I have never had a real best friend.
There, I said it.
When I was younger, I had many ‘best’ friends, in fact, they seemed to rotate on which grade I was in, and what our interests were at the time. But none of them really stuck. We moved on and formed new friendships with others, no hard feelings. However, in the case of the girl I thought was my best friend all through high school, she just cut me off once we got to college – even though we were roommates – and I never found out why. That one hurt.
These early experiences, along with some others as an adult really made me wary of trying to form close friendships. I wondered what the big deal was about BFF’s. At the same time, I was envious of people posting on social media about their BFF’s and all the fun activities they did together. I wished for a best friend, and I figured the problem was me. I was obviously the common denominator in all my failed friendships.
It’s difficult finding close friendships as adults. Most people seem to already be part of a friend group, and it’s hard to break that invisible, yet still very real, barrier. I tried mom groups, co-workers, Meetups, volunteering, book clubs, and special interest groups, all to no avail. I made a few casual acquaintances, but that was it. No one I could really talk to on a deeper level.
We, as humans, it seems, are indoctrinated/pressured/conditioned into believing we need BFF’s that know everything about us. That said, I don’t believe there is anything wrong whatsoever with close friendships of any kind. I personally felt the pressure to find a BFF, or even a groups of friends I could count on, and when I didn’t, felt there was something wrong with me. I thought maybe it went back to the way I was raised and all the ‘surface only’ relationships I have with my family. Maybe I didn’t know how to be a friend. I thought I just wasn’t good enough for anyone to really care about knowing the real me.
That was a lonely time, loaded with self doubt, low self esteem and self recriminations. Not a healthy way to be, and I needed to break that cycle.
Enter Ladies Rock Camp. I went on a whim and it really was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Ladies Rock Camp is a magical weekend filled with learning how to play an instrument, forming a band with strangers, writing a song, then performing that song on stage. Irreplaceable key elements of this camp are the high levels of female empowerment and ultra-supportive and strong women who run the camp. A side benefit? The chance to be a rockstar for a weekend.
I met some friends there that have now been my friends for years. These are exceptional women who are accepting, supportive, and amazing. They want to be my friend, they like me the way I am, and they care about me. I have never felt so understood and validated in my entire life!
I’ve learned a few important things about friends: for me, a group of extraordinary friends is better than having a BFF, and…there was nothing wrong with me at all.
I just hadn’t met the right people yet.
PS: If you have a Ladies Rock Camp in your area (and you probably do, they are everywhere!), I highly encourage you to check it out.