Tug of War: A Friendship Game

13 Dec

I have exactly eight people in my life that I consider a best friend. I’m sure some of you are already activating that stereotypical societal rule that you can only have one real best friend. Some of you are thinking, “eight best friends? How is that even possible?” However, when you think about how many people exist in this world, a mere eight that I trust and confide in is hardly even a blimp on the worlds radar.

Sometimes, I forget that not all of my best friends are lucky enough to have eight other people they consider a best friend, too. For some, I am all they have. Some have a few best friends, but are separated by distance. Some say they don’t connect with their other best friends like they do me. Not everyone is as blessed as I am, and I know this. But sometimes maintaining eight friendships is difficult on me. I think, sometimes certain friends depend on me too much. Sometimes, the fact that I have eight best friends that all need me (and that I need), causes me to be pulled in different directions trying to cater to the needs of too many people.

Sometimes, they tug and tug so hard in different directions that I feel like I might be torn apart. For many of them, I am the middle man. They all know of each other, but they don’t all get along. Some don’t understand why I spend time with some of the others. Some think I should make more time for them, because I have known them longer. Some are insecure about losing me. Some are insecure about maintaing that “best friend status.” Some are scared they won’t measure up to my other best friends.

None of them know that sometimes, I feel like a dead carcass. Sometimes, it feels like I am just something for them to fight over. Just a prize for the winner to proclaim, “aha, I have won, which means I am her real best friend. Not you.”

I understand these issues and fears, because I am human too. I am flawed and I have insecurities, and the idea of losing one of my best friends is unfathomable. But I am just one person. Friendship isn’t a game. Friendship isn’t a competition. Friendship shouldn’t feel like tug of war.

I have eight best friends and my friendship dynamic is different with each and every one of them, which is exactly how it should be. Why would I be best friends with eight different people if they were all identical or if the rewards garnered for their friendship were all the same. Some of them are childhood best friends, some are family, some are connected to me by molecules and atoms and come in the shape of a soul mate. Some came into my life at a time when I needed them the most. Some give me both nuance and stability. Some give me feelings of nostalgia while reminding me how far we have all come. I have more depth with some than others, and I have more breadth with some than others. No friendship is the same. What is the same, is that we all laugh together, grow and change together, and we all have ups and downs with each other.

Nobody will ever know how hard it is to maintain eight friendships with people who don’t all like each other or understand each other, and are sometimes jealous of each other. Sometimes, the constant tug in different directions can become tedious, frustrating and just plain sad to me. The truth remains though, that I wouldn’t trade any of them for just the friendship of one. They are all an essential part of who I am and why I get out of bed in the morning.

Maybe if you have more than one best friend you will be able to relate to this post. I hope so. I hope I am not the only one. Maybe, you too, know what it feels like to be tugged in different directions by different people whom you have equal love and respect for.

Maybe I should have listened to my elementary school teacher when for show and tell I talked about my three childhood friends and she said, “no. Choose one.” Maybe I should have only named one person when I sat down to dinner with my parents and they asked, “so who is your best friend this year?” Maybe, I should only choose to share my secrets, my pain and my glory with one person in this world. Maybe then my life would be easier. Maybe then I wouldn’t have to cater to the needs of so many different people who sometimes forget to cater to mine. Maybe, I would know some sort of peace, a quiet that I haven’t known since kindergarten.

But probably not, because my life would be empty. Less colorful. Lonely. Uniform. Hollow. All eight of my best friends are a part of who I am and every thought and belief I have has been cultivated by their influence and presence in my life. I wouldn’t be half the person I am today, without all of them.

I just wish they could all see that as clearly as I do.

I am all of them, and all of them is me.

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3 Responses to “Tug of War: A Friendship Game”

  1. ElizaThinksAllowed December 14, 2013 at 12:23 am #

    That’s why I disliked High School. I was always the middle man and I didn’t really like it. I suck at keeping friends. Kudos to you for tackling 8!

    • Taylor Devost December 14, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

      It is very challenging that’s for sure!! Thanks for reading. xoxo

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  1. Tug of War: A Friendship Game | nothingimportant - December 19, 2013

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