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How do you convert friends into best friends?

(54 Posts)
AhAgain Sun 26-Mar-17 02:31:15

I have quite a few lovely friends, but I find it very hard to get to the next level. Highlighted recently when I realised that a subgroup of my group of friends were going away to spa hotel for the night. I thought that I was "in there", but it seems not. I am a bit sad, just because I adore my friends.

I am fairly shy at heart, but I am always the first to offer (genuine) support if someone needs help. I am reliable and kind and never bitchy. I am never down or a drag. But I am pretty low key and relaxed. I do arrange social things and invite everyone along. Am wondering if I am just not "sparklely"/fun enough (I am fairly quiet - more of a listener than a talker).

So how do you help develop girlie friendships (in your late 30s). I have a loving marriage and family, but would love some close girlfriends.

MusicToMyEars800 Sun 26-Mar-17 02:44:11

I wish I could help you OP, I have this problem I have a few mates/friends but I would love a best friend that I can txt at all times and rely on and trust completely, I would make a good friend I don't judge and am always there for people when needed, I don't bitch and try to support whenever I can, I help whenever I can and am always thre to lend an ear, but I just haven't got a 'proper' friend! maybe we can be best friends, where are you based? smile I promise I am not a mad person grin ( well maybe a quirky personality ) I am 26, 2 dcs aged 7 and 5 and live with my OH of 13 years

Joysmum Sun 26-Mar-17 08:25:30

The answer is that you don't.

Best friendship operates the same as a romantic relations in that there are plenty of really lovely people in the world, but you need a spark to make it special and take it to the next level and that's not something you can manufacture.

dudsville Sun 26-Mar-17 08:33:34

Hm. For perspective, I've not wanted a best friend since I left school but I do have close friends in the way you describe. I can text at aNY time, I trust them and know I won't be judged, etc. I think "best" is a lot of pressure. For the last 15/20 years (in mid 40s) my friends (it's not a group) and I have focused on education, career, families and our friendships are deep, I love them, but I would feel hemmed in by one person making more of a claim on my time.

noego Sun 26-Mar-17 09:27:01

Best friend relationships grow naturally. There is a mutual respect for one another that is easy and relaxed.

AhAgain Sun 26-Mar-17 09:34:16

Thanks for your replies.

MusicToMyEars, I live in the SW. smile

I suppose that I am not after a singular "best" friend really (that could be a bit intense), just to be in the inner circle of a group. We do text all of the time and catch up, in person, a few times a week. Would just like "if you are going away to a spa hotel with a few friends, then I would be on the list". There are no practical reasons I wasn't invited and - earlier last week - I tried to arrange something for that day and got "sorry I am going away that night". But - coincidentally - found out that most of the rest of the group were going yesterday.

Shouldn't bother me, but it does a bit. Makes me feel a bit awkward. If I ever do anything social, then said friends are at the top of my list. So wondering if it is a bit one sided.

I think that you are right. I am not a "sparky live wire". I am always there, but I am a listener rather than a talker. People know that they can depend on me, but maybe I am a "periphery" person.

WipsGlitter Sun 26-Mar-17 09:36:08

Could you ask any of them why you were not invited? How did the friendship group form? How long have you been friends for?

AhAgain Sun 26-Mar-17 09:40:44

Noego, I sort of thought that's what we had and growing (naturally with no pressure). So am rather surprised. So feeling somewhat awkward/"less relaxed".

junebirthdaygirl Sun 26-Mar-17 09:45:24

Thats awful they didnt count you in. I have a group of friends. No best friend ..But if we plan something and some are planners we count everyone in..Theyre mean..I dont think you are doing anything wrong. Were you not there when they planned it?

AhAgain Sun 26-Mar-17 09:47:24

Wips. Couldn't ask without feeling like a needy psycho 😷. Which I am not, honest! They have had a couple of chances to invite me and they didn't - so pushing the issue is wrong.

We have all known each other about the same time (give it a month or two). Obviously different people within the group do different things with each other - that's life - but this feels a bit weird (i.e. a group girlie jolly that I am not included in). If I had done the same thing, they would have been the top of my list.

Just2MoreSeasons Sun 26-Mar-17 09:49:43

I always think a closer level of friendship develops when you share your emotions with people. So I would say 'open up' a bit more and see if that helps!

Lessthanaballpark Sun 26-Mar-17 09:49:53

Ah OP that does sound rough. It's horrid to feel excluded.

Isadora2007 Sun 26-Mar-17 09:52:46

Honestly? They don't sound like friends if they've done that. It's not needy to ask why you weren't honestly want to know. If they are your friends they will either have a good answer why and that will clear up in your mind what's what or else they won't have an answer as they are not your actual
Either way don't you owe it to yourself to find out?

SallyGinnamon Sun 26-Mar-17 10:07:43

Could they have another common interest that you don't share?

I'm in a sub group of 4 out of a bigger group of 15 or so. As are others.

The smaller groups have come about because we've all had a common interest and have done stuff the others aren't interested in (e.g. Dogfest and Gin Masterclass). Lots can't see the point of dogs or don't like gin! Another group go and do yoga which I'd rather die than join.

This has made us a bit closer generally so we have done other things as a 4 too eg theatre as it's a nightmare co-ordinating 15 for that sort of thing.

WipsGlitter Sun 26-Mar-17 10:19:02

Did all of the rest of the group go? Were you the only one not invited?

AhAgain Sun 26-Mar-17 10:23:00

No, this is a much smaller group (about 5). Obviously we are not joined at the hip and do things separately or in pairs, although "group" things (without number restrictions) tend to be open group things (or so I thought).

This is just a girly spa day/night. It is one of the group's birthday next week (probably completely outing myself), so she is going to the spa as a pre-celebration. Found out last night that the rest of the group are going and not me. So there were a couple of chances to say "oh do you want to come along?". Person whose birthday it is is the person that I thought that I was closest to and she is really lovely

So it must mean that I am assuming too much about the friendship. I don't think they are mean, just maybe I am not a properly integral member of the friendship group.

Thinkingofausername1 Sun 26-Mar-17 17:21:09

It must be the quiet ones op. I never get invited to anything the mums at the school do. I've seen posts on Facebook where people I thought were close friends all out for a night out. I guess despite being easy going, they would rather go out and have fun without me.

daisychain01 Sun 26-Mar-17 17:27:33

I think you are setting unrealistic expectations about friendships because they arent fixed or have a label stuck on them. They are very fluid and changeable as life changes unexpectedly outside everyone's control.

I wouldn't become fixated on the label you are giving to Best Friend-dom because you will become disillusioned when that status changes as it undoubtedly will.

daisychain01 Sun 26-Mar-17 17:34:41

Sorry I meant to add the people who are "members" of that Friendship group are all probably jockeying for position and some of the external Pally-ness you see externally may be an illusion.

Frienship Groups are ghastly anyway and to quote an oft used quote (adapted) " Id never be in a Friendship Group that would have me as a member"

KateMateDateFateLateBateGate Sun 26-Mar-17 17:39:10

"I think that you are right. I am not a "sparky live wire". I am always there, but I am a listener rather than a talker. " Gosh live wires can be very tiring, I'd prefer somebody like you OP.

Does this friendship group have a whatsapp group which is generally used to organise things? Are you on it? I also think a bestie can be hard work if you have a family. I used to have a bff until I was about 20 but couldn't bare how entwined we were and felt it was keeping from forming serious relationships with men. Generally I agree that sharing experiences and emotions. e.g. opening up to each other fosters closer connections. Sometimes getting a bit drunk together can help move it to the next level, at least that's how it used to be when I was younger.

As a grown up, I rather have a few clothes frriends than one bestie. I also can't do cliques or friendship groups and usually prefer 1-2-1 relationship with strong women who share various ineterstes with me. I would never text anyone in the middle of the night unless it was a serious emergency because I would feel so self-centred if I did. I don't even text my anytime e.g. when he is away on business during the night unless it is an emergency.

AhAgain Sun 26-Mar-17 18:22:03

Thanks very much for lots of advice opinions - helpful to work through things in my head.

Yes, I don't want/need a real bestie, but I do really want to extend/grow my friendships. Just because it makes life more fun and interesting. Love DH and the DC, but it is nice to have a social life outside of them.

I get what you are saying about "friendship groups" completely. I think that the thing is that the birthday girl is the person that I thought that I really got on with well. And now I don't know how she sees me. Am wondering if one of the others actually organised this and she has gone along with it. Don't know if they have a separate WhatsApp group - possibly, but I am not aware. I am on WhatsApp (and they know that).

I mostly feel crap because I have let it bother me (not a lot, but more than I should do). I guess that I need to keep working at friendships: I know lots of lovely, interesting people - I am very lucky smile

Brickswithstones Sun 26-Mar-17 18:30:20

Don't feel bad OP , I think you're justified in being a bit upset , but don't dwell on it .

You've said you feel closest to the birthday person . Did you ask her beforehand if she had any birthday plans ?

Does the group typically get together for birthday celebrations?

If they do and you normally are a part of such celebrations, it's funny they've left you out of this one .

I17neednumbers Sun 26-Mar-17 18:42:48

Op, sympathies, that does sound potentially hurtful.
I think once people have got to the age where they are into work/family/other, it can be a very slow process - literally years - for a friend to turn into a close friend. You need a certain number of 'hours of interaction' for that closeness to develop, and there are limited opportunities!

And it's possible that the new norm of texting/e-mailing rather than phoning makes that even more the case. I remember I used to have 30 minute telephone conversations with adult friends - just idle chat, what about this political development, this bit of local news, not just 'arrangement making' - and I do think that probably meant we grew closer. That rarely happens nowadays - perhaps we would prefer to be on mn than call someone!

One thing I think I have learned from mn is that 'groups' can be fraught. Some people feel more at ease with one to one friendships - there may always be overlaps between friends, but a 'group' leaves so much scope for not really feeling part of it, feeling 'on the edge', 'am I being dropped' etc? It seems to happen so often, judging by threads.

So, after this long spiel, my advice is I would carry on with this group for what they are, a source of pleasant social occasions, but also maybe focus on trying to arrange one to one things with the ones you click with most. (Of course that then sets up another problem if they say 'no too busy' but that is a separate issue!)

AhAgain Wed 29-Mar-17 00:18:47

Thanks brickswithstones, very valid points. We have done a mixture re birthdays: I have been to things before and always believe is supporting people by celebrating with them. I always play my birthday down (maybe wrongly) - it is over half term (many people away) and I am not a massive fan of being "centre of attention" (I would rather make a fuss of others). Maybe they thought that I didn't invite them along to something and so didn't bother inviting me? Next time will arrange something for my birthday.

Thanks l17neednumbers, am honestly wondering if I have completely misread this/these friendships. I thought that I was particularly getting on with the birthday girl (hence why I feel so crap about this), but I am wondering if it is just her "persona" (her job involves being very very good with people - maybe she is just using those skills rather than genuinely liking me). But then I have full blown PMS at the moment: so am not sure how much of my feelings are real and how much hormones (which make me doubt myself and feel crap about myself..).

It is like one of those films/books told from two very differing points-of-view: you suddenly realise that the world might not be how you thought you perceived it.

Your advice sounds very sound and I think that I will "diversify" more too: I really want to build some good genuine friendships.

Cricrichan Wed 29-Mar-17 04:51:02

Op that's not on. To be the only one excluded from the spa when it would have been so easy to include you but spoil that relationship for me. And if I'd been part of the group i would have made sure that you were invited even if i wasn't as close to you as the others.

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