Repeat after me: I am my own best company.
Never having a best friend. It’s not something you’d normally think you would need a survival guide for but thanks to television, movies and social media it’s needed now more than ever. It’s not that you can’t survive life without ever having best friends – just some times are harder than others. Like when you get sucked into watching the Sex & The City Movie and realize that you’ve never come close to having such good friends, yet alone those willing to drop everything and go on vacation with you to keep you from depression.
Or the times you get addicted to Pinterest and are forced to stare at beautiful pin worthy quotes about best friends that you can’t relate to.
Like the days you watch your favorite throwback sitcoms and realize that you’ve never had lifelong friends like Laura and Maxine on Family Matters or Cory and Sean on Boy Meets World.
What about the times you log onto Facebook and are bombarded with photos of people you grew up with showing off their fabulous weekend spent with their best friends for life then realizing you’ve never been a part of something like that.
Though it’s doable, it’s a tough pill to swallow when the world around you makes it seem as though having a best friend is a necessity of life. It’s a situation I know all too well. For as long as I could remember, I’ve never been the girl to have best friends. I’ve had acquaintances, peers and classmates but I never had best friends. Of course, there were those friends that I became very close with, but I’ve never uttered the words “best friend” to them. That was partly due to fear of embarrassing myself if they don’t feel the same way about me, partly because it leaves me open and vulnerable and partly because I don’t believe in calling someone my best friend (more on that one later). But I was lucky though. While I never had a best friend, I definitely had some close friends throughout my lifetime. They often changed with each school year as a kid, but I’m grateful for having them at some point.
A few of those close friends are still with me well into adulthood (they know who they are) and I’ve felt so fortunate to have them. Some of them have been to my wedding and I’ve attended theirs. A handful of them have visited me even after moving out of state and others have made sure to keep in touch via phone. No matter how good those friends are though, we never called each other best friends – at least not to our faces and it never seemed like the friendships on TV. And because of that, I alway felt like I was missing something, until I finally grasped the idea that best friends aren’t everything. Though difficult I learned several tidbits about best friends that made my lack of one that much easier to take.
- It’s not necessary for friends to be ranked.
I know this sounds crazy, but I never liked the idea of calling people best friends. The idea of calling someone the “best” is just unnecessary and seems a bit trivial to me. Why can’t we just accept that we have some not-so-close friends, close friends, acquaintances and good friends. The fact that I now have to rate these people as best or not the best is stressful and seems a bit insulting to me. I remember the pain I would feel as a child hearing a friend refer to another friend as a best friend when I thought we were best friends. I’d rather we just accept that some people are close friends and other people aren’t close friends. Sometimes, it might actually be better that way.
2. It’s all just semantics.
My non belief in calling someone a best friend, leads me to my next point. It’s not necessary to get so caught up in semantics. Just because you’ve never uttered the words “best friend” to each other doesn’t mean the affection, love and mannerisms of “best friends” don’t exist. We need to stop getting so caught up with the labels and start to appreciate the friendships we have as they are. You might find that it’s been something special all along.
3. Every relationship has a purpose.
Though they may not be as unbreakable as a best friend-like friendship, that doesn’t mean the relationships you do have don’t help you or serve a purpose in some way. Every person that walks into your life is put there for a reason. Some are put there to give you advice, while others are there to show you a good time. Then there are those who help you see the best in you and those that help you see the worst in you. They may not all be done via the same person like a best friend, but it doesn’t make their purpose any less valuable. You may not have someone that you can call your best friend but trust that you have everything you need. Every person you’ve crossed paths with was put there for a reason and helped you become the terrific person you are today.
4. You aren’t alone.
You ever hear the quote, “Just when you think the world turned it’s back on you; take a look. You most likely turned your back on the world.”? Well, I’ve found it be to true when it came to not having best friends and feeling alone. There were so many times that I felt like I had no one that I never bothered with anyone. For as long as I could remember, I’ve always been a very private person so I never let anyone in. I had already assumed that others didn’t want to bother with me so I never bothered with them. It wasn’t until I took a long look at myself that I realized the only reason why I was alone was because I made myself feel that way. I was alone because I didn’t let anyone in. In order to have a best friend or any type of friend, you need to allow people in so they can be your friend and you must reciprocate. Once I opened myself up to people, I found out that I was never truly alone. I just allowed myself to get caught up in the tangled web of my mind.
5. It’s okay to feel lonely.
It’s never a good feeling, but it’s ok to be lonely. I know what it’s like to celebrate a birthday only to be disappointed because those you thought would show up didn’t. I understand how frustrating it is to celebrate an accomplishment alone because everyone was too busy to rejoice with you. Unfortunately, loneliness is a feeling you experience often if you’ve never had a best friend and always longed for one. The truth is, feeling lonely only describes the current moment. It doesn’t describe the entire situation. Sometimes, we put too much value in the need to always be surrounded by people that we forget it’s ok to just be by ourselves. Feeling lonely sometimes doesn’t diminish your self worth, and doesn’t reveal a flaw in your personality. Feeling lonely only forces you to be with yourself for a period of time and sometimes that’s the best thing you can have. Embrace the loneliness. It won’t last forever.
6. It’s ok to be Stephanie. Not everyone can be DJ.
You ever notice how on Full House DJ was lucky enough to be best friends with Kimmy for the entire series and Stephanie always had different friends for what seemed like every month? Well for as long as I could remember, I’ve been the Stephanie who longed to be a DJ. It used to bother me that I was never like DJ until I realized what being like Stephanie truly meant for me. It meant that I was able to adapt to new people and relationships as necessary. It meant that I had a large network even though the relationships didn’t always last. It also showed that I was capable of welcoming new people into my world even if only for a short time. Though being a Stephanie often meant I would mourn the fizzle of friendships often, it also meant that life was interesting, exciting and challenging as I never knew who would walk into my life next. While I longed to be a DJ with a friend like Kimmy who left an imprint on my heart during my younger years, I learned that it was ok to be a Stephanie who had the opportunity to get to know new people so frequently.
7. This isn’t television.
And even though you may identify more with Stephanie than DJ, it’s also important to remember that we do not live in a television show. This is real life. It’s rare to find friendships where it’s acceptable for friends to just walk through the back door at any time unannounced the way Kimmy Gibbler did on Full House. It’s unlikely to find any friends that run away to Disney World with one day notice like Cory and Sean in Boy Meets World. And you’ll never be like the girls of Sex and the City who have a wedding without inviting a single relative meanwhile their friends were all in attendance. As tempting and exciting as those situations sound, it’s time you realize we don’t live in a television show. This is real life where those kinds of friendships are a bit unlikely. The fact that your friendships don’t match that of television doesn’t make them any less meaningful. It also doesn’t make you weird. Stop comparing your relationships to what you think they should be based on TV and appreciate what you do have.
8. The bloodlines don’t need to be thin or non-existent.
Who said that best friends can’t be relatives? So you may not have a close bond with the girl from your bus ride to work or the guy you beat on the debate team, that doesn’t mean there aren’t people in your life you do share a bond with. Don’t underestimate the friendship you may have with a sibling, cousin or even a parent. I used to think I was missing something in my life because I never had a best friend, but that was before I realized the close relationship I had with my family. My brother and I have a bond that most people find impossible and certainly can’t relate to.
9. There’s nothing wrong with you.
While I’ve been a social person who loves talking, I’ve never been the first person someone called in the event of a crisis. Nor have I been the one to take to all the important events. I was also never the person who’s phone would be blowing up with text messages from friends all day everyday. Hell, I wasn’t even the person that got a bunch of genuine Facebook messages for my birthday. Meanwhile, the close friends I did have always seemed to be in high demand by their best friends, sorority sisters, or co-workers – people that certainly weren’t me while in their presence. I was the one who never had anyone to respond to via phone and I thought there was something missing in my life and that I was odd. However, it’s important to note that you might not be in high demand with lots of people, but you are unique, special and needed by someone. There’s is nothing wrong with you. And things aren’t always how they appear. The problem is that you are most likely comparing yourself to extroverts when you are probably more of an introvert. You don’t need to always be on the phone to feel normal. Whether or not you realize it, everybody has someone. It might be your spouse, it might be your childhood friend or might be mom, but you do have someone who thinks of you often.
10. People care more than you think.
Considering that I lack in the “best friend” department, I was constantly afraid that when I died no one would care other than my family. However, I was soon proved wrong once I got into a car accident last year. The phone calls and text messages from friends and family that I thought were never too invested in me was a wake up call that made me realize that I am loved. They may not always express it or know the right way to say it, but trust that there are people in your life that care about you more than you know. It reminds me of the old quote you never, “Never frown because you never know who may be falling in love with your smile.”
11. Everything has a season.
It took me a while to figure this out, but I learned that everything is temporary. Every situation has a season. That means your drought of a best friend may not last forever either as this season is temporary too. It may be a very long season, but a season none the less. You won’t feel lonely forever. You won’t be companionless forever and you won’t lack a special bond forever. In time, whether best friend, close friend or good friend you will have your moment to be a part of something special.
12. You don’t need a best friend to be happy.
And while it may seem like life is crumbling around you because you don’t have that special companion, it’s important to remember that you are in charge of your own happiness. It is possible for you to be your own best friend. Learn to believe in yourself the way a best friend would. Learn to be honest with yourself the way a best friend would. And learn to have fun by yourself as though you are hanging with a best friend. While having a best friend may help in the happiness department you must learn to be happy on your own. Once your happiness is dependent on something else, it means that it’s far too easy for that happiness to be taken away from you. So learn to be the best friend to yourself the same way you would a best friend to others. You’ll be surprised how much your life will change once you do.
Do you have a best friend? Have you ever felt as though you were friendless and alone?
TERRIfic Quips: Every person you’ve crossed paths with was put there for a reason and helped you become the terrific person you are today.