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On Best Friends

2014 December 12


“Best friends” have been a hot topic around here these days.

Little D is in second grade and second grade girls are apparently very interested in the concept of best friends.

Having them. Changing them. Finding them.

On a daily basis, she brings up the idea of a “best friend” in some context and the truth is, it’s because she doesn’t have one.

Don’t get me wrong, she has a lot of friends. She is friends with girls and friends with boys. She is friends with kids in her grade and kids that are younger and older than her. She is friends with kids who have nothing in common with her and those that live down the street. She is friends with kids who don’t even speak the same language as her very well…and she might just like those kids best of all.

She is just that kind of girl.

The reality is, she is friends with everyone but best friends with no one and some days that’s awesome and some days, it’s not.

And while I want her to continue to be friends with everyone, of course, and we stress the importance and impact of that all the time, part of me also wants her to know the comfort and security of having a “best friend.”

It’s second grade.

I get it.

When everyone at the lunch table is paired off with their bestie and you’re not…

I get it.

But then I also want her to know that those best friends come and go in life. That some times, they let you down. That some days, you let them down. That old friends move on in new directions and new friends find you and fill your heart. That those people who have no best friends are often the most interesting ones you will meet. I want her to know that I still think about some of my best friends from the past who I haven’t connected with in years and I am surprisingly ok with it. And that I love some of the people I just met a year ago like they have been in my life forever. I want her to know that friendships are often complicated but the real ones are usually simple. That they all have an impact on your life, whether they are short-lived or not. I want her to know that in every chapter of her life, she will (and should) have a new best friend that lifts her up and makes her laugh and gives her a confidence she never knew she had.

I get it.

I’ve been there. At that lunch table. In second grade. And in sixth grade. And in ninth grade.

And today.

And I want her to know, to understand, that many friends are going to come in and out of her life. Lots of girls and boys and people from other cultures and cities and backgrounds. Friends who will sit with her all the time and friends who will sit with her some of the time. Friends who stay and friends who don’t.

But what they will all have in common is her.

Her friendship. Her heart. Her laugh.

And that will fill her life like no best friend can.

And when it doesn’t…that’s ok too.

Because she will have me.

10 Responses leave one →
  1. December 12, 2014

    My sweet second grade girl is navigating a remarkably similar experience, and I’m finding (and remembering) that being eight is maybe not so great? They’re kind of walking a fine line between little girls and young ladies, some days feel more isolating than others, all of which can be really confusing and downright exhausting. Many a night her pillow has received the tears shed over not having any friends and it is always, always in those moments that I remind her just how precious her friendship is to me. Pretty glad to know there is another mother out there – here in San Diego – telling her daughter the very same thing.

  2. Karsha permalink
    December 12, 2014

    That’s been an issue for us, too. Sometimes having a BFF (or BFF for 2nd grade. Or BFF for today’s play date) is awesome. Other times – a curse.

    Thank you for sharing. LOVED your last line. You kill me EVERY TIME, Raluca!!

  3. December 12, 2014

    I’m crying so hard for this. Beautifully written and expressed. I’m so blessed to have friends like I do. I want so hard for her to have that, but realize that’s my wish. She is a halt, engaged little person who isn’t quite so little any longer. She’s her own person.

    • WWGD permalink*
      December 16, 2014

      Aw, thanks for sharing mama. As always. xx

  4. Megan permalink
    December 13, 2014

    I can not express how beautifully written and spot on your post is. My 1st grade boy is going through the same thing. And I repeat the same words every night, “Well, it doesn’t matter because you’re everybody’s friend and that is the best kind of friend to be.” So far it seems to be working. I agree that at this age, not having a “best friend” can be a bit excluding. But I see my words as a goal for high school when there are cliques and social groups and all those horrible little social institutions that I despise so much. I went through a very cliquey high school on my own, a friend here and there from every circle, and while at the time I didn’t realize it, it was the best decision my complicated 14 year old mind could have made. So I hope that he can get through the day, being “everybody’s friend” and see the benefits in that route.
    Grade school is rough and exhausting and rewarding. Next I have my little four year old girl who seems to gravitate to the concept of a “group of girls” a “best friend.” And to be honest, that is what keeps me up at night.

    • WWGD permalink*
      December 16, 2014

      Thanks so much, Megan. And yes, I am beyond curious to see how all of this plays out in a few years with my boy…I always assumed it would be easier with him, but maybe grade school is just grade school, regardless of who you are 🙂

  5. December 14, 2014

    I had a best friend for each academic year from age 11-15. Then I only had a boyfriend instead. Everyone liked me, but thought I was in a different gang so taken care of. Reality was I was a lone ranger- in all the gangs, yet none of the gangs. Great times in lessons, never invited round for a movie night. It’s still the same today really. I never figured that thing out. Always hopeful!

    • WWGD permalink*
      December 16, 2014

      So funny. I was the one who never had a boyfriend in high school but was friends with everyone. Some of those people are still in my life, some aren’t. I guess we feel like the lone ranger at some point, regardless of who we surround ourselves with. And finding comfort in that is the real key, isnt it? Thx for writing! 🙂

  6. elizabeth duncan permalink
    December 19, 2014

    This is a great post, like many. I feel like there are so many things that you wish you could explain to your; child, nephew, young person in your life, but they don’t always or most of the time, don’t understand. They have to live through it and that seems tough!

    From a third person’s point of view, you seem like you are doing it right!

    Your last line is killer and so true. Mothers (good mothers) will always be there for you, as a mom and as a friend.

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