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Counseling/Creating a best friend

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Question
Hi Laura,

I have a bit of a complicated issue.  I have a friend/ neighbor (we'll call her Kate) whom I'm trying to become best friends with, and don't know how to achieve this.  To give you an idea of how this got started, I'll give you some facts:
1.  I am 33 years old, and am living with my widowed mother, as I have no money, and am hoping to get into online courses to pursue a degree in writing.  Even with a college degree, I've been to interview after interview, and can honestly say I've failed every time.  Living here has its ups and downs, but lately more its downs.  Kate is 59 years old, and is a neighbor of my mother.  I kind of feel like it's fate's work that Kate is part of my life.  I had to cut ties precisely a year and a half ago with a hairdresser, whom I used for 20 years.  Kate is a real estate agent who was once a hairdresser, and took the reins for me.  Since I always worried about the previous hairdresser retiring, before she gave me a reason to cut ties, that I why I believe that it happened for a reason.  I knew Kate before that, just not on a real personal level, until this past year.  
2.  When my father passed away nearly 12 years ago, I created an "aunt/ niece" bond with one of my mother's best friends since the 60s (we'll call her Rachelle).  The main reason for this was because I don't get along with my dad's sister.  That woman has ruined my life in more ways than anybody would want to count, but she went as far as to get my fifth grade teacher to pick on me, along with the students, and give me 4 years of hell on earth.  My aunt also took away my last job, by slandering me to my boss.  My mother wanted me to make amends with my aunt, being the traditionalist she is, but I was and am not willing to do that, the heartache she created is just too much.  As a result, I spent a lot of time with Rachelle, and had some of the best times.  That all came to a screeching halt thought, as I'm sure Mom and Rachelle talked on the side, and Mom probably told Rachelle to encourage me to make amends with my aunt.  I chose not to do that, but regardless, since she was worried about how it would effect her friendship with Mom, Rachelle still pulled away.  Today, Rachelle and I basically can call each other friends, and Mom and I often go to dinner with Rachelle and her son, but it just isn't like the old days.  When Mom caught my aunt in action, that relationship finally ended, and Mom and I no longer speak to my aunt.  Kate kind of reminds me of Rachelle, though I can't explain why~ Kate is also a decade younger than Rachelle.  Since I miss those days so much, that is another reason why this feels like a work of fate.
3.  I have a boyfriend, and I know he loves me.  He is also my 3rd cousin.  He has a daughter who despises me, and he has not told her we are going out.  How that is going to effect our relationship when he conveys this to his daughter terrifies me.  This is another reason why I need a best girlfriend, whom I can tell everything too, which is why I want to be able to call Kate my best friend.  My boyfriend's mother was my best friend when she was alive, but she passed away almost two years ago.  That loss is something that still has me very unhappy.  Although 86, and a retired nurse, she was just simply always available.  It isn't likely I'll ever find another friend like her.
4.  Kate is married with grandchildren, but is not raising any children.  I don't have fun with people my age really, ever, but most of my high school friends are mothers now, so that isn't a good fit for me.  I'm never going to be a mom, so I don't like listening to stories about kids.  I also have hideous rheumatoid arthritis, which is another reason working has been a challenge.  Resulting from health problems I can't distance myself from, I don't want to open any doors with people my age.  What I want is for my life to be the way it was when Rachelle was a big part of it, but I don't think Rachelle would be open to trying that again.
5.  Mom and I have been fighting more and more these past two years, and I don't know how much more either of us can take.  If it gets to the point where we just can't go on anymore, I need Kate in that respect too.  What I really need from Kate is a friend who can help me turn my life around.  Christmas time is always the worst for me too.  I kind of feel like I can't grow if I continue to stay at my mother's house, unless I can establish a best friend out of Kate.
I am meeting with Kate next week over coffee.  I want to convey this to her.  What would you suggest?  Kate tries to see one of our neighbors once a month.  Would it be reasonable to ask her if we could try that with much flexibility?  Hopefully, I can get into these online courses, and have far less free time, which would be good, but I still need Kate's support.  When I'm around Kate, she is very kind, but I want to somehow just know I can ask her to get together, and call on her if I need to~ of course, I won't turn my back on Kate if she needs anything, as I've already proven this year, by offering to help with what I could.  I also gave her a best friend charm, to let her know that is what I think of her, simply since she is one of the few people I can have a good time with; most people I meet, that isn't the case.  Hope you can help; sorry for the length of this.

Answer
Hello Marissa,

You can't just plan to be best friends with someone. It is something that happens organically through trust, intimacy, and connection. I can see that you want someone who will serve all your needs, but friendship is a two way street. It happens when both people have the time, willingness, availability, and interest in creating and preserving a relationship like that.

I think most people would be turned off by the proposal to be someone else's best friend when a relationship hasn't been established. It sounds like a job or commitment that hasn't been earned. You don't need "permission" to ask Kate to get together now and then. People do that with other people. If you want to see her once a month, just ask. Don't try to obligate her or buy her with trinkets. If she feels the same connection to you, she'll say yes. If not, she has the right to maintain boundaries that feel right for her.

I've got to tell you though that you will have a better chance of cultivating this type of relationship with someone if you don't burden them with all your stuff. That is more for a therapist. Be sunshine and light and you will attract sunshine and light.

Good luck,

Laura Giles  

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Laura Giles, MSW

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I can answer questions about sexual assault, sex offending, domestic violence, substance abuse, acudetox, hypnosis, biofeedback, neurofeedback, ADHD, relationship issues, and run of the mill mental health questions.

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Extensive inpatient, outpatient and criminal justice experience.

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BS counseling, MSW social work

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