There’s a handful of reasons why someone might be inclined to take on a motherly role in their friendships. According to Moberg, this can include personality tendencies, childhood experiences with caretakers, and how they seek validation, purpose, and worth in life.
Let’s say for example someone grew up in a home where they were given a lot of responsibilities or were even expected to emotionally support a parent. This could translate to nurturing as a way to show love.
But “mom friend” tendencies can also be simply personality-based: Perhaps they’re more mature or serious (ever heard someone be called an old soul?), and that’s why they may end up watching out for friends on a night out rather than letting loose.
What’s important to remember is that every friendship requires balance, so Moberg notes it’s important to be mindful of codependent friendship behaviors such as people pleasing, always trying to fix or solve problems, or believing being motherly is the only way you can keep a friend. If you feel like “your friend always needs help and you have a responsibility to be the helper,” she adds, you might want to think about where these tendencies are arising from.