For some reason, I have ALWAYS been the go-to person for advice among my friends. I have no idea why, but if you’re having a bad day or need a pep talk, everyone comes to me for advice. I always thought this was a bit weird, I never really thought of myself as a good advice giver, but apparently everyone else didn’t agree with me.

In college, this happened more often. My guy friends even started calling me “Mom” since I was the one who took care of anyone who needed it, no questions asked. Stressed out about your life? Talk to Mom. Confused about relationship things? Talk to Mom. Need advice in general? Talk to Mom.

That was how it was for all four years of college. There were days where I literally had five people coming to me asking for advice on all different things. When that happened, I seriously considered changing my major from journalism to psychology or something like that but I never actually went through with it. And anyone else might have been annoyed by this number of help requests, but I actually really enjoyed it.

My own mom has always told me she always knew what she wanted to do. It was pretty simple, she just wanted to help people. I think I get that trait from her because I feel the same way. So, that’s why if someone in my life needs an ear to listen to them, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to help them figure things out, I am more than happy to do it.

Being a writer and journalist also may be part of it too. Since you can’t exactly write stories without sources, I have to talk to people. A lot. And, I have to be a good listener so I can hear their story and then get it right in my articles. With that skill already there, I think listening to people who are important to me comes naturally. I want to be there for my friends when they need me, and if this is one of the ways, I’m okay with that. Now, this may sound like an easy job, but it can be a pretty hard one sometimes.

Knowing a few of my friend’s secrets comes with a twist to it. When more than one of them is having problems with the other and both come to me, I’m put in an interesting position. Can I talk about the one friend to the other? Nope, I don’t really like to divulge my friend’s secrets to the other if I can help it. Sometimes I don’t even tell them both that they are talking to me about the same problem since that just seems unfair. What I try to do is be there for both of them as much as I can without having to tell the other about what is going on.

The other side of being the mom of my group is I try not to let anyone go too crazy, that is, if I can help it. Not that everyone always listens to me, but I have a pretty good track record. Most of the time, I think this is because my friends know that if they don’t listen to me there could be consequences, what they would be I have no idea, but thinking that they actually value my opinion also works.

Have I let everyone make their own mistakes? Of course. Some of them have come back later to tell me that I was right though, which is always a nice validation, especially since I always question the advice I give people.

But being the mom of the friend group is not just about giving advice when people need it either. One of my best friends recently told me that I am “the most responsible one of the friend group.” This boggled my mind because I never thought of myself in that way. For me, I’m just trying to do the best that I can. And if I can help someone along the way, especially my friends, I’m going to do it. The fact that everyone thinks I am responsible means that I may be doing better than I think I am, and that is always good to know.

And what is an even better feeling is knowing that there are a few people out there who have your back no matter what. By being the mom, I know that if I were ever in trouble and needed help, I have quite a few people who would be there like I was for them, no questions asked. As we all figure our lives out, there is not a better feeling than knowing that, and I can honestly say I wear my “mom” badge proudly.