Let me start off by saying that I’m in no form a hermit, nor am I antisocial or standoffish. On the contrary, I am extremely extroverted. I thrive in group environments. Socializing has always reenergized and inspired me. I’ve been a friend to many but no one’s best friend.
I’ve had many close friends, classmates, neighbors but never a best friend. Never a single individual who I thought my life would be incomplete without. When I was a child there was nothing more I wanted than to be someone’s best friend. Movies glorified it, TV shows worshiped the “eternal bond” and books made it seem like a part of you would always be incomplete without a friend who was essentially your soul mate. A friend whom you give the other half of your heart necklace.
I wanted Ron and Harry, Stitch and Lilo, Marshall and Ted. I’ve seen endless Facebook posts and beautiful tear worthy pictures on Pinterest with quotes about life long friends, and realized that I’ve never been the other half of a dynamic duo. And the older I get the more I realize that it’s probably the best thing that has happened to me.
The freedom to do things alone.
I used to hate doing things by myself. I needed someone to go out with me whether it was a birthday party or lunch. I was anti-solo. I used to fear that people would judge me for being alone. Then I realized that no one cares, so I didn’t need to either.
Today, I love going to the movies alone, I try new cafés and even treat myself to lunch. I’ve met people I wouldn’t have otherwise had I not been doing these activities solo. More than anything I love curling up with a mug of hot chocolate and being whisked away with a new book. You need alone time to grow. You should be asking what I’m going to try next, not we. It allows you to step outside of your social comfort zone and seek new experiences.
You’ll learn that One friendship doesn’t have to be worth more than ANY other.
I have had many close friends, many who I feel comfortable sharing my problems and secrets with. Why must I decide who is the best? Why must I place more weight on one friendship than others. Some friends are close, some not as close and then others still who are acquaintances.
Acquaintances turn to close friends and close friends into acquaintances throughout life. Stop putting all your energy behind one friendship that needs to be the best for the rest of your life.
And what does a “best friend” mean really? A close friend who you can share the best and worst with. I have friends who give great advice, friends who give great hugs and friends who inspire me. I have those who tell the cold hard truth and those who soak band-aids and let them fall off. They are all best in one way or another. We tend to build this fantasy person in our head, when in reality it’s not one person-that picture in your head is these people combined.
It’s never the same old same.
Best friends are like an old married couple, like clockwork they are stuck in the same routine. They are so used to one person that they have virtually forgotten how to approach new people. There is no adventure. It’s okay to have many friends even if not many of them are close friends.
There is an art to being a social butterfly. People come and go from your life, nothing is stagnant – each friend comes into your life for a reason. I’ve never had trouble approaching new people and striking up conversation, I’m a storyteller. It’s not always a skill you’re born with, rather one you perfect over the years. You need to be able to channel your life experiences into interesting conversations and ice breakers. Welcome to the working class world. Consider it prep for those office kitchen small talks.
I don’t think I’ll ever have one person that will fill all the roles of a friend in my life. Someone who is the comedic relief and never fails to get a laugh out of me, a person who is a risk taker and inspires me to try new things, somebody who I can unapologetically be a hot mess in front of. Instead of aimlessly looking for one person to fill all these roles, I choose to have many who are all the best in their own way.
Featured image via Brandy Melville.