I’ve never had a best friend

I’ve never had a best friend.

I’m not saying that so you’ll feel sorry for me. It’s just a realization that I’ve had over and over and over again in my life.

best friends

When you’re young, you usually have a friend. One little girl that always comes over. You spend the night at each other’s houses. You swear to each other that boys are yucky and that the two of you will grow up to marry one another.

And then one of you moves away.

For me, it was my friend Becky. We lived in the same neighborhood and attended the same kindergarten. We played with each other constantly and my parents became good friends with her parents. We were going to be best friends for life.

Becky and her family moved to another part of the state and before I knew it, we did too. The exact same model of their house in the exact same neighborhood and we were besties again.

How she put up with me I’ll never know. I was definitely a bratty friend. I knew it all and I never let her forget it. And then she moved again.

Her family moved to Richmond, Virginia and mine stayed put. We wrote occasional letters and sent audio letters to one another recorded on cassette tapes. I still have those recordings and the casual conversation of third graders is so funny to me.

She eventually moved to Germany and then back to Richmond. Her parents split up and so did mine. We lost touch. I saw her once in college and we reconnected a few years ago on Facebook but our lives diverged and so did our friendship.

I had lots of neighborhood playmates: Jessica, Carrie, LaDonna. I made good friends in middle school: Robin, Nicky, Amy. And then our lives diverged.

In high school, I was inseparable from Susan for quite a few years and then something happened that I can’t quite remember and we drifted apart. We might have had a falling out. Then she had a boyfriend. That’s usually how things go.

I started hanging out with the popular crowd. Smart, pretty people. I enjoyed them all but never quite felt like I fit in with Jennifer, Kirsten, Jenny, and others.

We graduated high school and I was determined to make something of myself. Determined to show people that I did belong in that pretty, popular crowd. Within a year, there were more fallouts and tragedy struck and our high school group seemed fractured for good.

I moved through college years and professional life and never connected with anyone. I had plenty of girlfriends, some of whom are still good friends of mine. But never that one person. Never that one girl that you could call up at 2am and know that she would do anything for you.

I used to get offended when I would meet people, especially people I really liked, and they would tell me about their “best friend back in Michigan” or the woman they’ve been friends with since the second grade.

I took it to mean: Hi. Nice to meet you. We can be friends but not that good of friends because that position has already been filled. And perhaps I stayed guarded in the friendship.

Now, I’m a middle-aged woman and sometimes the insecurities that come with the lack of a best friend still creep up on me. I recently went to a blogging conference full of lively, sociable women, many of whom I’ve known for a while.

And I still felt lonely.

I tweeted about this a few months ago. I was surprised at how many women admitted the same thing. Is it the people we surround ourselves with or is it simply the type of people we are?

Sometimes I feel a little sad that I’ll never have that one girlfriend to giggle with. The one that has seen me through boyfriends and breakups and motherhood and marriage.

On the other hand, it’s made me realize that good friends come in all forms: my husband, my mother, my sister. And I wouldn’t trade any of them.

  • http://www.grayandbecca.com Becca Sanborn

    This really struck home for me. The woman who I consider to be my best friend had a high school best friend when we first met and it wasn’t until she had a falling out with the girl that her closest spot opened up and I guess I’m in that spot now, or one of the spots and she now has a few. 

    Anyways, as someone who has struggled in this area, mainly because I’ve had so many friends move away or abandon me, I claim my current friends carefully and I try hard to keep in touch because I don’t want to lose friends again. I try to see my friend 1-2 times per month (we don’t all live close by) and then we talk on the phone/internet all the time. 

    I’m thankful for what I have now because I went through so many years of feeling alone.

    • FadraN

      I think you hit on something important. In order to have a good friend, you have to BE a good friend. Maybe that’s something that has been lacking in my life (for deep-seeded psychological reasons I’ll spare you from!)

  • http://babywithatwist.wordpress.com/ KeAnne

    I could have written this post, Fadra.  I feel pretty lonely right now.  I just finished a book called “MWF Seeking BFF” about a 28-year-old in Chicago who spends a year “dating” women to find a new best friend.  It’s an interesting read, and I’m going to post on it but based on what you wrote and what she wrote, this lack of friends is a major phenomenon.

    • FadraN

      Before I met my husband, I often thought of putting an ad in the personals just because I wanted someone to hang out with. Sometimes I think I’m the only one but it’s nice to know I’m not.

  • http://babywithatwist.wordpress.com/ KeAnne

    I could have written this post, Fadra.  I feel pretty lonely right now.  I just finished a book called “MWF Seeking BFF” about a 28-year-old in Chicago who spends a year “dating” women to find a new best friend.  It’s an interesting read, and I’m going to post on it but based on what you wrote and what she wrote, this lack of friends is a major phenomenon.

  • Suebob

    I think serial friends are more common than best friends for life. There are people that I love and consider good friends since college – that I only talk to once or twice a year. Right now I’m struggling with my “best” friend, because I have realized that we only do things when I call her, never the other way around. I tried a test where I didn’t call her for a month and guess what…no contact. So I’m left to wonder how important I am to her. I am not good at this. 

    But when I met you, I wanted to be your friend right away. I thought “This is a girl whose table I want to sit at.” All ungrammatical like that. 

    • FadraN

      Suebob – first of all, GAH!! I have such a hard time with compliments but thank you! I so enjoyed meeting you. And I really subscribe to the friends come into your life for a season, a reason, or a lifetime. As I’m getting older, I have better perspective on that. And yes, I too have a college friend that I talk to once or twice per year. 

      As for keeping up with friends? I have trouble when it’s not reciprocal but I’ll admit that sometimes that’s me. Sigh. It’s tough being a woman.

  • Gigi927

    I totally identify with this, Fadra! Could have written it myself..and I have moments at every blog conference where I feel lonely. It’s somewhat reassuring to know it happens a bit to a lot of us.

    • FadraN

      Usually I can surround myself with enough social activity that the times I do get to myself are a welcome relief. But this past conference, I think it just felt different for me. Some of my old insecurities rearing their ugly head…

  • http://www.butterscotchsundae.com/ Nichole

    I can identify with this. I did have a “BFF” growing up. I’ve seen here once, I think, since high school and only emailed a few times since then. My husband is my best friend, and I do like it that way. But I get what you mean about not having a best girl friend.

    Let’s paint each other’s nails and talk about boys at Type-A this summer. (If you are going. If not, I’ll paint my own nails and talk to myself.)

    • FadraN

      I’m totally going to Type-A. I’ll bring the glitter polish :)

      • http://babywithatwist.wordpress.com/ KeAnne

         I’ll be at Type-A!  Can I play too?

  • http://twitter.com/JendisJournal Jendi

    I want to add my 2 cents and say that you actually had more close girlfriends than I ever did. I went to a very small private academy and just never had a friend my age that clicked with me – and I’m sincerely sure it’s totally because of me not them.

    I think that movies and fiction tend to play up the besties, girlfriend, etc. and make us feel like we are odd to not have a close friend. When in reality we are social in our own way, there is nothing wrong with it, and there are more of us than we think.

    I also think that because of that I have a stronger marriage. He is my best friend, confidante, and person I want to spend time with. 

    • FadraN

      You are echoing what a lot of people are saying. Sometimes outside friendships can actually come BETWEEN a marriage. And by the way, I’m quite sure I was always the best “friend material” so I’ll fess up to my role in things too.

  • tarheelmom

    not to sound cliche but seriously, you could’ve written this about me. i have friends, close friends, people i enjoy being around, people i talk to about personal things but i don’t have a bestie – not since high school…i’ve noticed my 13 yr old son is the same way,our personalities are very similar but my 10 yr old daughter is very different…

    • FadraN

      I guess it just goes to show that we all have different personalities and preferences. It makes for an awfully tough adolescence and even worse as a single, dating woman. But it always makes me appreciate my family so much.

  • Christina Stumbaugh

    I can TOTALLY relate!  I had a best friend through middle school and junior high but something happened and we “broke up”.  I was devastated and haven’t had a best friend since.  Not to mention – I am so socially awkward….it hurts!  Thanks for writing this and sharing….I actually felt the same way at said blogging conference.  I do wholeheartedly agree that not having a bestie has made my relationship with my husband stronger and for that…..I am thankful!  

    • FadraN

      Ah yes. The break-up. I experienced many of those. Some were rough and others simply drifted away. It has gotten easier as I’ve gotten older and when I do find friends now, it’s like a novelty for me!

      I’m glad to know there are others like you and like me out there :)

  • Kristi

    I could’ve written this post. While I feel blessed to have a very full life, I’ve always yearned for a bestie.

    • FadraN

      Well, at least know that you’re not alone in that yearning.

  • Herthirties

    Although you probably did intend on having your post make me cry, it did. I’m 30 years old and my one of my best friends moved away.. Yesterday.

    In fact, she was the last of my best friends to move away. They have all left.

    I still have great friends, but she was the last of my closest ones to leave.

    I feel confident that I will come across many more fabulous people in life, but the good-bye’s are tough.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • FadraN

      I’m okay with people feeling emotion with my posts but I didn’t mean to make you cry! I can imagine what it must be like to have that group and then to have them gone. One of my good friends has a group like that. They are high school friends and even though they’ve all moved on with their lives, they still have that bond and history.

      You will have many more close friends and I promise they’ll all serve a different purpose but never replace your other friends!

  • Missy @ Wonder, Friend

    I could write a lengthy comment here… I’ll try not to! My situation’s not identical, yet I get what you mean about having close friends, just not THAT friend. The one. I think of that friend as the last minute movie date, or someone who is up for spur of the moment cocktails, etc., and I don’t have HER right now. 

    I had a best friend when I was a child, but her family moved away in junior high. We’re in touch, but certainly not on a best friends level. I then developed a best friend relationship with someone I met in college. She passed away very suddenly when were 27 (I hesitate to tell people that, because they become SO sympathetic, yet I’m not sharing it to garner sympathy – I appreciate the sympathy, of course, but I share it in situations like this because it’s a fact not because I need people to give me the sad eyes. Does that make sense?). Since her death, I’ve struggled with making new friends. And I don’t think it’s anything deep or psychological – I’m not afraid to have that kind of friendship again. It’s just that this seems to be a very difficult time of life to make a best friend. At least for me.I do have several friends, people that I knew before my friend’s death, that I’m incredibly close to. I could call them at 2 a.m., but they don’t live in the same town. It takes a plane – or a really long road trip – to see them, so it’s not the same, I don’t think, as that day-to-day friendship.
    Darn – I completely blogged in your comments. But this resonated with me. Thanks for writing it, for sharing this. I think it’s helpful to know we’re not alone in feeling this way!

    • FadraN

      I love that you had so much to say about it. I love that we all have feelings around this topic that we can share. My best friend from senior year in high school was murdered a year after we graduated but we had long since drifted apart. It still haunted me but like you, never hung a black cloud over my head. 

      I think I’ve always been cautious with friends, never knowing if the feelings are reciprocal. Being in my late 20s and not married was about the loneliest time in my life. I met my husband and never really made good friends until I became a mom. And then they were my “mom friends” and now I have my “blogging friends” but really, I guess they are all just friends and I probably should count my blessings.

  • http://www.5minutesformom.com/ Susan (5 Minutes For Mom)

    In many ways I can relate to this now as an adult. I have my twin sister Janice and so we are best friends in a way… but it is different. I recently had one of my recent local neighborhood  “best friends” betray me in a most brutal fashion and now I will be even more guarded. I am thankful to have a twin sister who even though we fight would never betray a confidence.

    • FadraN

      Susan – I am so sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, betrayal is something I know (and have written about) all too well.

      Friendship is a tricky beast. I’m thankful for my sister but as you know, growing up with someone is a whole different dynamic than simply befriending them. 

      I think this is why getting older makes us value family more and more.

  • rageagainsttheminivan

    I can totally relate to this.  I had a best friend in high school, but I haven’t since.  I feel like it’s similar to searching for a spouse . . . it’s hard to find someone you click with on that level who is still “available”.  Add in kids and a crazy schedule, and it makes it even more difficult.

    • FadraN

      I guess as I think back I have had situational best friends but it’s never someone that has been a lifelong friend, for many different reasons. And it’s funny you said “available.” Just this morning, I had a playdate with a mom who told me about her best friend down the street. Not available.

  • http://opcatchat.blogspot.com/ caren

    I guess I am blessed because I have had multiple “best” friends. Also, I have had multiple “guy best friends”…doesn’t have to be a woman

    • FadraN

      You’re right. Best friends can come in many forms but I do think there is something to be said for the girl to girl or woman to woman friendship. It’s different. Not better or worse, just different. 

  • http://twitter.com/Minister_Mama Grace Biskie

    thanks for sharing this…I’ve realized this is a really hard issue and especially the thirtysomething range when so many of us are in child-bearing-career-building-busy-beaver mode. 

    I realized something that I do that I’m going to try to stop doing as a result of this post….sometimes I’m that girl that may talk about how I’m still best friends with the one from high school & the other one (from college).  I do think that on a more sub-conscious level it is putting up a barrier…just like you said.  I have never done that to be malicious or unkind, but I think sometimes I feel overwhelmed.  In any case, I’m sorry and I can see how that must feel if your all ready struggling with some insecurities in the BFF department. =(

    Also, I understand **a bit** b/c I feel that same insecurity about all my other relationships which are extremely difficult: marriage, my Mom & my Dad.  I feel like I’d just about do anything to make those 3 right.  I’m thankful though that in the midst of the primary 3 being very hard, that I do have those 2 besties who have been there through family drama. If not, where would I be?

    Anyway, great post.  It’s really good to think about these things.

    • FadraN

      I think you touched on something that I didn’t really get across in my post. It’s not that I can’t make new friends or even new best friends, I suppose. It’s that is really nice to know someone that shares your history with you. Someone that *know* your family drama and you can call and complain without giving an hourlong back story. Thanks for commenting!

  • http://www.mummytales.com/ Mummy Tales

    Your post has made me think of the ‘Best Friends’ I’ve had over the years, and how I miss some of them. Time, distance, different interests…life has contributed to our drifting apart. But I still hold them close. Acutally I’ll send them mail during the course of the coming week, just to touch base and find out how they’re doing. Thanks for this.

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  • Katie

    Wow. This post brought tears to my eyes because I honestly thought I was the only one. I have always had wonderful friends my whole life–women I still keep in touch with from summer camp, college, high school, previous jobs–but not any one Best Friend. I am often haunted by those “win a trip for you and your best friend to go to [fill in the blank]” contests. I don’t know who I would take if I ever did win. That doesn’t stop me from entering though! Thanks for writing this post–makes me feel  like less of a misfit.

  • Melisa

    I read this last week and totally forgot to come back and comment. Everything you wrote totally resonated with me! The last 8 years have been pretty lonely for me and I have yearned to find that one person. It got to the point where I kidded about putting an ad for maybe a gay bff. I have always thought that I was a good friend but maybe I am not as good as I think? 

  • RebeccaMaria

    As I peruse your blog, I feel almost like a stalker. It’s as if I’m trying to figure out who you are based on a child’s memories and piece it together with what I see here and our little correspondences. I think to myself, “I really like this woman and I think she would like me.” Anyway, your title is all wrong. You HAVE had a best friend even though it was brief. We truly were besties. All my other growing up friends “bestness” has always somehow been compared to that. True, most of those friendships ran their course. Some ended in betrayal but mostly, as you put it, our lives diverged. And yet…I like to think that if we had never moved away maybe we would have remained besties forever. Maybe.
    Oh, as far as your knowing everything…I remember that. It never bothered me. Really, I was a bit in awe of you. You read first, and you loved to read to me. You rode a bike first, so then you taught me how. You weren’t afraid to swing on that giant vine, so I did it too. You were amazing and you wanted me, always shy and a wee bit awkward, to be YOUR friend.
    With great love and warmth,
    Becky

    • FadraN

      Becky :)

      It’s often the people that know me in real life that feel a little guilty reading my innermost thoughts. But believe it or not, I want people to read! It’s why I put it out there! More importantly, it lets people know they are not alone in their thoughts. This post was republished on BlogHer.com and had views in the thousands because it was clearly a topic that resonated with so many women. It’s funny how our memories of each other are so different. Yes, we were besties. Sometimes, though, I wish it had remained lifelong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/klitchford Kim Litchford

    I so totally get what your saying. I had friends too off and on over the years, just never that best friend everyone talks about. I beginning to wander if it’s all a myth. 

    The one friend I had most recently, bailed on me when I started my blog. She apparently was offended that I was going to be doing what she was doing. Now that I look back at our relationship, I think it was one-sided all along. Apparently, we were friends as long as I did what she approved up. What real friend does that?

    I think there must be some secret I am not aware of that I’m just not getting. How can one go through 46 years and never have a best friend?

    Maybe I’m putting out some kind of vibe that attracts the wrong kind of friend. Maybe it’s me? Or maybe just maybe, I just haven’t met my bestie yet. I would like to think that.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject. You’re not alone.

  • Hoperose

    I realize this was written a while ago, but in searching for something, I came across this post, and I”m glad I read it.
    I have never had a best friend either, and I’m 47, almost 48 years old! The friends that I currently have are just a step above acquantance. I have always thought there was something wrong with me that I don’t have friends like everybody else seems to. I’m single, never married, no children, and I live by myself. I actually love it, but sometimes I get that ache inside for a close friend. I long for that heart connection. Until then, I’m content being my own best friend.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • FadraN

      It’s tough, isn’t it? And it’s tough because you’ve not fit into a traditional niche where you might meet friends (couples in the neighborhood, moms at preschool, etc.) I think the trick is to be yourself (which is easier for me as I get older) and then hope someday someone gravitates to who you really are. Or, if you’re up for it, take the first step and invite someone to do something. It’s obvious that many people feel the same way!

      • Hoperose

        Thanks for your input! I could write a book on this topic, but I promise, I won’t! :o) I think that part of my “issue” is that of accepting that we are all different, not right or wrong. So as a result of that faulty thinking, I start believing that there truly is something wrong with me that I don’t have friends (not acquaintances). On a related note, some might consider me to be a boring person because I’m not a “social butterfly” and so I start thinking that I need to change who I am and start turning into that “butterfly.” But in reality, what would this world be like if it were full of just butterflies? My head knows the answer, but it hasn’t totally reached my heart. I’m not bored with who I am, so why do I need to worry about if other folks are? Why is it so important to me that when asked by anyone what’s going on in my life that my answer be of the “wow” caliber?