If you learn how to be your own best friend, you create happiness and remove any pressure you may unwittingly place on others. Being your own best friend means you are proud of who you are, self-confident, and not so reliant on the company of others. Ironically enough, this can serve to improve our other friendships.
Maybe you are someone who is struggling with some current friendships. Perhaps you feel your friends aren’t supportive enough. Do you wish your friends were more attentive and interested in you? Instead of focusing outwardly on them, it’s time to give yourself the friendship you are seeking.
This article will discuss the benefits of having a best friend, after which I'll suggest several ways you can become your own best friend!
Why is it important to be your own best friend?
I know a thing or two about how to be your own best friend. I moved countries in the middle of a pandemic, which was incredibly isolating. And with the assistance of therapy and my healing journey, I have cut ties with several “friends” who once held the role of “best friend.”
Over the last few years, I have learned to become my own best friend. And I want to enable you to do the same.
The “best friends” I untethered from had lost their fun and trust, and I no longer confided in them. I recognized that these relationships had moved from healthy to unhealthy.
Time and again, research has proven the importance of strong social bonds.
The positive effects of close social ties are plentiful. Having a best friend will make you:
- Live longer.
- Have better reproductive health.
- Less likely to suffer from illness.
- Recover quicker from illness.
- Cope more effectively with stress.
- Less likely to suffer from addictions.
This list makes it easy to see why it's important to be your own best friend. We benefit from everything on this list when we learn to become our own best friends.
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Choose yourself first
You owe it to yourself to choose yourself over others. I’m sure we have all experienced unhealthy friendships. I suspect we have all endured one-sided and often toxic friendships. Sometimes we cling on as we feel we have no one else.
I’m here to tell you it is better to be your own best friend than to be best friends with someone who does not have your best interests at heart.
I endured some of my loneliest experiences alongside people who I thought were my friends. In comparison, some of my most connected and fulfilling times have been in solitude.
5 tips to become your own best friend
With all that said, here are 5 tips to help you become your own best friends.
1. Compassionate self-talk
It’s time to speak to yourself with compassion and kindness.
If we speak to others how we talk to ourselves, we will have no friends left. The great thing about best friends is they talk to us with kindness. They overlook our mishaps and encourage us to look beyond our flaws.
When we are our own best friends, we forgive our own mistakes instead of being impatient and cruel with our self-talk. We are gentle and kind.
Learn to change the “you’re so stupid; you will never meet your deadline” to “keep going; you’re almost there; you can do this.”
Be kind to yourself, and don’t tolerate hateful self-talk.
2. Enjoy your own company
According to this study, it takes fifty hours with someone before they move from acquaintance to casual friend. It takes ninety hours for this casual acquaintance to become a friend and more than two hundred hours to create a best friend.
I understand you are with yourself all the time, but how often do you purposefully spend time with yourself? Do you take yourself on dates?
I’m being totally serious here.
When I split up with an ex-boyfriend, I embraced the process of becoming reacquainted with myself. I took myself on various dates:
- Coffee shops.
- Museum trips.
- Beach and forest walks.
- Library trips.
- Spa days.
If you can’t be alone with yourself, how can you ever expect other people to enjoy spending time with you?
Choose to spend time by yourself and get to know yourself. Follow your own energy. Learn to find solitude in alone time, not loneliness.
3. Honor yourself
Show yourself respect, and listen to your needs. It’s time to honor the incredible person that you are.
When we honor ourselves, this can look like several things:
- Establishing boundaries with family and friends.
- Saying “no” to things we usually feel compelled to say “yes” to.
- Giving ourselves time to decompress without requiring a reason or feeling guilt.
- Listening to our inner yearnings and acting upon them.
I honored myself when I let go of expired friendships. It helped ignite the spark of living for myself, not for others.
You are here to live your own life. It is up to you to follow your heart and listen to what is calling you. Honor your inner voice and follow your own path. Ignore the crowd. Only then will you find true happiness.
4. Be your own cheerleader
It feels incredible to have people around us who love and cherish us. We can learn to give ourselves a similar encouragement. We can celebrate our wins and boost our own sense of self-worth.
For as long as I can remember, I have hated my birthday. Perhaps I have expectations that others will remember. My birthday brings me a sense of invisibility and irrelevance.
This year I decided to celebrate myself instead of letting the day slip away in a dark cloud. My partner joined me on a beautiful hike in the local mountains.
We don’t need others to celebrate our special anniversaries. It’s time we start to give ourselves gifts and celebrate ourselves.
Whatever you have achieved, regardless of how small this achievement is, mark it, recognize it, and give yourself kudos. Be proud of who you are.
5. Nourish yourself
The first type of nourishment I want to talk about is universal to all of us. Best friends want the best for us, so encourage us to lead a healthy lifestyle. It’s time to optimize your habits to set your mind and body up for success. This habit boost includes:
- Good sleep hygiene.
- Exercise time.
- Relaxation time.
- Consume appropriate nutrients.
We are all individual beings, and different things bring us nourishment to our souls. Find what brings you nourishment and do it.
Me, I feel nourished when I:
- Cuddle my dog.
- Spend time in nature.
- Read a good book.
- Chat with a friend.
- Hug my partner.
As my own best friend, I recognize what brings me nourishment, and I set myself time to nourish myself.
If you want more tips, here's our article dedicated to how to nourish your mind.
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Being our own best friend does not mean we are closing the shutters to external friendships. It simply means we are learning to love ourselves and honor ourselves without placing this burden on someone else.
What do you do to be your own best friend? Do you have any other suggestions besides the ones I shared in this article? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!