Monday, July 4, 2011

Be Your Own Best Friend

As a woman, I have always longed for close relationships with other women, filled with warmth and joy.  The typical stuff-lunch, shopping, nights out with the "girls".   Women that I can laugh with and share memories with.  However, at 27, I have come to the realization that the last time I even came close to doing these things was some time in high school.  I grew up an only child, envious of girls who had a best friend (and a father)...but that is a subject I will deal with later.

Image Credit:  Anonymous (Fotolia)

The only woman I have ever had a truly special relationship with is my mother.  Friendships have never come naturally to me, which is one of the reasons I feel blessed to have met my husband.  He is not only my partner.  He is also one of the best friends I've ever had.  But there are times when I wonder if I'm missing out on anything by not having female friends.  I'm not referring to acquaintances who can be described as ships passing in the night, with insincere smiles and empty conversations.  I'm talking about real friendships that stand the test of time.  As I get older, I realize that very few people are lucky enough to have true friendships with genuine people.

It may sound cliche, but a true friend is as rare as gold in today's world.  In the era of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, it seems that most "friendships" are based on quantity rather than quality.  Many people seem to lead constantly busy, fast-paced lives.  There is always another bill to be paid, another event to attend, and another demand that needs to be fulfilled.  As a result, it is often difficult to create authentic connections with others around us.  When I was still a single woman in an unhappy semi-relationship (before I met Mr. Cinnamon Kameleon), I spent many Saturday nights alone.  My phone would hardly ring.  Dates became somewhat infrequent.  I succumbed to loneliness because hey, we all need human interaction at some point.  But after a while, I came to understand that being alone does not have to mean a life devoid of happiness and joy.  

I could create my own fun, if only in baby steps.  I could be my own best friend by taking the time to discover my passions in life and tapping into what made me happy.  It didn't require waiting around in the hopes that someone would call or invite me out.  I took action.  I exercised my creativity by writing and drawing.  I listened to music.  I went shopping by myself.  Some women rely on the approval of their friends while shopping, but I learned to trust my own intuition and with time I developed a better sense of personal style than I had in the past.  Sometimes I went to movies alone and dined alone in restaurants.   

I won't deny that it was uncomfortable to be the odd woman out at times, observing people in groups engaged in various activities.   But I also learned to appreciate solitude and in the process I made a new friend...myself.  

Are you your own best friend?  Share your thoughts!

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