By Jess Caire
In today’s crazy age there’s a term for just about everything, and, if you’re anything like me the words entrepreneur, protégé and mentor make you dry retch because they’ve become so over-used they’ve lost their value (similar to the words amazing and inspirational!).
I was gushing to a friend of mine recently, about another friend who I’m blessed to have in my life. My friend said to me – she’s your frentor…
Frentor (n.) An older friend who is like a mentor but a friend firstly.
We laughed at this made-up word initially, but I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I’ve been thinking about how important a frentor is, how everyone should have one – and how it is totally a ‘thing’.
A frentor doesn’t need to be a whole generation older than you, maybe 6-8 years is nice (tread carefully with the age thing, even frentors can be funny about it!). My frentor is the older sister I would choose without the usual family drama that goes along with it (mind you, I adore my sister – have you seen her gorgeous @taperjeangirl candles? #shamelesspromotion).
My frentor gives me sound advice, she’s mature, she’s seen it all before. She’s seen all kinds of mean girls, she’s kicked ass in her career, she’s made mistakes and grown, she’s worked her shit out and knows how the world works.
Our conversations aren’t gossip or nonsense, she’s too sensible for that, she offers sage, no nonsense advice and then we move onto discussing the Hemsworth brothers.
We discuss work challenges, marriage, parenting, difficult family situations – no topic is off limits. And, in this safe sanctuary I can be myself, I can bring all of my shit, all of my issues and all of my vulnerability to the table. She’s been there, she’s done that, she gets it, and it’s okay.
In my life I spend a lot of time getting on with it, being okay, soldiering on and trying to keep all the balls in the air – and sometimes I find myself being the support network but not always supported – and I’m frankly terrible at asking for help. Asking for help is my biggest weakness. If there is an emotional tsunami in my life, it can usually be attributed to that little thing I didn’t do when I should have; for not reaching out to ask for help, for being okay with not being okay.
My frentor sees this before it happens. It hasn’t taken a lifetime for us to develop this bond, in fact, only a matter of months.
There’s a saying, “the best relationships are the ones you didn’t see coming”. And my mentor is one.
If you aren’t already scrolling through your Facebook friends list to find yourself a frentor, here’s a little list (because we all love a list) of reasons why you might just love a frentor in your life:
1, They’ve seen it before – work, mean girls, life’s challenges. They have no doubt navigated a very similar situation to what you’re in right now – and they hurt like you hurt right now. Take the advice, listen to how it panned out for them and learn from the mistakes they made.
2. They support you, your successes, your challenges and your growth – they are too mature and grounded to be caught up in jealousy or comparison – they want you to succeed. They are team you.
3. They’ve worked their shit out – mostly. I don’t think anyone truly ever works their shit out completely. But your frentor has overcome insecurities, jealousy and the stuff that holds you back in your early years. This means they’ll be comfortable in their own skin, have a style all of their own (and if you’re lucky, a wardrobe you can raid).
4. They’ll like a whole different genre of music, TV shows, books, idols – and that’s okay, because it will rub off on you – and that’s learning at its finest.
We probably all have stages in life, where we unknowingly settle into a role of the frentor, or the (dare I make up another word) frotege.
But I encourage you to consciously make the decision to surround yourself with people who are ‘team you’. And, most of all, to have someone who is older, wiser, smarter hanging out in your corner.
Note: To find out more about my life-changing, goal-smashing mentoring services, click here.