“Best Friend.” For me, this word has been one of the most heartbreaking and dangerous words. TV shows and movies show the lead heroine to have a best friend, a person who is their number one, right-hand man. Songs about girl power talk about best friends, and how important they are. But what about the girls who have never had a true best friend? How are they supposed to feel when society is telling them that every person needs a best friend?
I’ve always been a sort of outsider. I went to a very small private school, resulting in very few girls in my class. We were all “friends”, but there were ones who were closer, resulting in there being some outliers who would be left out of things. It wasn’t until high school that I really learned who my real friends were, and was finally able to feel confident in my friendships. There was still an obvious awkwardness, however, as I had friends but still felt as though they were all closer to each other than they were to me. Each girl had her “best” friend, and the girls I would consider my best friends would not consider me to be theirs. This resulted in a lot of feelings of being left out and sadness.
For a while, I felt as though I was the sort of person that is destined to be the third wheel in every friendship. I've lost count as to how many times my close friends would have been making plans in front of me before adding, "Oh, you can come to if you want." That is always one of the worst possible things to hear, even now. The fact that even with you right there, you are still an afterthought, that did a lot to my confidence. Being the third wheel can be one of the loneliest places to be, as you can quickly become the forgotten friend. Regardless of how close you are to the friends, the inside jokes, the posts on social media of them hanging out, these things act as daggers to the heart every time.
I have learned that having a best friend can be dangerous and actually very harmful to a person. A best friend is like having another significant other, so when two best friends are fighting, they come to you to try and fix it. They rely heavily on each other, and when that rock is gone, they feel as though a part of them is missing, which is not always healthy for a friendship. All sense of individuality is gone, and they both become the same person, neither one of them being their authentic self.
While the feelings of insecurity will never be completely gone in being a "third-wheel" friend, I am thankfully in a place where I can be happy with where I am, and be able to see all the blessings that I do have. Being a sort of outsider has allowed for me to find myself, and be able to be my true self. I don’t need a “best” friend to have value, or to define who I am as a person. While there will still be times where I am “left out” or feel alone, I have a new perspective on life and how I fit into it. I am so thankful to the many friends I have, and I wouldn't trade where I am for the world