Ask Minda Honey: Have I Outgrown My H.S. Besties?

Ask Minda Honey is LEO Weekly’s relationship advice column. Write Minda with your dating, love and relationship questions at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @MindaHoney

Hi Minda,
I have two best friends from high school. Most of my friends are from my adult life (I’m 34), and my two high school besties don’t fit with my life, and, if I’m being totally honest, haven’t for some time (and vice versa). The only thing we really share is our past — we don’t have hobbies in common, and our daily lives are very different. Since they have never been friends I have been able to emotionally open up to, I am not sure where this leaves us. Most of our contact is through our little three-way texting we do once in a while. I am usually the one suggesting we all get together, and I haven’t in a long time. I also don’t have that they-are-getting-together-without-me! feeling. I don’t know what to do! Some days, I really want to try and work on being close to them, but it doesn’t seem realistic or worth the effort at this point. I’d love your opinion on this!
Thanks so much!
—“Emily”

Hi Emily!

Let me tell the story of me and one of my high school besties. We spent nearly all of our time together, and the time we didn’t spend together, we spent writing in notebooks to each other. I have dozens of notebooks from high school in a box for whenever I need to remember that in the early 2000s I was basically Cher from “Clueless,” without the money or the step-bro — but lots of plaid skirts and the general obliviousness about life.

Then, shit got messy in my friend’s love life, and I learned the hard way you should never put yourself between your friend and her man — you’ll lose that contest almost every time. Even after they broke up, there were still some bruised feelings between us. We went to separate colleges, and I moved away for a long time. We hadn’t exactly stopped being friends, but our friendship was little more than Facebook likes and the occasional random text concerning a high school memory or someone we had in common.

I went on to make other besties, and she did too, so it wasn’t like either of us were leading empty lives. It wasn’t until our friendship fire rekindled over a dumb-ass TV show — “Married At First Sight” — that I realized how much I had missed her and our friendship. And she felt the same way. Suddenly, we were chatting weekly about the show and then other things. We were asking about each other’s parents. We were dishing about makeup. I started to make an effort to see her when I was in town on visits. Slipping back into a close friendship with her was like pulling on a T-shirt that’s been washed a gazillion times; it was super comfortable. Now, that I’ve moved back, I see her every few months — she’s really busy with school — but I know that she’s there for me in any way a good bestie should be.

And knowing someone who knew me in my glasses, braces and frizzy-hair days is still by my side, now that I’m our city’s super-glam relationship advice columnist, with nearly always perfect hair — LOLZ… let me have it, y’all — well, that feels really good. So, I get your reluctance to let go of your high school besties even though your lives have splintered off in different directions. Friendships are living things, and they grow and change with us over the years. Right now, your friendship with your besties is in a casual check-in stage, and you want to push it beyond that. The only way to do that is to have a direct conversation with your friends about wanting to actually see them. You might find that’s not what they want and they’re happy to continue on as is. You can then decide to gracefully bow out and redirect your friendship energy elsewhere, or you can continue to participate in a friendship with these two, in hopes there will eventually be another phase. You have to decide what will make you happiest.

You also mentioned that these two “have never been friends I have been able to emotionally open up to.” I’m a little surprised that you’d consider them besties if there was never a deep, profound emotional connection — sounds like they were just the people you kicked it with most. And it’s totally OK to let those types of friendships go, when they’ve outlasted their usefulness. I would just encourage you to take a look at the roles you’re giving people in your life, and see if your emotional investment in that person matches up. If it doesn’t, like I suggested last column, it’s time to make some adjustments.