In the spirit of giving myself a break (and I’m all about the breaks), I’m re-posting a blog first published in March when I had very little following or much interest in my blog at all really. For me, this is one of my better pieces because it was the first time I was really candid about anything – and it was something I hadn’t explored aloud before. Okay, I’ve tinkered with it since (I would tinker with my own head if I could), but it’s essentially the same. So before it gets buried and forgotten in the annuls of history, I’m going to give it one last outing. Don’t worry, I’ll be back with new material soon, but I hope you like this (if you haven’t already read it – and do re-read it, it’s better now).
I don’t have a best friend. Don’t misunderstand me, I have good friends – very good friends. But I don’t have a BFF. Perhaps I just have BFRNs (best friends right now). I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, I know a lot of people (mainly women, most women actually) who have a very definite best friend. It’s usually a woman they went to secondary school with. I guess from the age of 11 upwards is when lifelong friendships are made.
The thing is, throughout the course of my childhood/womanhood, I’ve had best friends for short periods of time, but as my location or situation changes, that best friend slips away no matter how hard I try to maintain contact (I guess not hard enough). But it’s only now I’m in my 40’s it’s becoming quite startling to me that I have always done this. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because I’m one of six children, perhaps I don’t work as hard as I should to hang on to people because there are always siblings who’ve no choice but to put up with me (well, sadly one less sibling now).
I was having this conversation with one of my BFRNs (I don’t say that dismissively – she’s a great friend who I’m very close to and means a great deal to me. She’s helped me through some tough times. But I know my track-record). She didn’t find my ‘friendship’ admission unduly strange exactly, but she herself (without hesitation) could name a ‘bestie’ from school days. So she certainly didn’t share my situation. She texted me later that day with regards to another matter and I texted back the reply, ‘who is this? I haven’t seen you for half an hour! You’re dead to me!’. You see, I make a joke of it, but this little gag isn’t so far from the truth. If people aren’t in my life on a week-to-week basis, that friendship fades away. Maybe I’m more like a man where friendships are concerned – or maybe men just don’t feel the need to label friendships the way girls do.
You may be confused as to the title of this piece but I have been a bridesmaid for two separate friends I knew in my early twenties (matron of honour really, as I was the soul bridesmaid). I am not in contact with either of those brides now. Two. How irksome must it be for those two friends to look at their wedding photos and see that curly-haired girl from their past in the gold, shot-silk bridesmaid dress who they haven’t seen for 20-odd years? You’re supposed to have that bridesmaid in your life forever, aren’t you? I regret that. I regret they ever chose me. I’ve tried looking them up on FaceBook (and Friends Reunited when that was a thing. What ever happened to Friends Reunited..?) but they are nowhere to be found. You see the lengths people will go to hide from me?
Talking of FaceBook, I know it has its critics – but I can’t help thinking, overall, that it is a good thing. There are school friends, college friends and old work colleagues I have actually managed to stay in contact with (at least virtually, yes I know – me!) and they would certainly be lost to me without it. Reunions have happened, other reunions are on the cards. I don’t know if they’ll all come to fruition but they might. Okay, I’m pretty damned skilled at letting friendships dwindle into nothing, but it doesn’t sit comfortably with me – so that’s something. And yes, sometimes you and your situation change so greatly that you will naturally grow apart from some people, but it grates on me that more often than not it happens mainly because of my apathy and inability to make an effort.
If I’m honest, I’m not really BFF material; perhaps I’m a bit unlovable, difficult to really know. I play my cards close to my chest, I’m slightly reserved and not especially tactile. I can’t show affection easily – that’s just me and I accept it; I’m too old to change now. There are those that say their spouse or partner is their best friend, and I guess in my case that could be true. Who else would put up with all my foibles? But if we’re talking same-sex-best-buddy since childhood, then no, I don’t have that. Still, that’s okay – I’m lucky enough to have a loving family and lots of great friends. I never find myself lonely. And I’m a good pal too; I’m here for you through thick and thin, through any kind of hardship – I’ve got your back. You can count on me. But I think it would be safest if you didn’t choose me to be your bridesmaid (if you ever want to see me again).