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'I No Longer Want or Need a Best Friend'

Posted by on Mar. 22, 2016 at 12:33 PM
  • 14 Replies

Real Talk: I No Longer Want or Need a Best Friend

vintage women sitting poolside

As a kid, having one super-close, joined-at-the-hip best friend was my top priority. Now? Eh. Not so much.

Before you assume that I'm some sort of misanthropic recluse, let me explain. I'm not anti-friend, by any means. I've just kinda farmed out "best friend" duties to about eight different women.

It's like Taylor Swift's girl squad, but we don't, you know, get together and do videos.

The idea of one true platonic soul mate is seductive. Growing up, I wanted nothing more than a Tacy to my Betsy. But there are problems when you harness yourself to just one person. Problems that are small -- like, she's home sick from school one day, so who are you going to sit with at lunch?

And problems that are big -- um, like she no longer wants to be best friends with you.

After a particularly devastating breakup with my BFF in fifth grade -- that involved my teacher stopping class and taking me out into the hall because I was crying so hard -- I slowly started to see the value of diversifying my friendships.

It started out as sheer self-preservation: Okay, if this goes south, it doesn't matter. I have a backup!

But as I grew older and moved from the Midwest to the Southwest to the East Coast to the west, I happened to meet women along the way who became close friends. And stayed close friends as I moved on and met other close friends.

At some point, I started to realize how unfair it probably was for me to have ever expected just one friend to help me learn how to can tomatoes and do a handstandand school me on what-the-heck-is-neem-oil? while also dissecting Joyce Carol Oates's career.

I would never expect all that from my husband, after all. That's a bunch of time-consuming s**t.

My friends are a diverse bunch; they have strengths I wish for myself, and talents I can only dream of. (See above.) And getting just a little bit of their time and attention is enough to help me learn and grow and basically become a much better person. (Also see above.)

More from The Stir: Women Reveal the Moments That Sealed Their Best Friendships Forever

K. is my fearless friend, who isn't afraid to move across the country because it feels right or divorce her husband because her marriage feels wrong.

E. is my emotional cornerstone, who listens to my self-pitying rants and knows pretty much every worry or neuroses I have, but who still somehow wants to be friends with me anyway.

R. is my "mom" friend -- not just because our kids are close in age and have known each other since they were babies, but also because she parents me, too, be it giving it to me straight when I'm about to make a bad decision, or cooking me an amazing meal.

T. and I connect because we're alike in how we grew up and how we move through the world. She's a gentle, generous soul, and being around her reminds me that these aren't weak qualities for a woman to have, but valuable ones.

And then I have my fiercely clever friend whose energy encourages me to Go Big. There's also my kindhearted girlfriend whom I can always count on to say "Yes!" and mean it, even if that means taking a dozen first graders camping in the middle of a rainstorm. M., who makes me laugh at my anxiety because that's what she does with hers. And G., a talented artist whose exquisite view of the world makes me want to create my own.

They're my own posse of golden girls. Not like the raunchy seniors from the TV show, although we all do tell lots of dirty sex jokes, but friends that help me shine a little brighter.

I only hope that I can toss even a little bit of that heartfelt light back at 'em. And that they have other best friends who do the same.

Do you have a best friend?

by on Mar. 22, 2016 at 12:33 PM
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by Silver Member on Mar. 23, 2016 at 4:32 PM
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I have a best friend she's been my BFF since 1987, however over the years we are not quite attached at the hip as we used to be, our get togethers arer few and far between. Life, work, kids and routine took over and got in the way.  I know she's there for me if needs be.

I also have a "sister from another mother" but she sadly lives far away from me. We keep in touch through texts, a few phone calls and FB.  We see each other about once a year when one of us makes the trip.   If we lived closer it would be another story. Even our daughters are super close. Just writting this makes me miss her!!!!!!

by Bronze Member on Mar. 23, 2016 at 8:52 PM

I have precious friends who were once my very best friends in the world.  They'll always be my friends, but my priorities have changed as I've gotten older.  My husband is my best friend, no one else can come close.  And I know that my friends feel the same way about their husbands as well. 

by Member on Mar. 23, 2016 at 9:41 PM
1 mom liked this
I guess I'm more independent that the author. If I want to learn to can tomatoes, I'm happy doing it on my own. It'd be my hobby afterall.

And, a best friend isn't about who knows what or who they are and how they can refine you (see above, independence). It's about that one person that truly gets you, and it's fun to do whatever it is you do together, whether it's a success or a flop.
by on Mar. 23, 2016 at 10:07 PM
I have different kinds of friends now. My SO and dd are really my best friends at this point though. They are the people that I want to talk to first before anyone else for good or bad things.
by Member on Mar. 24, 2016 at 3:28 AM

I've had the same best friend since 1992. We've come together and apart for years. I may just have a different definition of a best friend I guess. Also, who says you can only have one? 

by Member on Mar. 24, 2016 at 6:44 AM
Yea I do. I know I can count on her and she can me.
We both lost our grandpas last October, 2 weeks apart and we both knew how important that grandpa was to each other.
Not only do we have a lot of things in common we have experienced the same or similar things.
by Bronze Member on Mar. 28, 2016 at 6:50 PM

My sis is probably my best friend. But I rarely see her as she lives far away. And I have 3 other close girlfriends that I see as often or more often than my sister. But I get the point. A lot of pressure for a "best friend" and kinda excluding to others to tell them you have a best friend and it isn't them. LOL

by Anonymous 1 on Mar. 28, 2016 at 7:12 PM

I used to have a best friend. Until I realized that she was my cheer squad in terms of turning my life upside down in the name of "happiness and whats right"  Then when I needed her, she was no where to be found. When I truly needed someone to be there for me, for my kid, she literally ran away to her boyfriend of the weeks house.       

So, nope. No best friends for me. Fuck em. 

by Bronze Member on Mar. 28, 2016 at 7:20 PM


  I have 2 best friends, and I have known them since we were teenagers (1977).  Yeah some days they irratate the crap out of me, but other days they make me laught till it hurts. 

by Silver Member on Mar. 28, 2016 at 7:41 PM

The last friend I had turned out to be a leach.  She sucked my energy bone dry rescuing her from one crisis after another of her own making.  I finally got fed up and told her I didn't want anything more to do with her.  It took my husband a little longer to get a clue, but she eventually sucked him dry too and he too walked away.  She kinda soured me on the whole friends thing.  I don't let anybody get close any more.

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