top of page

Do you really need a best friend? A friendship expert weighs in.

Do you really need a best friend?

This might be a "hot take", but our answer here at Friend Forward is... no.

A recent survey reveals that 40% of adults say they don't have a best friend.

That doesn't surprise us, so in this post, we'll address two groups: The first is those who do not have a best friend. We'll share some insight as to why your position might not necessarily be a bad thing.

And then we'll address those who do have a best friend because we want you to keep that healthy relationship strong. We want to give you two warning signs to look out for to make sure that that relationship doesn't buckle under the pressure of your expectations of what a best friend should be. [Watch the YouTube video instead.]

Is the "best friend" concept problematic?

First, let's acknowledge the very real fact that, yes, if you have ten friends and one of them is the best, then factually you have the best friend.

But we're mostly speaking here to this concept that most of us conjure up whenever we even hear the phrase. You think of two women who do everything together. They have this unspoken language. They're so in sync. There's this chemistry. Wherever you find one, you find the other. We're talking about that kind of best friend picture and the ways in which it could be detrimental to how some of us are operating.

Let's start with the woman who doesn't have a best friend. There are three things we want you to keep in mind.

If you don't have a best friend, begin by defining what a "best friend" means to you.

You're probably thinking about somebody who is fun, who makes you feel really secure in yourself. They make you feel seen, right? Most of us would offer some kind of variation of that description.

Here's the big question: Who says that all of that has to come from one person?

Some of us, if we were to take an aerial view and kind of zoom out and look at the collective network that we built for ourselves-- friends from high school Women were kind of cool with that work girls who we know down the block-- if we look at the collective of people in our social circles, a lot of us have everything we need from the collective as opposed to the singular.

So if your ultimate goal is in your life-- to feel seen, to have people you can laugh with, to have people who challenge you-- that is what's important. And so while some people are getting all of that from one person, which is a beautiful thing, some of us are getting it from multiple people.

The key is, as long as you're getting it, you're good.

To hyper fixate on the idea of having a best friend or not is something that could be detrimental as we work to source all the things we need from one person, putting undue pressure on them, when we could kind of pull back a little bit, look at the scope of the collective we built for ourselves, and find satisfaction in getting it from multiple places.

How does your goal of finding a best friend affect your overall approach to friendship?

The second thing I want you to consider is how your expectation of having a best friend is affecting your approach to friendships overall. While some of us won't admit this, we find ourselves secretly auditioning other women to be our friends, our best friend. And we're trying to see if she can fill that role.

Let's say you meet a woman and she's really cool, and then you find out that she has a different kind of sense of humor, or she has a certain lifestyle. You might find myself unintentionally withdrawing because you'll think, "I mean, she's cool, but she's not, like, best friend material...,"and we withdraw completely, as opposed to entertaining her as just a friend in general and potentially keeping her in our lives in that capacity, then sometimes that mindset trickles in and infiltrates and poisons opportunities with new women who would make for great potential friends in our lives.

How have you attached your self-worth to your "bestie" status?

The third thing I want you to keep in mind, if you're in a season where you don't have a best friend, is how much you're attaching that status to your self worth.

Do you know how many women we've coached who say something about feeling a sense of shame or inadequacy because they don't have one? But remember, going back to the first point we made, if you're getting everything else you need from different sources, it's okay that you don't have one best friend.

We know it's so much easier said than done to say, try your best not to compare to others. Because remember what we said earlier. If you are getting all the things you need in your life from a collective, then you're good to go. But if you put your head on a swivel and start to compare to those around you, and you start to suddenly see everybody paired up and wonder where your person is and think that there's something deficient because you don't have that, well, now you're speaking to something so much larger than just building a friendship, you're thinking there's something wrong with you.

And that association is one that just should not exist.

Now, for those of you who do have a best friend and you're content with that and you're in a healthy friendship, that is really great. I know from experience how fun it can be to have that one person who's your ride or die is really great. But sometimes we are in seasons when we have them, and then because of life changes for whatever reason, we don't. And so, to keep your friendship strong and to keep your expectations healthy, let's address two things to look out for.

The first thing to do is to remain aware of the expectations that you might subconsciously be putting on that friendship. For many of us, when we have a best friend, we don't exactly say it out loud, but we almost adopt this unspoken contract between us. And if I have a best friend, then I expect that I am the friend that she's spending most of her time with.

We think, I expect that if I call her at any time, she's going to answer. If I need her at any time, she's going to come ready with whatever I need and know exactly the right things to say. Because she's my best friend, of course.

And it becomes kind of difficult to allow the friendship itself to evolve. And also, it kind of puts this undue pressure on the friend herself, because not one person can be our everything. We challenge you to look at the ways that your expectations might be unintentionally confining the relationship overall and how things might be thrown off course if she starts to operate outside of those boundaries.

Make sure your "bestie" friendship still gives you room to evolve.

Having a best friendship is really great, but sometimes we enter a space that's maybe codependent or where we kind of get comfortable with what the relationship looks like, and so we allow it to keep us in the person that we are when that friendship formed. And it's really scary when we start to evolve or when she starts to evolve, because it takes us away from the friendship ecosystem that we've developed for ourselves.

Make sure that even though you have this really secure, really healthy, really fun relationship with another woman, which is great, that you're also allowing yourself to grow in different ways that may not include her, and hopefully you're offering her grace to do the same.

It might be tricky to put your finger on at first, but we challenge you to trace the messages that you've received about best friends and what they should be and find where those messages came from.

Then we challenge you now with this new information and this new perspective to rethink what best friendship is, what it offers, the positive aspects of it, the disadvantages of it, and how desperately you are going to intentionally seek that out in your life and then ask yourself if it's something that will add value to your life and if so, why? And if not, then release yourself from the pressure of having to find one.

If this is something you're still looking for support with, book a private session with female friendship expert Danielle Bayard Jackson or shop around our episode archive at the Friend Forward podcast.

147 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page