Monday, May 14, 2012

Best Friend or Frenemy?

I originally wrote this as a piece for another site, but they wanted me to change it and make it more mom focused. I decided I didn't want to, so I'm posting it here. Where I can just be me. I may not get as much exposure or as  many comments, but that's okay.

Me and my high school best friend, Marcy, in the summer of 1992. The summer after high school graduation.
 We lost touch when I moved to Germany and I have no idea where she is now.
I've never been very good at making friends. I'm shy and self-conscious (in person, so all my Twitter followers and Facebook friends just hush right on up now), which leads people to think I'm stuck up.  In school I was on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale and some years my best clothes were hand-me-downs from a friend.  (Wouldn't you know, from someone I thought was my best friend who turned on me and helped make the next three years of my life a living hell.  But I'm not bitter. Nope, not me.)  My glasses were horrible and my haircuts mostly hideous. I was a nerdy, out-of-style kid who really had no idea how to get through school without being picked on. These days, I'm still nerdy and not particularly fashionable. I'm also intense and moody. I can be dramatic, crazy, witchy, and sometimes say things I don't really mean. Frankly, it can be hard to be my friend: bipolar and anxiety don't make for fun friendships at times.  But I admit when I'm wrong, I apologize for what I've said/done, and I try to be there for my friends. Add to this my busy life as a work-outside-the-home mom of four, and friendship is that much more difficult to maintain.

Recent events in my life have me thinking about how to define "best friend". I asked around to see what others think and got some interesting responses from my Twitter friends and a few others:
  • Someone who'll hold your hair back while you vomit, then tell you to use better conditioner. (@Anchorbeard)
  • Someone who is there day or night, time passes you pick up where you left off, doesn't expect anything just knows your there, knows every secret and never judges! (@TGalletti)
  • Someone who you can call and always hangout with- also likes sports and the same video games. (@amzmomrocks' 12 year old son)
  • BF= supportive no matter what, BUT will always give honest opinions & advice. Never tell your business. (@MrsMiscellanea)
  • Someone who tells you that your deodorant is not doing its job but still rides to work with you. (@6todd2)
  • TRUST! And it takes time to develop. In my life best friends evolved over time. (@foxbat16)
  • A best friend is someone who gets you and loves your weirdness or neurotic behavior. (@kel3054)
  • As adults, I believe a best friend is more like family. Someone we choose, someone we love and will always be there for. Someone we love unconditionaly and do not judge, but can be honest with all the time, even if it's a difficult subject. Someone we can trust with our secrets and who has our best interest in mind. A person who will not stop being a friends just because you have done something they don't like, or you have offended them, someone we can easily forgive. I also think its important for us to have mulitple best friends, who meet different needs in our lives. (My best friend, Angie)
  • Someone you can trust. Someone who doesn't have to pretend around you. (My 19 yo daughter.)
Angie, me, and Amy in May 2010.

I have two very best girlfriends. Amy and I have been friends since our elementary days in Arizona. She stuck with me through bullying that was so bad I tried to slit my wrists to avoid having to go to school. She stuck with me through awful rumors that had no basis in truth. She stuck with me through my first heart break and the resulting downward spiral into a wild lack of self-control. We mostly keep in touch through Facebook and text. We haven't seen each other in years and rarely talk on the phone (this is totally my fault - as most of my friends know I hate the phone and even have a slight phone phobia).

The other is Angie. Angie and I met as co-workers about 13 years ago. I was a single mom, going through a manic phase. Two very different women, I'm not sure how it is we managed to become so close. She was my Maid of Honor when I got remarried.  I lived in a studio in her back yard two of the times I left my husband (welcome to the world of bipolar disorder) and one of those times I was pretty much out of control.  We've been friends through her divorce and my move. I've hurt her feelings and she's hurt mine. We don't talk nearly as much as we used to and see each other maybe once every few months.
Angie and me, March 2011

These two women have seen me at my worst. They've known me at my best. They haven't always agreed with me and at times probably didn't even like me, but they always love me.  They never judge me. They never turn their backs on me. I know I can call them anytime, that I could show up on their doorstep at two in the morning and they'd take me in, no questions asked.  I can text them when I'm angry and go off for 1/2 an hour and they won't tell me I'm too hard to be friends with. They won't ask me questions about my life and then when I tell them the answers, judge me for what I've said. They won't send me messages going off on me and then when I try to respond tell me they can't talk to me about it anymore. They call me on my crap, tell me I know what I'm doing/saying is wrong, tell me they don't agree with me, point out that maybe I need to see my psychiatrist for a medication adjustment - but they don't abandon me. They listen to me rant about my kids and significant other and they rant about theirs. They remind me no mom or wife is perfect and I'm not a total failure at either.

And that's how I define a best friend.

Also, here are a few resources (I didn't put a lot of research into them, but I think they're interesting and maybe helpful):


  1. "I can text them when I'm angry and go off for 1/2 an hour and they won't tell me I'm too hard to be friends with. They won't ask me questions about my life and then when I tell them the answers, judge me for what I've said."

    This is important. This kind of stuff is why my former best friend of 18 years and I no longer speak. I'm too hard to be friends with. Apparently.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Yandie! I wondered if I was the only one. I think we all have things that make us hard to be friends with at times. I want my friends to vent to me and I want to be able to vent back.

  3. I don't think you realize how wonderful you are! We all have issues, but not all of us deal with them head on like you do. I feel lucky to have you as my friend, and I'm sorry I've not been a great friend in return.

  4. I agree, having female friends is so important - real ones. We need to support each other and not tear each other down. I have moved around a lot in my life and many of my long time friends live far away from me. But, they are always there for me when I need them!

  5. I loved this. I have the kind of friends I can call on at odd times and for odd requests. They may not be road dogs -- you know, immediately ready to hang out -- but I know they are there.

  6. I am so in LOVE with your best friend definition! I don't have any friends, oh how I wish I had that! Oftentimes, one doesn't know what they really have until they blog about it!

  7. Thank you all so much for your comments!

    Friends are hard to come by, best friends even more so! I don't expect my friends to always agree with me, to hate the same people I hate, etc. I just expect them to tell me when they don't agree with me, not be judgmental, and be there.

    I have some friends I've met on Twitter who I haven't met in real life yet, but I know if I showed up on their doorstep at 2 am they would let me in. Yet my real life friends won't even offer me a place to stay if they know weeks in advance that I'm coming to town!