Human relationships are so important for us and the relationship between best friends is as the term implies – simply the best. Is it because they always agree with us or compliment us? No. In fact, a best friend is one who may disagree with us at times because they feel confident enough in the friendship to do so. We know, deep down in our hearts, that they only comment because they are concerned. The biggest thing we share with a best friend is our authentic self. We know that they will not judge, cajole or manipulate us into wanting what they want but encourage us to seek our own happiness and spread our wings and fly. Sometimes this means that we move on with our own life and the extreme closeness that we once shared may be altered slightly. Our time and thoughts need to be allocated differently so life as we once knew it with our best friend needs to change to accommodate our own life changes. When we have a best friend we want what is best for them and know that they also want what is best for us – terms and timelines or touch points become less important because our friendship still remains deep.
Sometimes a relationship between best friends can become one of dependency over time. The change happens subtly but we can tell when the relationship becomes more of a need rather than a want basis. When we begin to need to touch base (like many of us need that first cup of coffee in the morning) the relationship has devolved from wanting to talk to needing to talk and it’s time to do a gut check. Is it now a relationship of possessiveness, control, dependency – does the exact word even matter? The change from best friend to dependency friend usually morphs slowly overtime until one day we realize our personal independence or any influence in our lives other than our best friend is either discounted or at least regarded by them as a threat. When a friendship becomes dependent the mere thought of not touching base frequently becomes uncomfortable. Often, abandonment at an early age is the seed that germinates into dependency for one of the two people involved and results in a fear of change, risk or loss. The best friend may then have difficulty adjusting to any change in our relationship with them and may even find a subtle way to cause us to feel guilty by not giving them enough attention. If a dependency friendship exists and one of the parties is making a life change without them they may become more needy, unhappy or even delay making decisions or following through. In reality that is another subtle yet unspoken message that they are ‘just not the same without us.’ Basically, they are not happy having to share us with others. The longer this type of relationship exists the stronger the manipulations get to control our personal space. To them the idea of sharing us with others means, ‘We must not love them best.’ Sound a bit childish? Remember where abandonment starts and it makes sense. They may even become angry, hurt, depressed and question our true feelings about them if they feel threatened by what they see as any loss of control or influence that they have had on us. Sadly, with their choice to become ‘exclusive’ in their friendship with us they are refusing to grow in life and develop additional friends. Overtime they can become cynical and disappointed with life in general. To help them they need to be pushed, ever so gently to get on with their own life as we get on with ours. Purposely reducing the time and attention to them will slowly help the friendship regain a healthier balance.
Recalibrating a dependency friendship back into a healthy best friend relationship is difficult and often resentment and even guilt will be felt until a more healthy equilibrium is once again achieved. However, the change is essential for both parties to experience a full authentic life with others. A healthy relationship is one that is secure enough to know that neither party needs the ‘psychological possession’ of the other to make it in life.
A best friend encourages you to experience life both with and without them. They truly want to see you go for the gold and live your authentic life because simply and truly they love you with a heart that is selfless. It is not about what they get out of the relationship but what they see you becoming that is more exciting and rewarding to them. In their heart the friendship is so much more than possession – it is one of simply being.
Have a great few days!