When the hodgepodge of kids at the park or playground were considered friends because all friendship required was a little room to run, a few props—like sand, swings, and slides—and some laughter.

Now that we’ve left those preschool and elementary days behind, you’re trying to figure out who your people are and where you fit in. The pool of potential friends is bigger than it’s ever been. Voices are loud. Personalities are strong. And just like you, everyone else is trying to find their people and their place.

As you’ve grown and your world has expanded, I’ve watched you relax into some friendships, and I cannot begin to describe the joy this brings me. With these friends, you’re comfortable in your own skin, your natural style, and your own interests. You shine.

RELATED: Dear Daughter, Friendships Are Like Blue Jeans

But other friendships seem to spark questions—and a little anxiety—in both of us. With some friends, I see tension take over your body when you’re together. I see uncertainty on your face and eyes that search for approval. You aren’t sure what to say or how to act or even what to wear when you’re around them. You worry you’ll lose your chance at these friendships simply by being you.

Around these friends, I see your insecurities flare up and your confidence fizzle. I see you trying to keep up, prove your worth, and earn your place in their lives.

Though I want to scream it, I try to subtly impress upon you that a good friend is someone who makes you feel comfortable, loved, confident. A good friend doesn’t try to change you or make you feel the need to pretend. A good friend doesn’t make you wonder.

That last part might be the most important—if that falls into place, I believe most everything else will too. A good friend doesn’t make you wonder.

She doesn’t make you wonder where you stand with her. Instead, whether by word or action, she lets you know she stands with you. She wants what’s best for you and doesn’t treat you as her second choice.

She doesn’t make you wonder if you’ve done something wrong. She doesn’t ignore you or give you the silent treatment or leave you behind for reasons only known to her. If there’s a problem or a misunderstanding, she tells you, instead of causing you to guess or holding something against you that you aren’t even aware of.

RELATED: My Dear Daughters, Friendship is So Hard

She doesn’t make you wonder if you’re good enough for her. She doesn’t pressure you to be like her—or anyone else for that matter—but accepts you as you are. She celebrates your unique gifts and interests. She doesn’t try to fix you or control you. She doesn’t make herself available to you only when she’s out of other options.

She doesn’t make you wonder if you are, in fact, friends. She treats you with respect. She is honest, even when honesty is the more difficult choice to make. She is loyal. She doesn’t try to save herself by taking you down or gossiping behind your back. She makes you feel confident in your friendship and in yourself. She doesn’t make you question your place in her life. With her, you feel loved, accepted, secure.

Daughter, there are friends—or at least people who claim to be your friends—and there are good friends. When you feel lost in the noise or the drama or the uncertainty and aren’t sure where you stand, remember that a good friend doesn’t make you wonder.

And when you find that friend, hang onto her and be the friend who doesn’t make her wonder either.

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Jenny Albers

Jenny Albers is a wife, mother, and writer.  She is the author of Courageously Expecting, a book that empathizes with and empowers women who are pregnant after loss. You can find Jenny on her blog, where she writes about pregnancy loss, motherhood, and faith. She never pretends to know it all, but rather seeks to encourage others with real (and not always pretty) stories of the hard, heart, and humorous parts of life. She's a work in progress, and while never all-knowing, she's (by the grace of God) always growing. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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