without a best friend

The question was innocent. It was in a moment of stirring pasta and calling kids to get ready for dinner. My youngest had been coloring at the table, telling me about playing with her friend at recess when she asked, “Who was your best friend when you were eight?”

My hand paused above the steaming water. I was grateful we were both busy while we talked so I didn’t have to make eye contact. The truth felt like a rock being heaved into a lake.

“I didn’t have a best friend.”

She stopped coloring and asked, “Why?”

Wasn’t that a question I’d been asking all my life?

I told her that I didn’t really have any close friends. I had played with kids at daycare, but I couldn’t even name them today. 

I’ve never been good in the friend department. Not that I don’t want friends or that I’m not likable. Friendship has just never been a strength of mine. An only child of a single mom, I preferred adults to kids. I didn’t invest my time in peers, so they didn’t invest in me.

Fast-forward thirty years and not much has changed. I’ve learned to relate to the people around me, but the ones I count as friends are held tight in one hand. It’s always made me think I was doing it wrong.

It’s so easy to believe ‘different’ is wrong, and so hard to believe God could love ‘different’.
As women we can be so drawn to comparison. Comparing what we look like, where we live, and even our friendships. I looked around at women who had dozens of friends and thought they had it right. And if they had it right, that must have meant I was so very wrong.

Friendship is not meant to be a comparison game. It is not a measure of our worth or how likable we are. Friendship is designed to bless us, encourage us, and strengthen us. Comparing myself to others based on friendships took all those good things out of the equation and reduced friendship to numbers.

Watching people that seem to have a lot of friends can be hard. I’ve fallen into the trap of social media jealousy seeing people with hordes of close friends going out, traveling, living life together. It was like walking down the halls of middle school and hearing about everyone’s weekend as I went to my locker. It left me feeling lonely and less than. It still does.

We are designed for connection. God created us to long for interaction with another. Often we begin seeking that around us; looking for it in friends or groups. We long for someone to notice us and we want to connect. When we keep seeking and filling that need for connection with the people around us we can easily lose sight of the one connection that matters most.

I wish I could show you pictures of the weekly dinner with my besties, but that’s not my reality. I can tell you that when we place our longing first in Jesus, He meets us and fills those empty places more than we ever could ourselves.

As we grow closer to Him, may we bring our longing for connection with one another before His throne, and trust that we are never alone.

Encourage other women by sharing this post.

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When You Don't Have a Best Friend

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39 comments

  1. I am bookmarking this post. I can relate to it so much, especially the social media jealousy and longing for the fun connection that others seem to have that I lack. While God has blessed me with a couple of close friends that I talk to and pray with, I have to be careful not to idolize those friendships or place my value in them more than in my relationship with Christ. I still wish for friends to go out dancing with or camping with or other fun adventures, but in this season of life I am learning to be content without that. 🙂 Thank you for posting this.

  2. This is such perfect timing! I have always questioned this very thing. I desire to have friends, yet I am terrible at letting many people get close because I am afraid….afraid of what. Yet, then I feel so lonely because I compare myself to those around me. Thank you for pointing us back to Jesus…our hope. The one that really fills that void so perfectly.

    1. Michelle, the simplicity of your comment reminds me of me….the little girl inside me, still wishing that I had friends the way it seems everyone else does. Can I encourage you (and me) to start small today? Don’t chase the dream of friendship; offer that to God. But ask Him to show you a few people in your circle (or new people) to begin reaching out to in new, vulnerable ways. Knowing we are doing it together helps us remember that we are not alone!

  3. Becky, this is a vulnerable and beautiful post. I have always had only a few close friends and sometimes I felt awkward about it. Your post helps me realize that I need to reach out and befriend others as an adult, because we never really outgrow those social dynamics. Sharing this truth on Pinterest and Twitter.

    1. Oh, how I wish we could outgrow social dynamics! LOL But God calls us to be with others, in community with them. Shifting that mindset from seeking out friends to fill a place in us to a mindset allowing God to fill that so we can love others from His filling, now that is what it’s all about! Thank you for your kind words, Sarah!

    2. Yes you do..we all do. Those who need your friendship most are the grumpy ones..the unattractive ones..the slow ones..the ones always sat in the corner by themselves at church functions..they might not know how to respond ‘normally and them might be tedious..or awkward or gushing…but reach out to them and you will be blessed by the most loyal grateful friends

  4. Becky, your transparency is so enlightening to me. I think friendship-comparison is something many of us struggle with but don’t talk about much! Thanks for expanding my perspective today!

  5. These are beautiful words, Becky, and they speak to so many of us. Thanks for bringing this struggle to the light and sharing your wisdom. Knowing we’re not alone brings courage!

    1. Isn’t it amazing what light does?! Nothing seems so lonely or scary in the light. Reminding one another that we are not alone, that God can (and will) fill those places in us, and that we can step forward in His calling is such a blessing!

  6. Beautiful post … friendships is such a big subject. I happen to have been blessed with best friends my whole life. As an adult Christian woman, God gave me the best friend ever. Then she moved away. It was a difficult time, I kept asking God who could be my friend … who was it that He would have me connect with … which woman would be a good fit to be that friend I was missing … He just pointed me right back to Him. He wanted to be my best friend. He never filled that spot for me with a woman at church after Marcie moved away, but He did fill it with Himself. I am forever grateful!

  7. This is beautiful and vulnerable and sure to touch many. May we know, down to the depths of our being, we always have a friend in Him. You blessed me with your words today!

  8. I love how transparent you are in this article. We have similar conversations at my house as I try to guide our little blessings toward healthy relationship and a real relationship with Jesus.

  9. Rebecca,

    These words are beautiful. I can relate in many ways being an introvert, yet longing for friendships at the same time. I have those close trusted friends that I can count on one hand too. 🙂 My closest of friends I have moved away from and so I too have learned to depend on God like never before. Especially being involved in ministry which is a whole other story. Thank you for sharing the hard places that have not been made perfect.

    I enjoyed finding you on the #tellhisstory link-up with Jennifer Dukes Lee

    Take care!

    Joelle

    1. Sometimes I think we get wrapped up in looking around us to define what we think we need. God fills needs in each of us differently, and those close friends you can count on one hand are a gift just for you!

    1. Kindred spirts here Michelle 🙂 So grateful you are here to be reminded that we are never without the best friend our heart really needs. But it’s okay to be honest and real about our longings and struggles.
      (Also, happy to be a guest here at The Joyful Life…isn’t it lovely?!)

  10. I’ve never heard anyone speak about this. Thank you. I had a super, wonderful, best friend that I hung out with and did this and that – a couple different times- for a couple years. But ……. I’m convinced God removed them. I must rely on friends far too much. So it’s me and God… and some wonderful, good, friends.

  11. So sweetly vulnerable, friend. ♥ I feel like it gets harder to make friends as we get older. Life is busy with family and my friendships suffer. Love how you’ve spilled your heart here for the purpose of His glory. Because you’re so right, there’s one relationship that trumps them all and He’s the one who always satisfies. ((Hug)) Thank you for sharing. Hope you and your family have a beautiful Easter weekend. xoxo

  12. Well said, Rebecca! I have one bestie! Not a handful, just one. And I’ve made peace with that a season or two ago. We have to be who we are (and of course show ourselves friendly), after that, we’ll do best to leave the friendship acquisition in the Lord’s hands. And yes, comparison is the pits. Thanks for sharing over at grace and truth. Have a blessed Easter.

  13. Ugh – that comparison trap! So hard to believe that it even trickles into our friendships. But, it does! Mine as well. “If I was a better friend….I’d have as many friends as her.” Such wisdom in your post – and thoughts for me to think through. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I’m so grateful this resonated with you Jennifer, and that you were willing to share! It can be so hard, but knowing that we are not alone because a) Jesus and b) other women helps us remember to be real. So grateful.

  14. Oh my word what a beautiful post. It actually brought tears to my eyes. I have been feeling a bit alone lately and sort of left out. I am also a person who has very few friends. Normally, I love my own company and am really quite happy to be on my own. Once in a while though, it sort of gets me down a bit and I was feeling that way when I read your post. Your worded it so perfectly. Thank you.

    1. Oh, how I know all those feelings. So well. Too well it feels like! When we can be vulnerable with one another we have the blessing of encouraging each other. More than that, when we can be vulnerable with God about those feelings we can learn to accept His love more and more. Praying you have a blessed Easter remembering His love for you!

  15. Friends is such a tender and raw topic – at least for me it is. As I was studying the Proverbs 31 woman a few years back, I was lamenting to God about friendships (or the lack thereof) and through that passage, He showed me that the most important relationships in that woman’s life were her children, her husband, and her Lord. That brought much encouragement to my heart. May it do the same for you, Becky. Always a joy to read your writing. Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth.

    1. It is such a tender topic Aimee! I agree completely. I think there is so much wisdom in what God showed you. My mom confirmed something similar for me one day when she asked me who my best friend was and I said my husband, I had viewed that as a negative when it came to friendships, but it is really a blessing. It may mean that my other friendships look different, but it is such a gift!
      Always lovely crossing paths with you!

  16. Thank you for these wonderful insights and thoughts. I am so glad I marked this for reading later on my Feedly and now, I can absorb its depth and influence. Those who I “count as friends are held tight in one hand…” Me too. I work on one heart at a time, and I’ve learned that the perception of friends in packs is a myth. I know someone who has monthly outings with her posse and believe me, there’s a lot of drama and shallowness there. It’s a social club, not a spirit-filled friendship as the Bible describes: Iron sharpening iron, weeping with those who weep, carrying each other’s burdens, Proverbs 27: 6 says it rightfully: “Faithful are the wounds from a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” I’ll be sharing your article! Thank you for being honest!

  17. wonderful article ~ thanks for your beautiful words! i can relate. i had close friends in grade school but not so much as an adult. i look at my siblings and sometimes wonder what is wrong with me?

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