Do you need a best friend? How do you get by without one?

Billie has never had a best friend and asks psychologist Dr Emmanuella if she has a problem.

Do you need a best friend? How do you get by without one?

YourLifeChoices member Billie says she is a very happy ‘camper’ but doesn’t have a best friend. She is worried that this means she is somehow deficient in the personality stakes. She asked clinical psychologist Dr Emmanuella Murray for her thoughts.


Q. Billie
I don’t have a good best friend. Never have. I’m happy with my partner and extended family. Do I have a problem?

A. I’m so glad to hear you are happy and you have close connections with your partner and extended family. Billie, not everyone has a friend they label as a ‘best’ friend. Some people have several friends who give them love and support, but none of whom they would label a ‘best’ friend.

It depends on what you believe, but I don’t label any of my friends as my ‘best’ friends. I love all my friends equally, and while some I share different connections with, their connection with me is no more special than the other; they all have a special place in my heart. I believe when we ‘label’ friends as a ‘best’ friend we sometimes unintentionally place unrealistic expectations on them, and sometimes place them on a pedestal – a superhuman one. We are all human, we all make mistakes and we have our wonderful parts and not so wonderful parts. The more we can appreciate each other for all those parts, the happier we are and the more connections we have.


I’d like to add one thing – sometimes we share different things with different friends. That is, we get closer to people by revealing more about ourselves and being vulnerable with them. So, if you don’t feel close enough to a friend, and you’d like to share a closer connection, you could try opening up a little more – not to everyone, just to someone you trust and would like a deeper connection with.

So, Billie, you do not have a problem if you don’t have a ‘best’ friend. Enjoy the connections you do have.

Dr Emmanuella Murray is a clinical psychologist, who has been practising for more than 10 years. She works with children, adolescents, adults and couples, and presents to professionals and community groups. Go to her website for more information.

Do you have a best friend? Do you opt out of developing friendships to spend more time with extended family?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    10th Sep 2019
    well written, touched a cord with me !
    10th Sep 2019
    I have a few close friends, but the only person I could call my best friend is my daughter. And I count myself lucky in the friends that I have.
    Ted Wards
    10th Sep 2019
    Friendship is about meaningful connections and we humans do need meaningful connections. Whether we get that from family, extended family, or friends is up to the individual. There are no 'laws' around this, it's all personal choice. Some people are happy by themselves and yet are told that they 'need' friends.
    Nan Norma
    9th Oct 2019
    It takes a long time to make a 'best' friend. You have to build up trust between you. You have to be sure that friend is loyal, not a rainy day friend. But when you've done that its the most wonderful thing in the world. A best friend will stand by you when the chips are down, but also celebrate your success'.

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