By: Michelle Lee | English Columnist
Unlocking the phone, pressing on a social media app, let it be instagram, twitter or facebook, often my news feed presents me with projects I could do with my BFF. It would be matching outfits, a trip we could go on together, or ideas for crazy pictures; the list goes on. For as long as I could remember, I could never relate to others when they would say, “My best friend would always do this” or “We would always do this together. It was our thing.” We are all familiar with that term: BFF. Best friends forever, a friend you could call your other half, someone who gets you so well and knows you inside and out. Whenever I’m confronted with those pictures, I never can relate. The truth is, I don’t have a best friend.
Am I not social? No. I’m probably the most social person you would meet in Berkeley. Do I have a dislikable personality? I hope not. Does this mean I don’t have any friends at all? Of course not. What you must know is that the question of whether you have a best friend or not, has nothing to do with an individual’s personality.
Growing up and never being in one neighborhood, it was difficult to make friends that I considered myself the closest to. Some may say that it’s the lack of my effort, but it was often the environmental circumstances that lead to such results. As I grew up and moved to different places and became used to where I was, I gradually lost touch with people from my past, quite often those who I was closer to. The majority of the people I know of who has a best friend or two have lived in the same neighborhood for their past 10 years or more and I was simply never in that situation.
Our 21st century society is progressively encouraging a more individual, self-geared lifestyle. People have become accustomed to spending their time alone, whether it is for a good or bad purpose. By no means is spending time for yourself bad. Solitude is proven to boost creativity, help strengthen mental health and even increase empathy. As I grew up, I would find myself spending more and more time with others and not reserving time for myself. I soon saw it affecting my grades and my mental health as well. Eventually, I began keeping aside time every day for self-reflection and to just unwind after an entire day of socializing. As a result, I would distance myself from friends and focusing on me.
I soon realized, I could not possibly be the only person facing this problem. There must be people like me who had moved around one too many times, never really had the time to invest in friends, or never had a chance to meet someone they connected with. Becoming best friends with someone is never a task where you can simply decide,“Oh that person seems nice, I’ll make him/her my best friend.” It takes courage and time to completely open yourself up to someone even with the faith you have in them and to be understanding enough to accept others and their flaws.
All I want to say is: If one day you realize that you don’t have a best friend, especially in a place like Berkeley where it feels like it’s everyone for themselves, you are not alone. It’s even completely normal to not have a best friend. It doesn’t matter when or where, you can be 40 years old and find your best friend then. In time, people worth keeping and who feel the same way about you will stick around.
This piece is a combination of the stories of my acquaintances and the conversations I’ve had with multiple people and by no means is a sole reflection of my life. I could never fully express and contain the struggles of individuals and thus tried my best in describing what it might have felt like.