Now, when I say "signs that you aren't supposed to have a best friend," I don't mean "signs that you are supposed to be forever alone." I'm talking about reasons that you, personally, are not designed to only have one, solitary best friendship. You will not be happy if you only share, confide, laugh, dance, etc., with one person. You are happier with multiple closer friends. So what are some signs that you are not meant to have just one best friend?
I spoke with Janna Koretz, Psy.D., licensed psychologist and Azimuth Psychological founder, to better understand the kinds of friendships that keep us happy and healthy, and why different people require different kinds of friendships. For starters, a lot of psychologists and educators actually think having group friendships — rather than one best friend — is much more beneficial for a person. It's pretty normal for human beings to prosper in groups.
You may be a social butterfly who floats from group to group and can't identify one best friend. You may be dating your best friend, while considering everyone else in your life a close friend. You may not have enough emotional energy to devote to an intense best friendship bond.
Regardless, being unable to identify a "best friend" does not reveal anything negative about your character or social habits, whatsoever. It just means that type of relationship isn't the kind of friendship that will improve your life. Read on to learn more "best friends" and who needs them:
1. You Feel Better In Groups
Have you always felt more comfortable in groups? A lot of educators would think you're making the smarter choice. They argue that encouraging kids to form groups, rather than select one best friend, will teach them to be less possessive of other people, and help them learn to be comfortable in many different social settings.
Koretz tells Bustle that it makes sense for human beings to desire groups, especially if they already have a few close friends. "Some people prefer to have a few friends they can count on and trust," Koretz says. "Sometimes this can create more of a group dynamic if all the good friends happen to also be good friends with one another." And that's kind of human nature. "Groups have been appealing since the beginning of time when we could only survive in our group, while it also helps us establish an identity and feel safe," she says.
2. Your Partner Fills That Role
Now, this is NOT to say that you should give up friendships for a partner — not at all. That leads to co-dependency and isolation. Surveys even demonstrate that when women make time for their female friendships, they are happier in their romantic relationships. When I am talking about your partner filling that role, I mean that you are fulfilled by hanging out with groups or multiple close friends because you already devote the intimate energy of a single best friendship to your partner. You are dating your best friend.
3. You Get Along With Too Many Different Kinds Of People
Some people are floaters. Maybe they moved around a lot in their childhoods, or they fit into lots of different groups in high school because of their multiple extracurricular activities. Perhaps their cultural identities helped them navigate different groups of people. Regardless, they feel their identities are too complex or they have too many different interests to depend on one person to fulfill all of their social needs. Do you have some friends with whom who you only go to bars, and other friends with whom you only stay on the couch and watch Netflix? And you love doing both, but surround yourself with different friends depending on what you prefer that day? You may be happier without a best friend.
4. You Don't Want To Focus All Of Your Energy On One Person
Best friendships can be as emotionally intimate as romantic partnerships — just in different ways. You get in fights, you cry together, you support one another, you help each other when you hurt, etc. Best friendships can require constant nurturing — they can also turn very toxic, just as unhealthy romantic relationship can. You may prefer a group dynamic that doesn't put so much pressure on you.
5. You Know That You Have People To Lean On
As Koretz explains, you really shouldn't worry if you don't have one best friend: "If a single best friend doesn't exist, [that's] nothing to be worried about. As long as there are people to count on and trust, and someone feels good about the relationships they have," then they shouldn't try to change a thing.
6. Your Co-Workers Are A Big Part Of Your Non-Work Life, Too
If you love your job, or even if you just have one really special co-worker, you may end up with multiple friends from different sectors of your life — and you don't want to consider one type of friend better than the other. Basically, you love your work family as equally as you love your friend family.
7. It Really Just Depends On What Works For You
"Different people require different kinds of friendship to be happy," says Koretz. And it isn't as though multiple friendships are better than a best friendship. It only depends on what makes you feel the most secure.
"I would say there isn't necessarily a benefit to one or the other; I think it's more what works for a person," Koretz says. "If someone feels supported by their peer relationships, it doesn't matter whether it's one best friend or multiple close friends."