I Never Feel Like a "Best" Friend
All of my friends have better friends. It’s obvious to me that I’m not anyone’s first choice or best friend, and it’s hurtful. I’m not sure if I need to find new friends or what, but I can’t keep feeling like the runner-up. What should I do?
The entire concept of a “best” friend is flawed. Every person that you count as a friend likely brings something different into your life. The friends you can gossip with, the friends you can study with, the friends you can watch every single Harry Potter movie without breaking to sleep with. The need to deem one the “best” is just picking favorites. But your desire to be someone’s #1 isn’t your fault—that’s just the way friendships are in middle school, and high school, and even, if you’re not careful, beyond college into adulthood.
But while the “best friend” label may be overrated, having someone you can lean on, confide in, and talk to is not.
American inventor Henry Ford—who was around in the 1800s, so you know he’s wise—once said, “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” In other words, you want people in your life who complement (and compliment!) you in all the best ways. They push you to be better, and they’re there for you when you feel bad. They’re kind, and they’re honest.
This is obviously a lot to ask of one person, so it’s totally OK to have multiple friends who fill different needs. But if you’re looking around at your friend group right now and still feel left out, or like something’s missing, then it might be time to look beyond your clique. (We're going to take this opportunity to remind you that cliques are overrated anyway.)
Finding friends is stressful and a little awkward. This is why lots of people, once they settle into a friend group, stay there for good. There’s nothing wrong with having a solid group of friends you feel comfortable around; but judging by your question, that doesn’t seem the case here.
So don’t be afraid to branch out. Your next best friend could be the girl you sit by in study hall but haven't hung out with on the weekends. Or a kid on your track team, or the person you say hey to in the hallway but nothing more. Whoever it is, take the opportunity to get to know them better. Not because you need a new best friend asap (you don’t!), but because expanding your circle can only make you happier and more fulfilled. An all-around win.
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