• Keeping Friends

Reader Q & A: Finding a Best Friend

Published: September 13, 2008 | Last Updated: April 2, 2016 By | 1 Reply Continue Reading


Dear Irene,

I am a person who has learned to value my female friendships. I’ve always tended to prefer a one-friend-at-a-time, with a lot of intensity, type of friendship. But it is something I can’t seem to find.

Briefly, I had a relationship like the kind I want with a woman who continues to feel like a friend/sister. My "best" friend was someone who lived close by and we had a sister-like relationship (even though I have two sisters!). She felt the same about me and I know she would be there in a heartbeat for me as I would for her. However, she lives three hours away and isn’t fond of chatting on the phone.

I have two other friends whom I care about, one who lives 20 minutes away, who both seem totally engrossed in their own lives and rarely contact me. We get together about twice a year. We all have kids who are fairly close in age. One of them was in a serious car accident and I really went out of my way to support her through that time. I find myself resenting that I am the one maintaining the contact and seem to be the one who is "into them"- wanting to go out/get together, to do girls’ nights out, etc.

I can’t seem to get the friend thing down without a lot of emotion, longing for more yet not being skillful enough to find it. I am forced to socialize with other parents that I like well enough but can’t seem to take any of them to the next level. I get so frustrated that others have a knack that I do not. P.S. You can probably tell that I am not good at small talk! LOL! What I’d like to know is what do others have, what is it that I am missing?

Thanks so much- any ideas will be appreciated.

Starrlife in New England


Dear Starrlife:

Your situation is actually a very common one: You’re yearning for a best friend and don’t have one at the moment. Friends move (like yours did); get involved in new careers; have children; have fertility problems; get married, divorced or widowed—there are numerous reasons why even very close friendships are prone to change over time. Although you are separated by geography, it’s nice that you have a close friendship to hold up as a measure for the kind you are seeking.

Not to make light of it, finding a best friend is like finding a buyer for a house: You only need one. Your current acquaintances, or mom-friends, are important relationships even though they miss the best-friend mark. Finding a best friend involves 1) meeting someone new, and 2) giving the relationship time to grow and become more intimate—by sharing additional layers of your selves with one another.

You need to create opportunities to find ways to meet new people. Can you get involved in organizations or activities in your local community? Do you have any hobbies? Can you take a continuing education class? Can you join a gym? Are you passionate enough about one political candidate or another that you would like to work on a campaign? Are you involved with the parent teacher association? I realize that your child or children may be young so this will entail finding childcare—either your husband, another relative or a babysitter—for one or two evenings a week. If you need a rationale for yourself—a happy mom is usually a better mom.

In short, you need to put yourself in situations where you can meet new people. I have no doubt that eventually one or two of these relationships will “stick” and grow into the type of best friendship you want.


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Comments (1)

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  1. starrlife says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful response! I try to put myself out there but, as you pointed out, I am very busy already. When I’ve tried to get closer to women it hasn’t taken. Thinking about my past I find that the women I’ve been closest to had taken me under their in a sense- people who just liked me and fit me into their busy schedule’s. Dare I say this echoes my relationship with my mom?lol I suspect I need a bit more than a blog to get my act together re: intimacy but I truly appreciate your advice and will try again!

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