Nobody’s Best Friend

I’m entering into a very interesting season of my life. One which, frankly, I never expected to find myself in, and yet- here we are. I’ve contemplated writing this blog before, but didn’t out of fear that people would view this as a plea for something… sympathy, I guess? But that’s not it. I don’t want sympathy. I’m just being introspective about a surprising phase of life. I figure if I’m experiencing it, perhaps others have too. Hear me out-

My first true and only best friend would have to be Tiffany Burkert in the 4th-6th grade. Don’t get me wrong, I had other friends before Tiffany, but she was the first I could claim as MY best friend. She was the first friend I didn’t have to equally share with another girl or even a group of other girls. She was my person. Looking back, there was a lot of comfort in that. Having that one, go-to person for every part of life comes with an incredible sense of peace. There was no competition, no struggle. We were best friends and it was simple.

For most of my life both before and after Tiffany, I always seem to find myself in female friend groups of three (or more). My childhood best friends- Dawn and Courtney- were friends with one another before I came into the picture. I was an innocent “intruder” into that relationship. They welcomed me, and always made me feel like I was loved and accepted, but subconsciously I always knew they were there first. I had to respect that dynamic of the friend bond. I don’t like the phrase “third wheel” but right now I can’t come up with another term that expresses that idea adequately. That was me. Third wheel.

In high school, for a brief moment, I found my next best friend. I won’t mention her name. We are friends on social media, and truthfully, I doubt she ever even realized that the experience I’m about to describe happened the way it did. In the 8th grade, things were moving along normally and I was having a perfectly enjoyable year at school. I am one of those odd people who LOVED school! I’d go back to high school in a heartbeat if ever given the chance! Most of my memories were extremely happy ones. This one, though, not so much. My grandmother died that year, and Jess and I were quickly pulled out of class, and hustled down to the office. We were told what had happened and were immediately swept up by our parents to head to TN for the funeral. By the time we returned back to AR, my best friend had taken up with another friend group. I, in essence, had been dumped. She now had a new best friend- a few of them. I was heartbroken. I lost my grandmother, and immediately thereafter, my best friend. It hurt. I don’t blame her, please understand, and I realize that in high school, my absence of a few days probably felt like much longer. I’m sure she needed to find a place to position herself. High school can be hard to maneuver when you feel like you’re alone. I get it. Still, it hurt.

In my AR college, I spent most of my time with three girls I adored. TracEy, Stacey, and Robbin were so much fun! Oddly though, these relationships didn’t necessarily overlap one another in the group. Some of us were closer than others of us, although we all knew each other. I’m not sure that at that time we claimed “best friend” status. It’s like we were all best friends in our own way. Three of us had know each other a longer, but so many fun memories were made, and still are on precious, rare occasions.

In my TN college, I would find the most amazing group of fun women. There were five of us, and we did everything together. We’ve been in each other’s weddings, attended funerals, been present for births, and losses… this situation has proven itself to be different from the rest. I think, now, that it’s because there were no claims staked when these relationships were formed. It wasn’t a pairing off of “these two are best friends” and “those two are best friends”, it was just all of us together. This friend group has endured from its inception, and only strengthens the older we get. Those girls know they are invaluable to me. Any one of us would stop dead in our tracks to help the other at any given moment. Again, there is so much peace that comes with that knowledge… with truly finding your tribe.

My female relationships in adulthood have become more complex. I’m 49 years old, and I don’t have a non-blood related best friend. If I had to categorize any of my friendships, Jessica would be my built-in best friend. She has been since her birth, and I thank God that He sent me her as a companion for life. We may be friends by default, but I think even if we hadn’t been related, we would still love each other and be friends. I know I would.

The women God has put in my adult life are wonderful, Christian wives and mothers. Each of them, I guess because of our move here in the early 90s, have come into my life with built-in best friends already in place. Enter Amanda, again, the innocent intruder. Truth is, up until recently I’ve been fine with this dynamic. I’m used to it. I have lots of friends. That should be enough, right? We will share our time together- spend time in this friendship- and then thanks to the miracle of modern technology and social media, I get to be inundated by pictures of them with their true best friends, posting lovely tributes to one another, and never failing to leave out the words “bestie” or “BFF” in their descriptions. I finally had to come to terms with something this week. Not every friendship is meant to last. Not every friendship runs as deeply as you think it does. Not everyone that you would run to in a moment of need would do the same for you. That’s just a fact.

If you’ve never been the “outskirt friend” you probably have no idea what I’m referring to. Be thankful. It’s the adult version of not being invited to someone’s birthday party in elementary school. I truly believe social media intensified these things. Without it, we wouldn’t see the pictures or read the constant comments that seem to be put out there daily.

By this time in my writing, even I am saying, “Feel sorry for yourself much?!” But, it’s truth. It’s how I feel and how I perceive this. It hurts. Maybe just remember, when you have friends, even if she isn’t categorized as your “bestie”, being excluded doesn’t feel good, regardless of your age. Maybe let’s say, hypothetically, you’ve been through a traumatic weekend and you wonder where your “friends” are during their radio silence. It’s definitely been an eye opener.

I’ve talked to God about this. Maybe in my past, I’ve not been a good friend to someone. Perhaps, I dropped the ball when I needed to do more for a friend. Maybe that hurt friend was YOU. If it was you that I let down, please forgive me. I’m so sorry if I disappointed, hurt, or ignored you. I can promise you it wasn’t intentional. Just thoughtlessness. That’s still no excuse. I apologize if I wasn’t a good friend to you.

Anyway, I’m learning that God is drastically shifting the landscape of my life. He likes to shake things up with me. Always has. He likes to keep me awake and on my toes. Whatever it is that He needs me to learn now, I’ll be quiet after this public confession, and pray that I learn it. He wants to be our best friend. I’ll gladly let Him have that role.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. elfinfun
    Aug 14, 2019 @ 12:20:02

    I have read and reread this post since Monday.
    People have disappointed me – some intentionally and others not. Many Times I have assumed someone’s intent only to find that there was an explanation that I didn’t take the time to investigate. In those instances, I trust that they are telling me the truth. I know that for me, if I misstepped and didn’t meet someone’s expectations of friendship, that they would tell me so that I wouldn’t do it again. I know I would do so (and have many times) when my feelings have been hurt.
    You are correct in saying that social media has been the devil in a lot of these misunderstandings (not exactly your words, but…) Social media isn’t the real world. Friendships need to be cultivated in real time and not through filtered photos and posts. Let’s chat sooner, rather than later.
    ❤️ – k

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