Do all women need one best friend?

by May 27, 20163Plus, Communication, Relationships, Stages of Life, Wellness

Does  having one best friend suit all women?

Your one best friend, is the person who you can put the world to rights with over a cup of coffee or a bottle of wine. Most women have one or a collection of best friends and it may be hard to imagine a world without them. [Tweet “But does everyone woman need only one best friend?”]

One best friend

Women have always placed great stock in female friendships and support networks. A recent survey in the U.K. shows that only 1 in 10 women reported that they don’t have a close friend, with 3 percent saying they have no friends at all. That figure is backed up by a study from the relationship organisation Relate, which suggests that 1 in 10 people  feel isolated, claiming they have no one close to turn to. [Tweet “Research has shown that strong social networks enhance our feelings of well being.”]

As women we are sold an idealised version of friendship via TV, film and media, that we should have one best friend or multiple close friends. “Girlie” shows such as Friends and Sex and the City support that message. The pressure increases with TV programmes set up to find a BFF for a celebrity.  Men, on the other hand often claim their best friend is their romantic partner and prefer a wider group of friends. By female standards male relationships seem to be more superficial. Read: Is a network of girlfriends the key to career success?

As many women will report, there are pros and cons of having one best friend:

You have an on call confidant

Your best friend is the person you can trust over anyone else. Best friends end up knowing everything about us from embarrassing childhood stories to all the gory details of your latest fling. Its great to have someone you know you can share everything and trust implicitly, as well knowing they won’t judge you.

The downside to this is if the friendship does ever break down, they now know a lot of things about you that you may not want to be public knowledge. I experienced this in my first year of university when my two ‘best friends’ cut me off without a word and proceeded to share things I’d told them in confidence. By not having one best friend, you can still confide in people but you will likely be more selective about what you share with who.

They can help vet new relationships

Best friends are great for dissecting new relationships, getting another opinion on people and a view that isn’t clouded by your own feelings.  Your one best friend can often tell if a new partner is ‘good-enough’ for their bestie pretty quickly. They are invested in your happiness too, so they’re going to watch your back and support you.

As with any relationship, jealousy can always rear its ugly head.

Your one best friend may not want to share you and may unknowingly make you less sociable as you always have them as a safety net and therefore don’t seek out new friendships as often as you should. Also remember people can always have their own agendas so always get multiple opinions on important decisions.

They’re always there for you, in theory.

You one best friend is also your rock, your shoulder to cry on, your one to vent to. Its amazing to have someone who will always be there when you need them (who hasn’t turned up at their best friend’s house in pyjamas with ice cream at 2am?) Through family grief, relationship breakdown, life crises, your best friend is supposed to always have the time, answers and support you need. Not having that support can make you feel very lonely or force you to turn to relationships that can’t take that sort of strain.

When friendships become toxic

If, however, your best friend is always busy when you need them, or is always calling you with their problems but isn’t interested when its the other way around, then you could be in a toxic friendship without knowing it. Read: How to deal with toxic people. Also by not having one best friend it forces you to reach out for other support which may be more beneficial as you build a full support network rather than dumping everything on one person. Best friends are great for empowering and facilitating us to be the best versions of ourselves but if you don’t have one best friend, or multiple friends, that’s ok too.

Would you like to turn your relationships around at work or in your personal life? Contact 3Plus for a coaching session.

I went through a time with no close friends and it was lonely but it made me stronger and it wasn’t long until an unplanned night out and bonding at a burger van gave me the person I now see as my best friend for life. Not having one best friend forces you to be more independent to pursue your own self-growth.

Just because you don’t have a best friend now, if you want one, then one will probably appear when you least expect it.

Esther Myers Contributor
Esther Myers is a Drama graduate who teaches children with disabilities and is heavily involved in women’s rights movements. She lives in London but often travels back to Yorkshire to see family and friends. She enjoys going to the theatre, being involved in feminist forums and Motown music. She works in a pub part time and wants to write about work and online issues facing modern women, as well as about intersectional issues.

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