“She’s My BFF!” “No, She’s My BFF!”

Last night I was lucky enough to see a sneak preview of Bridesmaids. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that I loved it. I expected to enjoy the two hours fine, but the movie actually had more substance to it than I’d anticipated.

Don’t get me wrong. There is some serious toilet humor, and a scene or two had me covering my eyes and cringing with embarrassment. (Side note: It was fascinating to see a Judd Apatow film where the raunchy comedy comes from the ladies. Empowering, in a one-character-may-or-may-not-have-pooped-in-a-sink kind of way.) (Another side note: I fell in lurve with Chris O’Dowd, Kristen Wiig’s goofy-yet-totally-endearing romantic interest. I want to hug him.) But at its core, the movie is about friendship. About the insecurities and competition that can creep in, the difficulty of connecting with other women as adults, and the importance of lifers.

One of the  biggest storylines is the competition between Kristen Wiig’s maid-of-honor and another bridesmaid, played by Rose Byrne. They’re both close friends with the bride, though Kristen Wiig’s Annie has known her since childhood, while Rose Byrne’s Helen is a new pal. The situation is exaggerated, obviously, but it’s rooted in something very real.

You know the inkling of jealousy you get when you meet a lifelong BFF’s new close friend? Mostly, you like her. Approximately 99 percent.  But that nagging 1 percent leaves you wanting to point out all the ways in which you know your best friend better than she ever will. Or that you have inside jokes that go back further than their entire friendship. It’s ridiculous and childish and you’re embarrassed to admit you’ve ever felt this way. But you have. We all have.

And clearly Kristen Wiig has, as she co-wrote the movie.

What is it about bestfriendship that can, every now and then, turn perfectly sane smart adults into possessive freaks? We get territorial about our friendships—at least internally—even though we’re well aware on a rational level that a woman can handle more than one close pal. The worst part about this jealousy is that we know it’s ridiculous. We know we shouldn’t be feeling this way, which just makes us feel worse, right? Maybe I can only speak for myself, but when I catch myself spiraling into this pit of friendship craziness, the worst part is realizing that I am too old for this. I am an adult, and shouldn’t be fighting the jealous instincts of a middle schooler.

You’ve been in this situation, yes? How did you handle it? Did you just behave until you snapped out of it, or did you have to go the confrontation route?

13 Comments

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13 responses to ““She’s My BFF!” “No, She’s My BFF!”

  1. Jon

    Yes! Love this, and I’ve been calling it Friend Rivalries in honor of my friend who has tons of them. I tried to flesh it out here, but there remains so much to be discussed!

    http://jonyangorg.blogspot.com/2011/02/shiny-happy-people.html

    (Also wanted to say how much I love your blog. Like a lot.)

  2. M

    As usual Rachel, you have brought up a very real craziness in friendship.
    My BFF of 30 years and I have long gotten past this but years ago, it was a fight to the death with her other BFF. My BFF was a couple years younger than me and also lived a town over so it was natural for her to make another BFF. I spent years trying to get rid of the other BFF and I did sneaky, terrible things that I’m not proud of in order to get that done. As it turns out, not only was the other BFF a nice girl, she was also very forgiving. I have to admit though, I do occasionaly get that pang of jealousy when I’m around her but I remind mysef that there is enough of mutual BFF to go around and she loves us both and nothing is going to change that.

  3. diana mack

    i ran into this where i was the old bff meeting the new bff. while i enjoyed swapping stories this woman would constantly reference activities etc that involved just the 2 of them or ask our bff about upcoming activities that involved the 2 of them. it made me not jealous, just really uncomfortable. i am very secure in my position as a bff and know she will always have my back…i certainlt, at the age of 46, feel the need to compete as to who is the #1 bff.

  4. If you like Chris O’Dowd, check out the IT Crowd. It’s amazeballs.

  5. Um. Well, the last time this happened with one of my friends, we were going to the movies with one of her high school friends. My friend was always pretty broke in college, so I usually spotted her. Doing this with old-BFF around turned into a sort of “I take care of her better” pissing contest… Ugh

    However, the old-BFF ended up screwing her over pretty soundly a few weeks later so I won….

  6. I usually try and behave until it blows over. I do not like confrontation. However, my senior year of college, I was going to be living in an on-campus apartment and was inviting one of my three bffs to live with me. She said that the condition was that her bff/roommate had to come with her….we’d all have our own rooms, so I was kind of like whatever.
    Well, it ended up being a horrible decision, but a sticky situation as it turned out that the two ended up dating and me becoming the odd one out.
    My friendship with bff dissipated and almost two years later we are only just beginning to talk and not nearly as much as we would have if nothing had happened. It was hard and dangerous and a tough time for me. But I think it was important to live through it…to know that even if things don’t always go as I want them to, I will survive and make it through.

  7. This actually happened in college when my BFF was having her twin sister move in. I was against this bc I knew the second the twin moved in, everything would change and we had just reached BFF level (all my other girlfriends had found boyfriends and were skipping class and work to be with those guys 24/7 leaving me with no one). I never said anything bc I knew it was irrational and I’d get over it – they were twins for goodness sake! Turns out, I became better friends with her twin and the original girl who had started out as my BFF and she became very jealous of our relationship. Thankfully I wasn’t involved in any of their confrontations over me. It became quite a sister fight that left me feeling a bit guilty.

  8. lawyerchik1

    I agree with SSS above – there ARE some women who sort of like being in the middle – they enjoy being “fought over,” and they tend to choose friends based on that jealousy dynamic as long as they stay in control of the situation. If the two who originally were fighting over one decided to become BFFs themselves and leave the original one out, it would get a little ugly!!

    That said, my sister used to live for that – I would make friends, and she would step in to “take over.” While we were younger (say, until about middle school), it was no big deal; however, she is 40-something years old and she still does it!!

  9. Layla

    Me too! I now recognize that it’s happening, and rational-Layla decides that the least destructive thing I can do is to just accept it. It’s not a good solution, but what other solutions are there?

    I usually think “OK, this new friend is better ‘friend’ material than me and I don’t know how to be a friend, so I must accept the fact that my old friend and my new friend will become closer to each other than they could ever be to me.”

    I haven’t quite got the hang dealing with sibling rivalry yet (when my friends like my sister better than me… or when I worry that my friends will start to like my sister better than me.)

  10. Pingback: Growing Our Separate Ways | MWF Seeking BFF

  11. Pingback: When No One Sees What You See | MWF Seeking BFF

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