Here we go! I’m about to get totally real, honest and vulnerable about a topic that has caused some of my deepest hurts and is my most unfulfilled desire on this earth. I hesitate in writing about friendships because honestly it may make me appear desperate, pathetic and a total loser! Ha! But I suspect that there are others out there that have had similar experiences and heart breaks! Losers like me! 😜
I have always wanted a best friend as long as I can remember. I was born number 6 of 7 children and always felt like an outcast. Being one of the youngest in the family meant getting picked on a lot and because I have always had an outspoken personality and an overwhelming sense of justice, as a small child I was a tattle tale. My siblings called me a “nark.” If you remember that term, you are old like me! This made me a less than desirable pesky younger sibling that was left out a lot. I truly felt growing up that nobody in my family really liked me much. So, I was kind of desperate to find a best friend!
In school I tried so hard to find a best friend but it always seemed like everyone already had a best friend or a group of friends and I was just one more in the crowd, nothing special. I was always opinionated and outspoken and often argumentative as a child, not really learning how to control these bold aspects of my personality until later in life. Often times I was described as “always having to be right.” I’m sure this turned many people off. I wasn’t all bad though! I am extremely relational, very social. I have a strong sense of loyalty and caring toward people I love. I’ve always considered myself a good and true friend.
Through my elementary years I had many friendships, but nothing that stuck once moving up to Jr High. Jr High was a nightmare. I tried so hard to make a friendship work with someone who had a close friendship with someone else (since like the third grade or something) and this other friend was having none of that. I tried hard to be nice to that other friend but she made my life miserable through Jr High and did some very cruel and hurtful things to me, that left their scars. In the end, the friendship faded away as we moved into high school. High school was more of the same. I established some deep friendships with a couple of people throughout those 4 years, but they always had other friends and they were older and graduated before me and after graduation they were gone.
I met my best friend in all the world in high school, my husband! I cherish that friendship that we share more than anything, but let’s be real, girlfriend relationships are just different. Men can’t be girls! He knows me better than anyone, he is my biggest supporter and I can talk to him about anything. A spouse being your friend is amazing and beautiful but is very different than having a great girlfriend!
At my wedding, my sisters and sister in laws were my bridesmaids because I just didn’t have any friendships that had lasted through high school. My sisters were never very close to me, one being 8 years older and polar opposite and the other one kind of lost herself around the time I got married and disappeared for many years. I’ve never had a strong “sister” relationship, something else I wish could be different.
Oh, I’ve had many friendships over the years since and met many amazing women. Even a few that really stand out. I have tried so hard to keep up friendships on my end. But eventually it has always felt like I was making all the effort, the calls, the invites and if I stopped then each friend would drift away and not even seem to miss me much. Often times because they had so many other established friendships or their life was busy, or distance was an issue, or it just simply didn’t mean as much to them.
I had a personal breakthrough about 12 years ago and this constant obsession with finding a “best friend” became less important to me. You could say the pursuit had become so important that it became a stumbling block for me in my spiritual pursuit of Jesus. He got my attention one night as I was reading my Bible. It was one of those moments when he spoke clearly to me through His Word. I was reading Revelation 3:20 and the words jumped out at me like he was speaking them directly to me: Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
He was speaking to my heart saying to me, Rebecca I want you to pursue me the way you are pursuing friendships. I have been here knocking for so long, when are you going to let me in? When am I going to be enough? When are you going to accept my friendship? I began to cry and I knew that pursuing relationships the way I had been, desperate to find the perfect friend, had always been more important to me than pursuing my Savior. Matthew 6:33 says: Seek first my kingdom and all these things will be added to you.
So I stopped trying so hard to find a “best” friend and began the pursuit of a deeper friendship and more intimate relationship with Jesus. I figured if I stopped focusing on finding a great earthly friend, eventually one would come.
Now I know it would be perfect if my story was such that as I grew spiritually, God brought that girlfriend I’d always wanted into my life. Well that isn’t my story. I have Jesus and I have my husband and honestly if that is all I ever have on this earth it will be enough. I am truly blessed. I know that!
But, a girl still wants her girlfriends! It’s just a regret I suppose, that none of the girlfriend relationships throughout my lifetime have stuck! I know comparison is a bad idea, but I see so many ladies out there with close friendships that have lasted through the years, girlfriends who are in touch all the time, part of each other’s lives, raising their families together, celebrating special occasions together and I can’t help but wish that I had that! I don’t obsess over it, but it’s something I wish I had. Growing closer to God didn’t just take away that desire of my heart. It just made it less of a priority over my relationship with God.
Most days, all I need is my husband and my family and that is more than enough! I know how lucky I am, how blessed my life is, don’t get me wrong. I also know this is exactly why we should never compare, because maybe others have great girlfriends but not such a great marriage or other problems in their life that I haven’t had to deal with. I love my life and wouldn’t trade with anyone else.
But some days I get lonely, my husband is busy working much of the time and my kids are mostly grown and off doing their own things and then it hits me. Nobody, fills that “girlfriend gap.” Nobody that, we-know-everything-about-each-other-and-love-being-part-of-each-other’s-lives. That girlfriend who pursues me as much as I pursue her. Back and forth, give and take. Someone who would feel my absence if I disappeared for awhile. Someone who would check in on me if they hadn’t heard from me for a few days or weeks. Someone who even if I moved away, I couldn’t be replaced and we would be on the phone all the time, keeping up with each other’s lives and families and special occasions.
I’ve never had that.
My husband, who doesn’t even care about this kind of stuff, has a best friend that he has had since high school. They work together now so they see each other almost everyday. But after all these years, it stuck! And they would do anything for each other!
Does this make me desperate, pathetic and a loser? No, I don’t believe that. I do believe I can’t be the only one who feels this way. I also believe that some of those friendships out there on social media and such aren’t as wonderful as my mind has made them out to be. I also know everyone is very different, and not everyone feels the way I do about friendship. To some, friendships come easily, they have more friends than they know what to do with and keeping up with them all can be overwhelming. To others, having lots of acquaintances and no “best” friend is the way they like it. Some have friends for seasons, whoever meets their needs for that time in their life is who they invest in. Some just don’t value close friendships.
But I have always longed for a deep friendship that withstands the test of time, not fair-weathered, not temporary, not drowned out by a zillion other friends. Loyal, meaningful, caring, honest and true, that is what I have always had to offer and have always longed for and after 47 years of life, I’m still missing.
So some days I feel more lonely than others and get to feeling sorry for myself. It makes me sad not having a close friendship. I find myself calling people randomly trying to find someone who can take the time to chat. Usually it’s different people depending on who I can get ahold of like my mom, sister in laws, an adult daughter, or whoever might be available from their busy lives. Nobody consistent. Its hard when the people in your life aren’t necessarily as relational as you or have their own friends, or are in a totally different age bracket and stage of life than you. It’s also hard to have deep, meaningful conversations with people who aren’t consistently part of your life, so the conversations are more about playing catch up about what’s going on in life. Other days I put messages out on FB asking if anyone might like to meet for lunch, just to see who might care enough or be interested enough to respond. The results of that are often disappointing. People are just so unavailable or live to far away. So usually I gather my resolve and go back to being content with my circumstances, realizing again all the wonderful things I do have. I know it’s better to keep my thoughts filled with my blessings as opposed to focusing on what I don’t have and may never have.
So if you have those kinds of friendships, hold on to them! They are precious and something not everyone is fortunate enough to have. Someone who knows all about you and you all about them. Someone who can’t go a week without texting or talking. Someone who can’t let your birthday go by without taking you to lunch or celebrating with you and making you feel special by more than just a well wish on FB. Someone who knows everything that’s going on with your kids and you theirs. Someone who shares their life with you and makes you feel like if you were gone you would be sincerely missed. Someone who you can chat with about all those things husbands don’t really enjoy chatting about. If you have that, someone you call a “best” friend, then treasure it! Your lucky!
If you don’t, like me, then focus on all the good gifts and blessings you do have! I mean seriously, nobody can have it all! As for me, what I do have is pretty great! I give all glory to God for the gifts he has given me and even the ones he has withheld for my growth and my own good. There is hope beyond this!
Some friendships do not last, but some friends are more loyal than brothers. Proverbs 18:24 (GNT)