'I Feel Like I’ve Failed At Something Fundamental Because I’ve Never Had A Best Friend'
The Debrief: For writer Charlotte Mothers choosing her bridesmaids bought it all to a head
Do you have a best friend with whom you share your innermost secrets? A friend who’s planned all your birthday parties since you were 15 and is always the first person you call after a bad date? Because I don’t. In fact, I’ve never had a best friend, and I’ve got no idea why.
It might be a part of my personality that’s prevented me from having the same type of friendship as others I know do – being introverted, having social anxieties, my Scorpio suspicion and jealousy. But those aren’t mutually exclusive. Not every introverted person finds it hard to keep a best friend for more than a couple of years.
I seem to have gone through life with an inbuilt best friend buffer - it just doesn’t take me long to screw a friendship up, and I’ve never had that one person who knows everything about me, holding my hand through the shit times and holding my hair back during the good times. The word ‘inseparable’ has certainly never been used.
I think one of the reasons is because arguing with friends is always very final with me. I've done a lot of falling out over stupid things. Sometimes it was my fault, sometimes it wasn’t, but it's meant that I’ve lost some pretty important people because after one fight, that was it. No sobbing reunion. No teary, inaudible, only-dogs-can-hear apologies a la Rachel and Monica - those icons of fictional friendship.
Seeing those type of TV fictional friends and watching re-runs of Sex And The City and this season of Girls is enough to make me paranoid
But seeing those type of TV fictional friends and watching re-runs of Sex And The City and this season of Girls is enough to make me paranoid – and sad. It strikes me that, despite all the crap they put each other through, it would be amazing to have a group of girlfriends I could call to collect me from rehab (if you’re Jessa for example) or endlessly reassure you that ‘yes, you’re allowed to be upset because you were on a break.’
Seeing other women have such tight knit friendships creates a self-destructive spiral of personal questions. Do I spend more time tending to my relationship that my friendships? Am I one of those people who only make an effort when it suits me? Am I just a complete prick? I’ve never had that sidekick, and it’s embarrassing to admit it because it’s like I’ve failed at a fundamental part of life.
Partly I think my lack of a female BFF is down to the fact I’ve been in a long-term relationship for, well, a long time (seven years). I’m aware that’s meant we’ve done that typical couple thing – hanging out with other couples and then getting annoyed that our single friends leave us out of things. We want the best of both worlds, but can we really have it?
When we moved to London in 2009 I knew I had to get out there and make friends in what was a really scary city for a country girl from the flat lands. Twitter helped me meet some truly lovely people, yet that same old bone of contention kept coming up. Everyone already had best friends. They didn't need another one.
I felt like a fraud because I don’t have a best friend from childhood to be my bridesmaid
I’ve been worrying about this more than ever recently. I got engaged but realised that my fiancee can’t be the only thing I have. He can’t be the only person I hang out with or turn to for advice. And thinking about who I’d choose as bridesmaids when I get married this year almost brought me to tears too. You’re supposed to choose the girls who’ve been with you for years to stand by your side on one of the biggest days of your life, but I was so anxious about looking like I had no one. I felt like a fraud because I don’t have a best friend from childhood to be there with me.
After much soul-searching I chose friends who I’ve known for a couple of years – but it still took many heart-to-hearts with the wonderful girls who are my bridesmaids to realise that they’re all I need. In fact, if anything getting married has made me realise that maybe I’m just a late bloomer when it comes to best friends. And maybe that’s ok.
The friends I have right now have got me through redundancy, wedding organising, self-doubt in a new job, and other friendship struggles. I can’t imagine life without them, so maybe that’s what it’s all about – surrounding yourself with the right people who make you a better person, not specifically one single friend who’s there from start to finish. GIRLS, Sex And The City and Friends make it look so easy. But maybe they’re the ones who are crazy.
Photograph: Lukasz Wierzbowski
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