When you are not your best friend’s best friend

As much as this can be funny, it is a heartbreaking fact for the one who considers you their best friend when you don’t. How do friendships get to this point? When your best friend doesn’t see you as his/her best friend? If I’m your best friend, it makes sense for you to be my best friend, right!!! Well wrong!!!

I always wondered why my mom (and many other adults I know) don’t have a lot of friends. As we grow, it’s hard to keep friends, let alone make friends. We see those we used to call friends grow apart with us as we follow different life paths. I have heard someone say, “Consider yourself favoured if you ever have 3 best friends in your lifetime”. Change is constant. As we grow we realize that our priorities change and our different journeys make it hard to relate.

The study argues that the reason we start to lose friends is because people spend their younger years experimenting, meeting lots of different people in adolescence before settling down with closer friends as they reach adulthood.

What qualifies a friend to be a best friend?

Consistency: Being consistent in checking up on your friend. Consistency is what puts the word best in front of friend. “It doesn’t matter if I’ve known you for 10 years or 2 years, years don’t mean much to me if you are not a consistent friend to me.”

Someone who will protect your honour in your absence: This is the friend who undoubtedly so, you know they’ve “got you”. Their tone is never offensive to you because you know they have your best interest at heart.

Vulnerability: A friend you can talk to about everything you are afraid to share with others. Someone who will not judge but listen compassionately and provide solutions when the need be.

Tested and tried: A best friend is the one you have a friendship with that has been tested and tried but still overcame all that. Both of you cannot take each other for granted because you have been through so much together.

However, if consistency, vulnerability and all the qualities that people base their best friend selections on, how is it that I can open up to you and share my secrets with you, but have you offloading somewhere else?

The best way to describe this is, the reason I am not my best friend’s best friend, it’s because she doesn’t need me as much as I need her. Her bestie friendship tank is being filled by the one she calls best friend. Friendships are not sealed like business deals. We don’t sit and have a meeting discussing a best friend contract. It just happens through emotional attraction and us agreeing on certain values. And because we never sit and discuss our best friend’s contracts, the friend who finds out they are not their best friend’s best friend will be hurt.


So what’s the solution?

I read an article a few months ago about unmet expectations being the killer of any existing human relationship. That is true even in a friendship relationship. We have expectations of what our friends must do to prove their level of commitment to us, but forget the reality that they are not obliged to meet the expectations we place on them. Friendships are ruined by unmet expectations such as I was sick and he never came to visit me. I shared confidential information and she shared it with other people. I lost my dad and she never came to the funeral, nor show up in the week to comfort me.

All this and more stems from unmet expectations. You expect a best friend to be loyal, loving, respectful and keeper of promises, however when she doesn’t, it breaks your heart.
One of my favourite books shares a story about a divine friendship between two young men, David and Jonathan. They loved each other as much as their own lives. Jonathan was a prince and his father a king. This meant that when his father passes away, he would be king. However, because of his father’s sins, he knew he might not be king when his father dies but, his best friend, David, who was also his brother in law might reign as King. “Jonathan risked his own life even when he knew that David might ascend and rule in his place.”

That’s what true friendship is like. To be able to help your friend get to the top even when it means you might not get to the top yourself. Being a cheerleader, with no jealousy or bitterness for your best friend’s achievements.

It’s rare to find such friendships in this lifetime. Everyone is looking out for themselves that they don’t have time to add value in other people’s lives. As much as Jonathan risked his life for David’s safety, Jonathan knew that if roles were reversed, David would have done the same thing. It’s disappointing to find out that you are not your best friend’s best friend, but don’t let that turn you into a bad friend. We all need a Jonathan in our lives, but maybe you should first be the kind of friend you want to have in your life. All of my friends know where they stand with me. I don’t end a friendship without the other person being aware, let alone be friends with someone who I’m not willing to invest the same time as they are investing. I value the word “friend” and I believe I value those I call friends.

Seasons; change in priorities; loss and conflicts determine the survival of any relationship. I challenge you to be the Jonathan you desire in your life. Don’t string any one along just so they are there when you need them but fail to be a true friend when they need you.
And if you know that someone regards you as their best friend yet you don’t, be mature enough to let them know where you stand with them. You owe them your honesty.

“That’s what true friendship is like. To be able to help your friend get to the top even when it means you might not get to the top yourself. Being a cheerleader, with no jealousy or bitterness for your best friend’s achievements.”

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