Hello, this is a question about friendship. I've know my friend for about 3 years, and recently told him he was my 'best bud' as I put it. He said I was one of his closest friends. So is a close friend the same as a best friend? We are really close, but I want to know if those two mean the same thing. We usually hang out a lot too. I have Social anxiety disorder, so I was wondering if this would make us best friends or not, since I have very few. Sorry, this may seem like a stupid question. But it would help a lot if I knew if close friends are the same as best friends, or what the difference is.

Hi Trent. You can be close with several friends. Only one of them merits the rating as "best." In my experience, "social anxiety disorder" is a symptom of an underlying problem: inherited psychological wounds from early-childhood abandonment, neglect, and abuse (trauma). To see if this may apply to you, see these:

If they DO apply to you, I encourage you to study online "lesson 1" at

Questions = welcome - Pete


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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about mood disorders, depression, suicide, relationships, communication skills, problem solving, clear thinking, bonding disorders, trauma recovery, addiction management, grieving, shame, guilt, fear, reality distortion, and trust disorders; courtship, family functioning, "problem kids," mediation, (re)marriage, divorce, stepfamilies, stepparenting, boundaries, self-neglect, abuse, parental neglect, personality subselves, ("parts work"). I cannot answer legal or medical questions.


I maintained a private therapy practice near Chicago for 27 years, and have worked with over 1,000 men, women, couples, and families on a wide range of personal and family problems. I have been in personal recovery from growing up in an alcoholic family since 1986, and have worked with five therapists to heal my own psychological wounds. I maintained a "warm (phone) line" for callers on the topics above for 20 years, and have taught over 200 seminars and classes in midwestern universities, churches, support groups, and schools since 1981. I have practiced internal-family therapy ("parts work") with trauma-recoverers since 1991.

National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council; Compassion and Choices, and Final Exit Network

# Several hundred articles in my non-profit "Break the Cycle!" Web site at These articles are augmented by over 150 educational YouTube videos .

# six books on childhood-trauma recovery, effective communication, and stepfamily courtship, coparenting, and management.

A bachelors degree in mechanical engineering (BSME, 1959) from Stanford University, a Masters degree in clinical Social Work, (MSW, 1981), and over 500 hours of post-grad training in the topics above - including clinical hypnosis, spirituality, codependence, addicrtion-management, and guided imagery. My post-grad traning includes two 9-month internships on doing internal-family therapy at the University of Illinois.

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of grateful emails and comments from students and clients all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
Over 1,000 average Midwestern-US women, men, couples, and families. A physical disability limits me to doing telephone and Skype counseling now.

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