Adulting with Erin: Being your own best friend

By Erin Bothwell | February 13, 2018 8:48pm
by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

Anyone with a Netflix account should know about Feb. 13 or Galentine’s Day, as popularized by the wonderful “Parks and Rec” (season 2 episode 16, season 4 episode 14 and season 6 episode 16). Galentine’s Day celebrates the love and friendship you share with the gals (and guys) in your life. 

I will refer to Galentine’s Day as Pal-entine’s Day as to not exclude anyone on the basis of gender. *I see you rolling your eyes at me for being so P.C. But with Pal-entine’s/Galentine’s Day right around the corner, I forgive you. 

Side note: On glancing at Pal-entine, I realized it looks kind of like Palestine — which wasn’t my intention, but maybe Palestinians celebrate Pal-entine’s Day too? — so I added the hyphen to make it less confusing. Not that there’s anything wrong with Palestine. I mean, in the U.S. we mainly associate Palestine with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is a whole other thing and probably not a reflection of the Palestinians as a people, and wow I’ve gotten really off-topic. 

Back to Pal-entine’s Day. I get it. It’s fun and shifts the focus from the French kissing kind of love to the eating French toast together kind of love. Both involve the mouth, but one involves syrup and is therefore superior. (Does Canadian kissing involve syrup? That sounds sticky.) 

Pal-entine’s Day is great while you have your pals around, but as Leslie Knope realized in “Galentine’s Day,” you might not have your best buddy nearby all the time. Maybe your BFF moved to Michigan and can’t come to the phone when you call. Maybe she’s at a different college or in a different country. 

Honestly, distance is okay. It’s a little sad and probably not something you ever wanted, but it doesn’t mean your friendship can’t last. It will change as you both grow. 

While missing her lovely friend Ann, Leslie (and probably Paris Hilton) discovered you can’t audition people to be your new best friend. Parks and Rec may be a fictional show, but this lesson is for real. You can’t hunt for a friendship to fill a gaping hole in your heart, because people aren’t replaceable. We’re not AAA batteries — indistinguishable from one another and easily swapped out. 

The truth is, the person who knows you best, who will always be in your corner and fight for you is you. And maybe your mom (but your mom probably wants what she thinks is best for you. Bias is real). 

You will be present for every heartbreak you go through, every job interview, every date, every holiday, every bad day, every fight, every apology, every high and every low. You will spend every second of your life with yourself. Why not enjoy your own company? 

So be your own best friend. To take yourself on a walk, to a movie or out to lunch. You might be self-conscious, sitting by yourself. You might be afraid you look lame, but think about it. Would you rather sit at home or do something you enjoy? If other people judge you for being alone, that’s their problem. Not yours. 

I started seriously trying to friend myself at the start of college. It turns out, I have a lot (okay, literally everything) in common with myself. Those commonalities are fun. Last week, I bought myself a dozen roses after a long day. And guess what? They’re perfect (and I’m notoriously picky). 

There’s a big difference between being alone and being lonely (Kelly Clarkson knows it). It’s important to foster a positive relationship with yourself for your own sake. Even if your best friend lives next door for the rest of your life, there will be moments when you’re alone (and if you ever have kids, moments you will probably wish you were alone). Ultimately, you can have multiple best friends (there is no limit, the limit does not exist!). One of them should be you.