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Is a friend standing in the way of your work life balance?

Last night I was perusing through Cosmopolitan when something grabbed my attention. It was a list of  things you need to know by your late 20s.

Number 14 on that list: No matter how close you get with a guy, never neglect your closest, most solid friends.

I am well past my late 20s but I have learned that friendships are CRUCIAL to sanity and work life balance both for men and women. They can make life easier for you, or make your juggling act much more difficult.

Here's what I have discovered:

A real friend doesn't insist you attend girls night out or guys night out if he or she knows you have spent very little time lately with your significant other.

He or she asks you to pitch in with driving kids or taking over a piece of a work project, but he or she returns the favor.

A real friend notices when you've had a hard day at work or feel  overwhelmed by the demands on your time -- and listens to you vent without being judgmental. If your "friend" wants you to listen to his or her drama but doesn’t seem to have time for yours, they’re not really a friend.

I've discovered that real friend understands that there might be times in your life when you can only spare a few minutes for a phone conversation and that's all that's needed to keep the friendship going.

In my 20s, I had a very high tolerance for selfish friends.  But as I approach my 50s, I surround myself with friends who I want to make time for because they add something to my life. They make my life better and I think I make their lives better, too.

If a  so-called friend is interfering with your work life balance, don't be afraid to end the friendship and move on. It's a lesson we all learn -- some of us just take longer to figure it out.

Do you have the right friends in your life?