No More BFFs

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A couple of months ago I read a blog post that bothered me a fair amount. I don’t recall where I read it, or who the author was, otherwise I would direct you to the post. The idea behind it was that women should avoid having a best friend. Not because best friends are bad, but because of how they make other people feel. When a person has a bff, other people might feel left out and the author insisted we should always be all-inclusive.

We have all been uniquely created for friendship. This is evidenced clearly by individuals on Facebook. Some people might have only 100 friends, while others have over 1,000, and still others wouldn’t touch this social media site with a 10-foot pole. We all define friendship in different ways.

When I was in high school, my friend Jerry gave me a book to read about the inner workings of friendship. The book was truly fascinating. I don’t remember specifics, but the author focused on different kinds of personalities and how they form friendships. Although he didn’t use these terms, the idea was that extroverts tend to have more while introverts tend to have less friendships. Also, he discussed the depth to which these friendships go.

As an introvert, I do indeed tend to have fewer friends than the average person, and I find them very difficult to manage well. I feel like I fail often. As an adult, I don’t really have a singular best girlfriend, but I certainly do have friends I consider much closer than others: you know, those friends you would call in any kind of crisis.

The other day my mother-in-law was telling me about a conversation she had with her sister in which I was partly the subject of conversation. She informed her sister that I am not the type of person to just pal around, hang-out, and chit-chat with someone. Yep, guilty as charged! If you want to have deep conversations, I’m your girl, but you will rarely (or never) find me having a shopping day with a friend or see me getting a pedicure with someone.

When we are upset by the kind of friendships other people keep, I would say that has more to do with our own insecurities than anything wrong with what that person is doing. That’s a hard statement to swallow, but I think we need to take ownership of our feelings.

No one likes to feel left out. I’ve been in situations where it’s been difficult to “find my tribe.” I’ve felt rejected before, and even as an adult I struggle to fit in at times. My children attend a small town school where my husband grew up, but I did not. Many of the staff members are from the area. Sometimes I feel like I observe from the periphery, but guess what? That’s my fault. There are things I could do to make myself more a part of the culture if I truly wanted to do so.

Are you struggling today with friendship? Take a few moments to consider exactly why. What are some steps you could take to rectify the situation? Do you need to make a phone call and set up a coffee date? How about arranging a play date with another mom and her kids that you admire? Is there a way you could get more deeply involved in an organization that might lead to some new friendships? Or, do you simply need to get over your silly self because you aren’t a certain person’s first choice as a companion? There are probably loads of other people who would benefit from your friendship as you bemoan the one relationship that isn’t working in your favor.

One best friend? Three close friends? Twenty fun pals? Whatever the design of friends in your life, appreciate what you have and simply strive to be the kind of friend to others that you are looking for yourself.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject! What is your impression of bffs?

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Photo from freeimages.com.

 

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15 thoughts on “No More BFFs

  1. I am appalled that the blog author would say we need to be all inclusive with our friends. I cannot even imagine telling everyone what I tell my few very close friends. There is a need to have a few someone’s close to you so that you can each share and lift each other up when need be. I am all for BFF’s.

    • I’m sure her intentions were good, but I think it’s ludicrous to tell people they shouldn’t have a best friend. I agree we shouldn’t rub it in other people’s faces, and we should be sensitive to the feelings of others, but that was taking it too far for me. Thanks for reading!

  2. I struggle with friendship, I have to admit. I’m just not good at maintaining them. There’s always another need to meet in one of my kids, I rationalize. There’s not enough time to nurture a friendship, I say. There’s always another book to read or piece to write or job responsibility to finish. I know this about myself. I also know I’m not great at the long-distance thing (meaning being a good friend to someone who lives across town). So I’ve decided to start a women’s book club with a few of my neighbors and some other women I enjoy but don’t know well. We haven’t had our first meeting yet, but I’m getting it on the calendar this week. That’s my effort to build friendships and reach.

    • Great idea, Rachel. I make all of those excuses, too. It is hard when you are a wife, mom, and pursuing other interests to do friendship well. I hope your book club will be a blessing to all!

  3. Personally, I think it’s important to have a few close friends whom you can confide in, who will sharpen you, who support you on life’s journey. Unfortunately, Facebook has the capacity to incite jealousy if one isn’t included in an event. In those instances, I choose not to take it personally. There might be other reasons why I’m not invited besides that person not wanting me there! On the flip side, I try to think through invitations on FB that include some and not others. Friendships among women are always tricky. None of us want to offend or hurt others. The bottom line is to offer grace to others and try not to take everything personally!

  4. I’m not crazy about all the labeling. I have a few really close, or what some might call best friends, and then I have a lot of what some might call acquaintances. I value these people and often enjoy their company, but I don’t always feel as comfortable sharing my innermost thoughts with them. It might be that I haven’t had the time to build a deeper friendship, something that gets harder as we get older. Like you, I’m more introverted — but I’m not really shy. I don’t enjoy idle chitchat and would rather be alone than forced to make small talk. A few years ago I was part of a close group of four women who spent time together regularly. One woman and I were closer simply because we had similar ideas about life and had worked in the same field. We had more in common. One morning we bumped into each other at a coffee shop and decided to sit together — completely unplanned. Well another woman from the foursome stopped in and saw us together and apparently was outraged and hurt that we hadn’t included her. She went on to say that we wanted to be best friends and were joined at the hip and all kinds of things that seemed ridiculous since we are all reasonable people in our mid-thirties. I was dumbfounded. If I had been the person walking in and seeing two other women from our group together, I don’t think I would have been upset. We asked the other friend to join us and she stood and chatted briefly but acted strange and later told our other friend about it and she told us. Our other friend was as perplexed as we were. It turned out the woman who was upset had some other circumstances going on at the time that possibly were making her more sensitive. I also think that BFF means different things to different people and because of social media it’s harder to determine who a person is close with. One of my acquaintance friends snaps a lot of pictures and posts them on Facebook. Because I am in lots of pictures with her, it likely appears that we’re much closer than we actually are — and maybe to her, that’s a big part of friendship. For me, it’s not — we know each other and our kids go to the same school and are in some of the same activities, but that’s about the extent of it. I like her but other than what I just mentioned we don’t have much more in common. Great post and very thought-provoking! 🙂

    • Wow. Thanks for sharing your story. A perfect example of how insecurity can cause us to jump to incorrect conclusions. Social media definitely makes navigating friendships more difficult. Glad you joined in the conversation!

  5. Friendships are one of those things that, as I get older, I appreciate the “easy” ones more. I know there are 100 people that I would call friends, but very few that I would call in a crisis, share my deepest fears and frustrations with, and celebrate every success with. Love being a friend to you.

  6. When my daughter was in preschool she listened to me tell stories of my bff or two from grade school. The teacher scolded her, saying we shouldn’t have a bff, but be friends with everyone. While this sounds like a great idea in theory, I think it better to have told my child, special friends ARE special, and it’s great to also be FRIENDLY to everyone. I am an introvert. I have many acquaintances, and yet only a handful of friends that hear my complaints and intimate ideas, fears and trials. I appreciate your article/story because while reading it, it reminded me of ways to foster current friendships, but it also reminded me, that sometimes friendships are for but a season. Or, worse yet, sometimes they are unhealthy, in which one or both are not giving as much love and concern and they should, thus the friendship is dissolving. This too is important to identify. Letting some friendships go is actually healthy I think. I myself, cannot possibly devote 100% of my attentions on all my friends as I might like, not to mention the friends or acquaintances I am ready to let go. Let us remember, we are not failing or always the fault of a friendship that has moved on. Better to leave a friendship as kindly and Christ like as we can, and remember that people come and go from our lives, so that others may come and go in the future. Thanks for sharing Amy!

    • ( to clarify my previous comment: when my daughter mentioned having a bff, the preschool teacher scolder her) ….ugh, the joys of trying to multitask, dinner, Facebook, reading blogs, replying to blogs/articles and kids coming home from school……apparently, I don’t do them all well, together! happy day to all of you!

    • You gave me a lot to think about it in your comment. Maybe I need to do a series on friendship. This seems like a difficult topic for everyone. I’m thankful for those friends, while although you may drift apart due to location or circumstances, you can always pick up where you left off. It would be interesting to know the relationship experiences the preschool teacher had. I bet there’s a big back story to her interaction with your daughter! I appreciate you taking the time to respond!

  7. I have a few close friends – mainly my sisters-in-law and one friend whom has been my BFF since high school. As an introvert and stay at home mama of littles, I feel like I can’t give a lot of time for more than that. At the end of the day I am typically wiped out from all the loving my kids give me, I reserve extra for my hubby, and then I am ready to sit in a corner and knit 🙂 But, I think everyone is different. Of of my good friends seems to be constantly out and about with different people and always busy, she loves it and thrives in that type of atmosphere. Not for me though. I think that you just find what works for you, and stick with it. I am much more the sit down and have a deep conversation gal as well…and a lot of people I know don’t want to do that.

    • I understand your dilemma completely, and yes, everyone is indeed different. If I kept the same pace as some of my friends I would have a complete meltdown. I think it’s just important to understand our limits in this area.

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