Do you need a best friend?

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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