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The Problem of Best Friends

Posted by on April 14, 2015

Moving to a new place always results in that awkward in-between stage where you know a few people, but none of them well friendshipenough to call and say let’s hang out together.

Have you been there?

A couple months after going away to college, when the newness had worn off, I vividly remember wishing I had a friend nearby who knew my history, where I’d come from. Someone I didn’t have to explain myself to. I felt the same way when I finished college and moved across the country to start a job. And again when a job transfer took us to a different state. And again…and again…

I’ll get through this fine, like I have before, but it makes me think about friendship. Especially best friends. For girls, having a best friend is all-important when we’re young. (How true that is for boys, I don’t know. Any guys care to comment?) Our best friend may change from year to year, sometimes month to month or even week to week. But having that one person who affirms us, one person who thinks we’re the best can make all the difference in our self-confidence.

I’m so thankful for the best friends I’ve had along the way to adulthood. The one who shared secrets in grade school. The one who talked boys and watched Elvis Presley movies with me in my teen years. The one I turned to when my dad passed away, knowing she’d understand because she’d experienced the same thing years earlier. The one who shared my love for the old MASH television show, who knew when I needed to decompress with a junk meal at Long John Silver’s.

Thirty-three years ago this month, I married my last (and current) best friend. I wouldn’t trade him for anything, but there are times I wonder what happened to those days of having a best girl friend. Have marriage and family taken priority over those relationships? Have I not made time to share life with another woman? Have I not been willing to invest in a best friendship, or is life just too busy to spend hours chatting and laughing and yes, even crying together, like we did when we were young?

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you. Do you have a best friend (not including your spouse)? If so, tell us what brought you-and keeps you-together. If not, what do you think keeps us from finding best friends when we grow up? I welcome any other thoughts on best friends and friendship.


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8 Responses to The Problem of Best Friends

  1. Ruth ONeil

    My next book I’m working on is this theme. So many women are too busy to have a female/best friend relationship. I think as Christians we’ve dropped the ball. How many friends do we have that we know we can call any time day or night when we have a need? I hope my friends know they can call on me for laughter, tears, and simple companionship.

    • Mary Hamilton

      I want to read that book! I agree with you that we (I) don’t make time for friendships. Some women do, over bunco or coffee or in children’s play groups. But the rest of us, myself included, need to work harder at it, especially when the children are grown and there’s not a built-in community of women in similar circumstances. Thank you, Ruth!

  2. Jessica White

    It is very important to have that close friend that you can call when you need to talk. I have lots of friends, many I’d consider close, but not the one that I can talk about my struggles and my walk with the Lord with on a regular basis. It is a constant prayer. I lean into the Lord and find Him the friend that sticks closer than a brother. He is good and never fails.

    • Mary Hamilton

      Exactly what I’m working on during this time, Jessica. Using the time to get to know the lover of my soul. What better friend than that?!

  3. debgarland

    A good post, Mary! It seems as women, we do have seasons of best friends, Yet, some of those friendships last a lifetime although we aren’t living in the same place anymore. You can pick up where you left off at any moment and at any time. Getting married does seem to change those friendships, but it doesn’t necessarily have to change them. At least, that’s been my experience. Whether college, teaching, sailing, church, getting closer to my sister again, or with writer friends online, God has given me opportunities to build friendships and it’s such a blessing. I’m glad to count you as my friend, Mary!

    • Mary Hamilton

      I treasure our friendship, too, Deb, despite the fact we’ve never met in person. I’ve been blessed to reconnect and continue several friendships I had with girlfriends I grew up with. Friendship is always a blessing, no matter how old or new it is!

  4. pfaelynn

    Mary, you and I are in a similar season of life. A new move, marrying kids, and thinking on this “friends” topic. Moving has been a huge blessing for us, and I know we are exactly where God wants us to be. We have found a fabulous church and a loving ABF. The men have committed to relationship and have a Wednesday night Bible study as well as early Thursday morning breakfast. Those are the highlights of Dave’s week. The women have time together, too, but nothing weekly – usually monthly. I can’t help but wonder on that. In our move, I left behind the closest group of friends in my Bunco girls. They were my safe place (outside my home) where I knew I could be real and raw and still be loved and accepted. Guys burp and scratch and laugh about sports and stuff, and they are buds! Women want to know they can share their hearts and their hurts. That takes longer to grow. I have gotten outside my “box” and have initiated outings with new friends. I am working to cultivate relationships. Sometimes, though, I fall back into insecurity of not wanting to be a bother. I think many of us want relationship but we struggle with putting ourselves out there. Let’s do this, Mary! Let’s be intentional about seeking God’s desire for our friendships and be the one to reach out. We aren’t alone.

    • Mary Hamilton

      Yes! I wholly agree with you. We’ve only recently settled on a church and are still trying out different ABFs, so that’s been part of the problem. But yes, I know we are where God wants us, and we’re loving it here. Friendship takes time, and we do need to be intentional about it. Thank you for the encouragement!

I welcome your thoughts on this.