I have always felt I had a problem with making, and keeping friends. From the time I was young, all I wanted was best friends. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I never had friends growing up; I’m talking about those people that you just clicked with, you know? I would daydream, and I would pray, about having best friends (especially in the formative, aka: middle school, years). A friend that would be by my side, no matter what and would do anything to make me happy; even just one would have been cool. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I met that best friend, and it just so happens that he is now my husband.
However, as I’m sure all women could relate to, sometimes those husbands don’t really fill the shoe shopping, gossiping, afternoon-latte-sometimes-wine-before-five-drinking needs we have. In college, it was pretty hard for me to balance my social life and my studies because I was so busy and focused. As a result, I had very few friends (and maybe even then, I didn’t pick them so wisely). I felt alone a lot, undesirable, like there might possibly be something wrong with me. At times when I reached out, the friend groups were full; I wasn’t necessarily needed. After I graduated from college, I ended up meeting a lot of wonderfully kind, funny people through my fiancé (now husband). I remember one of the first nights we had all gone out together was one of the best times I had ever had. On the way home, however, I obsessively questioned my fiancé about my actions, if the group might have been put off by my excitement, if I had said this or that wrong. It was like I had just been on a first date for Pete’s sakes!
Spoiler alert: Those people I met that night are the friends that I now consider being my very best friends. We plan trips together, have weekly Skype dates, share secrets, have adult sleepovers; it’s everything middle school me ever dreamed of. However, I still find myself having those damaging feelings and thoughts from time to time: “Have I done something wrong? Do they really like me? Do I fit in?”
Recently, one evening, I was having a very low moment and was worrying so much about saying and doing the right things. I was trying to ensure I didn’t lose these friends I held so dear. I was so worked up over that I made myself physically sick over a situation that I had essentially created in my own mind.
One of those friends I spoke of earlier posted a quote on social media just the other day that read, “It’s important to keep your feelings and your self worth in different places.” At that low moment, a relatively small pebble became an avalanche all because I stored my feelings and self worth in the same space. I tied their actions, words, smiles, laughs, texts; you name it, to my self worth. I was being a “crazy person,” as my husband so tactfully offered. Those women were my friends, are my friends. I didn’t do or say anything wrong; I was literally being crazy (thanks, husband). I was analyzing every small detail and trying to be perfect to realize this dream of “best friends” that I already had! It was then when I saw the quote that it hit me: I don’t have to try to impress them or gain their love anymore; they chose me just as much as I chose them. These are just some of the things that I let negatively affect my self worth. For a more detailed anthology, look for my book out next month, “The Lighting in My Bathroom Stinks.”
Finding good, supportive friends and the fears associated with that daunting task is something we worry about for our sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, not necessarily for us, grown adults. I suppose I just kept my self worth and my unnecessary worries so close together that I psyched myself out. And I don’t think that I’m the only woman in the world with that habit that either. For women, friends are possibly more important to our emotional health than anything else, even the morning spin class and that daily cup of coffee (or 3). These women and their husbands are the best friends I’ve ever had. I feel so comfortable around them and feel like they truly want me back. Middle school me is doing back flips.
So, this article I intended to be focused on self worth really turned into a confession of unwarranted worries, a tendency to over think, and a little bit of fear about losing them as we all start to move farther away from one another. However, it also turned into a letter of thanks. Thank you to those friends, you know who you are. You make a difference in my life, you build me up, and you love me. Even though I can be a crazy person.