Growing up, I always felt like I didn’t have a lot of close friends. I was friendly with a lot of people, but not too many that were actual friends that I talked to every day, trusted, and went places with. A lot of my friends were boys. I found them easier to hang around with. There was less drama and they didn’t gossip. If they got angry or upset over something, they seemed to move on quickly. I’ve never had a “best friend”. I don’t remember if that bothered me as a child–it doesn’t now. Sure, I have a twin sister who was kind of like a best friend, but that was family so we had no choice but to hang out together.
Even now, I have a short “close friend” list. I am careful who I trust and who I share with. I am friendly to many, but my tribe of who I chat with and hang with on a weekly or monthly basis is small. My friends accept me for who I am, they would help me when I’m in need, and they love me at my worst and celebrate with me at my best.
I watch my middle-schooler navigating through tween years and figuring out friendships. I remind her that it’s important to be friendly to others, but her true friends are ones that care about her, support her, and she finds trustworthy. We talk about situations that arise between her and some girls she knows and ways to handle them. She’s a lot like me when it comes to friendships–she chooses to stay out of the gossip and drama. It’s not really her style. I hope that as she figures out what she wants in her friendships, she continues to realize that it’s not how many friends she has, it’s more important to have a few friends who will always be there for her and support her. It’s more important that they help her feel good about herself and she does the same for them. I hope she is secure enough that she always chooses her friend tribe carefully.