When I was growing up, I really only had a few friends. These friends were my BFFs and I loved them and spent as much time with them as possible. We did everything together and were always trying to coerce our parents into letting us spend more time together.
Of course, as invariably happens with girls, things change. Families move, we grow up, new BFFs come and go. It's difficult not to take these changes personally. She likes her more than me, spends more time with her than me, is more like her than I am, gets to hang out with her more than I do. There are so many questions. What did I do wrong? What should I have done/said/given/been to keep her as my friend? Losing a friend from childhood or those awkward tween/teen years can be devastating.
As an adult, I've been lucky enough to acquire some new "BFFs," if you will. Girls who are there for me, accept me, encourage me, inspire me, and are kind enough to share their lives with me. One of the big things I've learned from them is that having friends who have plenty of other friends is wonderful. There is so much freedom in knowing your friend is not dependent on you for everything and that you have at least several other people you can call if necessary. Conversely, it is wonderful to not feel like you are imposing too much on one friend or expecting too much of one friend.
A couple years ago I started hosting some parties at my house I call "Girlfriend Appreciation Parties." I invited friends from growing-up and work and church and other random places I meet people. I wasn't really sure of what to expect when I started doing it, but it has become something wonderful. Sometimes I have ten to fifteen people show up. Last night, I had only three guests. Regardless of how many or how few ladies attend, one thing I always come back to after one of these parties is how nice it is to spend time talking and laughing with other women.
I've come to realize how important is this interaction and conversation and confession and commiseration. We may be very different or pretty similar. We may be mothers or not mothers, employees or SAHMs, not that far out of high school or surprised at how long ago we graduated from college. But we are all women, so what we have in common almost always outweighs our differences.
I've so loved getting to know the ladies who show up and gaining this appreciation for having a variety of friends. No, every friend you make is not going to be a kindred spirit or inseparable companion. But there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's a wonderful thing. I now realize that even if a girl isn't your best friend or even a very good friend, you can appreciate each other and learn from each other and support each other. You can drink a glass of wine together and shoot the breeze over whatever you may happen to have in common. You can offer each other the gift of time and understanding. No pressure. No expectations. Just offering each other the time to talk and discuss and share mutual fears and laugh. And, even if this only happens occasionally (or even once) between you, you're all better for it.