Yesterday, on a FITBF, there was a question about best friends. I admitted that I don't have one. I didn't know how much that bothered me until I thought about answering that question and then when a later commenter told me she was praying for me to get one, it kind of affected me more than I expected.
I look back on my life and there has always been a group of girls who enriched my life with their friendships. I was defined by them. I told them everything and they told me everything. We were sensitive to each other's peculiarities, kept secrets to the death, and never had a crush on the same boy. In high school, the range of friends widened and I had good friends and acquaintances from many social circles. Also in high school, I found out what having a real best friend was like.
It's strange to think back on, to try and define that friendship, particularly because it's been broken and I can only see it with nostalgic eyes. But, I remember being consumed by her. I wanted to dress like her, talk like she did, read the same books, listen to the same music, but I also wanted to be someone about whom she felt the same. Like girls in a movie, we traded clothes, talked on the phone for hours, gossiped relentlessly, and told each other how awesome we were daily.
We had inside jokes that either annoyed everyone else or no one even noticed because we only really cared what the other thought anyway. I could tell her everything, and I did, and I think she told me everything, too.
We stayed friends through college, though it was at a distance. In college, I met another circle of girls who I still absolutely love to this day. We have been through INSANITY together, and we know more about each other than probably anyone ever will. College is where you are most vulnerable, and those girls have my back (and vice versa) forever.
My best friend and I definitely didn't stay as close as we once were when we could walk to the other's house, but we were still close. Even after we graduated, we talked on the phone a couple times a week, we visited, we stayed connected and invested in each other. Looking back, I can say now that is what I thought, but now I'm not entirely sure.
During college and immediately after is the period of my life that I squandered with drugs and alcohol. Honestly? There are blank spots in my memories, periods of time that I can't quite place, even people that I don't recall. It was a very selfish, devastating, and unhealthy time, and I'm sure this is when my friendship started to shatter.
Here's the thing: I didn't know it at the time. I thought we were still forever friends.
When I got married at 26, my best friend was my maid of honor. It wasn't until the day of my wedding that I realized that I was wrong. She was distant and seemed offended by something, but I still don't know what. After my wedding, we talked a handful of times, but then she stopped answering when I called, and she never called me back.
It took me months to accept the truth, that we were over as best friends. I kept calling. I emailed. I tried to apologize, but I didn't know exactly what was wrong. I have agonized over this and grieved over the loss of her in my life for years.
I have created a list of reasons why I think she may have cut me from her life, and I have tried to think of how I could fix our relationship. I finally realized nothing would have made this better, or she would have just told me and we could have moved on from there.
When I was 23, I moved to a small town where everyone knew everyone and I had no reason to invest in anyone. I had acquaintances aplenty and I still had strong friendships with my college girls and my bestfriend. After I got married at 26, everyone started getting married and starting families, and we still love each other but the distance makes strong friendships difficult.
I made friends with some older ladies at my church, who I still love and we are still close, but I really yearned for friends going through similar experiences- being newlyweds, talking about starting a family, just peers who could relate.
At the same time, I definitely feared making those kinds of friendships. There is SO much insecurity involved with "finding" friends. Everyone seems cooler, prettier, more together or whatever and in this town, everyone already had lifelong friends anyway.
So, when one day I was invited to join a small group Bible study with a group of women in exactly my age group and circumstances, I was completely nervous and excited.
This turned out to be the greatest friendship experience of my life. We started meeting three years ago, and we have gone through so much together and have petitioned in prayer for each other in so many different ways. We definitely love each other in Christlike relationship free from gossip and drama.
Unfortunately, lately, it just seems like everyone is going her own direction. I totally understand this, I just regret it. I can't help but have some hurt feelings when I find out other girls are getting together without me or when I call someone all the time and no one is really calling me. I've been vulnerable with these girls and I feel like I have invested so much, and now, it seems like we've gone back to being surface friends.
Friendships are so hard. I can't tell who really wants me to invest anymore. I can't tell if I'm calling too much or what. I know that I need real friendships and I'm willing to reach out again and again, but I'm really afraid to get hurt, too.
I've been in prayer about this a lot. I feel like God is telling me to reach out to other people who feel the same way. So, I have been investing in other people's lives more, girls who don't have strong friendships and who also want to feel that bond. It's hard starting over with new people, but I know from experience that friendships are worth the time and effort and awkwardness.