• Keeping Friends

You’re my ‘best friend’: To say or not to say?

Published: May 15, 2013 | Last Updated: May 15, 2013 By | 14 Replies Continue Reading
Whether or not to disclose depends on why you want to tell her she’s your best friend.

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

All of my life, I have never had a true ‘best friend,’ one who is with me not just for the good times but the bad ones, too.

Three years ago, I became an acquaintance with another woman my age but we didn’t see much of each other. However, we bonded pretty quickly over the past nine months (as it turned out we both signed up for the same course). We seem to trust each other and began to meet up on weekends.

I value her as my best friend, especially as she was there for me (unlike most of my other
friends) when I was going in for medical treatment, and I was there for her when she was having trouble with her partner.

I guess I’m just afraid she will turn around and say another mutual friend she is close to is her best friend – although the other friend has a habit of just ignoring her for no reason.

How can I tell her she is my best friend, or ask her if I am her best friend?

Best, Rita

ANSWER

Hi Rita,

Given that you never felt as close to someone as you do to this best friend, it’s natural that you would have a bit of anxiety about the friendship and whether it will last. So far, it sounds like your friend has done nothing to compromise your trust. And if she is a likeable person, it makes sense that she would have other friendships, too.

Whether or not to tell someone that she is your best friend is a personal decision. If you are doing it as an expression of how much this person means to you, I think that’s a nice thing to do. You can say something like: “Your friendship means so much to me” or “I’m so lucky to have you in my life” or even, “I’ve never had a best friend like you.”

However, if you are doing this as a test of her friendship or because you want her to say the same thing to you, you may come across as clingy or be disappointed if she doesn’t respond in kind.

My advice: Rather than focusing on the longevity of the friendship or labeling it, live it day by day, by being a good friend.

Best, Irene

 

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Category: Communication, KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (14)

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  1. betty says:

    You can have more then one best friend! I have 3 best friends. One of them I have known for 20 years and lives in another state, one I have been friends with for 10 years & the other for 2 years. I think it’s really healthy to have a few women you are close to & not just rely on that one best friend for all your important moments, support etc.
    I have other friendships & aquaintances which are very meaningful to me also.

  2. Andi says:

    All of your comments have also been helpful for me.
    I’m in my late 40’s and my best friend is 10 years younger. We’ve been friends for about 8 years and truly have a special bond. I have felt in competition with one of her lifelong best friends who to me is not a pleasant person to me at all and does not
    Like my close relationship with my best friend. Of course she can do no wrong in my best friend’s eyes which is frustrating. I do
    Need to get away from labels, I wantt
    Her to tell me – not just one time – that I’m one of best friends. Do I know that? Yes? Does she show me in many ways how important I am to her? Yes. Am I the one she calls when she’s down? Yes. But she knows exactly how I feel, but she is not a sharer like me and I think has this allegiance to her lifelong best friend regardless of how much time she and I spend together. I know I should enjoy the fact that we are very close. I can’t change her,
    But seriously, as much as we have shared over the past especially 5-6
    Years, I still wish she would just grab me and tell me… You are my best friend too!

  3. Ren says:

    I think I do understand and agree with Irene too.
    I have this friend whom I consider as my best friend and I think that she feels the same way for me too though we didn’t really talked about it.. If you are having trouble asking your friend if she considers you as her best friend because of fear that you might end up feeling disappointed, then maybe you can just tell by her actions it’s like collecting clues or something. Like in my case, 1st clue is whenever I would get closer to our other friends, my bestfriend would get jealous. She told me that she knows she acts childish but she just can’t help it..then she cried while telling me that. The 2nd clue is she made a secret greeting or a handshake for only the two uf us. We are really like sisters. We act mature whenever we talk to other people but we do all kinds of childish stuff when it’s just the two of us. Though I consider her as my best friend, as well as she considers me as her bestfriend (for what I know) but till now we haven’t told one another about it. We just know.

    • Carol O. says:

      I am so lucky to have a “best friend” and we have agreed the way we are doing our friendship, with no need to fix each other, really works for us. Yesterday, there was a horrible crime in another county nearby. A 3 years old was found murdered, and it seems it may have been her mother and a boyfriend, both on drugs. I was so upset and tossed and turned all night long. My tendency is to not to want to bother others, just one of those childhood left-overs. So this morning I struggled with reaching out to her, but I did and so happy because she was in the same place I was about the loss of this child and what she must have gone through in her 3 years. It takes time in friendships, even if they have been in for some years, to know how each of us feels about events in life. In this case, her support and her willingness to share her own feelings about the situation made me feel I was not alone and thus felt both of us had a place to put our sadness and grief. One has to take risks in order to get the rewards of a growing friendship.

      Best to all, Carol O.

  4. Lur hajar says:

    i have a best friend but i fear him some how..he is the best best frind i have ever had in my life..should i tel him..please help

    • Angie says:

      You shouldn’t be afraid of your friend. If you think of him like that, it’s pretty much like calling him “the leader” of your friendship. Both of you should act equally to one another and neither one of you should fear the other. As for telling him he’s the best friend he’s ever had, The easiest way I think possible would be on his birthday. I mean, you could simply put it on a card if you’d like, but at a birthday, you can talk on and on about how much you like your friend. I just recently went to my best friends birthday and we had so much fun even though not many people showed up. We talked about how much fun we had had in the past and told each other how much we liked one another. We think of each other like sisters. Good luck with your friend problem! 🙂

    • your friend says:

      yes,see him as ur best friend and say what you feel and see what happens then. it will surely work out.

  5. Marisa says:

    You don’t need to label your friends in degrees. Just enjoy the relationship. Labeling her as best will most likely have the opposite effect you wish for and if she sees you as needy or possessive or jealous will push her away. Let it be.

  6. jacqueline says:

    I agree with all the comments here, Rita. However, if you feel you absolutely MUST tell your friend how you feel about her, then I say you should do so. Just tell her you are so grateful to have such a wonderful, kind, and caring friend such as herself. She obviously feels the same way about you, or she wouldn’t have been so supportive of YOU when you were going through a rough time. She will most likely respond that the feelings are mutual.

  7. Zoe says:

    Something in your gut is telling you not to say anything…trust your gut!

  8. Amy says:

    I agree with Irene. Unless you’re in high school, I think telling someone they’re you’re best friend has a lot of risks and few benefits. You risk sounding insecure and needy, which to most healthy people is a turn off. Also, what if your friend has someone else, perhaps from childhood, who she considers her best friend. How would she be able to answer your question without hurting your feelings? Would you want her to lie and say you were her “best friend” when you weren’t? Probably not, so she’d be in a double bind where she couldn’t provide you with a satisfactory response.
    You aren’t in competition with her other friends. We benefit from having friends who play different roles in our lives, rather than relying on just one person for companionship, because different people bring different perspectives and experiences.
    I’m quite certain the person I consider my closest friend wouldn’t say I was her best friend, because she has a friend who’s like a sister and they do all kinds of things together. I also know, when she needs a friend to be there for her emotionally or to truly empathize with her, I’m the one she calls. I’m never going to be the one she calls to go drinking and dancing, and that’s fine with me since I don’t enjoy either. I know, unlike her best friend, we share the same social and political values and that I’d rather have my relationship with her than her “best friend’s”.
    Perhaps if you widened your friendship circle, even by adding one or two acquaintances, you’d feel less possessive of your friend.

    • Fiona says:

      Amy, as one who struggles with this issue, I have found your reply to be tremendously helpful. I have a friend whom I consider my closest friend but I know she has another friend who is her best friend. I am trying to learn to just enjoy what I have, not to rank my friendships, and to know this woman is my close friend and that is that. Many thanks.

      • Fiona says:

        Actually…..a year later, I’m not doing so well with this.I get jealous, insecure and possessive when I know my friend is with her best friend,I hate feeling like this but it seems out of my control.

        • S. says:

          I’ve been there before. It might help to withdraw from your friend a little, spend time with other friends and force yourself to focus on other things because it sounds like it’s getting unhealthy – but realising it is the first step of improving things.

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