Am I Wearing Rose-Colored BFF Glasses? (And What Are BFF Glasses?)

I spend a lot of time on this blog bemoaning my lack of high-school style friendships. “I started this search wanting a BFF like I had in high school,” I find myself saying to book clubs all the time. “Where you hang out all day, then talk for three hours on the phone at night about what happened during your day, then repeat that routine all week. ”

And I really was lucky in high school. I had fantastic friends and I have little-to-no memory of getting in petty teenage fights with them that were motivated by jealousy and insecurity. (I’m not saying they didn’t happen, just that I don’t remember them. I do remember those fights from middle school.)

But lately I’ve been reading a lot of young adult books, and they’ve served to remind me how tough friendship can be in high school. How–as a teenager– if your friend beats you out for homecoming queen, you usually aren’t happy for her, you’re jealous. And how boys can so easily come between two best friends. And how the littlest disagreement can spiral into a massive blowup because you are 16 and your hormones are raging and you don’t always know how to properly address conflict before it balloons into World War 3.

As a teenager, you can fight with your bestie about spilling a secret or keeping a secret. She could be too needy, or too distant. She might flirt with your boyfriend, or totally ignore him. Every little thing  she does, and its opposite, can cause a fight. And everything you do, too.

At least, these are the reminders that my current batch of young adult novels are drilling into my brain. Because any YA book worth its salt will have BFF drama. That’s just High-School Stories 101. (See: All 142 Sweet Valley High books.)

It’s funny to me (funny weird, not funny ha-ha) that I’ve spent so many hours feeling wistful for a time that, back then, might have been filled with anxiety and uncertainty in its own right. And it’s plain old funny-sad that I’m just realizing this most basic of lessons (the grass is always greener!) two years later.

So I’m wondering, do you look back at high school (or grade school) friendships with nostalgia or horror? Do you miss the teenage friendship years, or do you give thanks every day to have moved past that stage?

19 Comments

Filed under The Search

19 responses to “Am I Wearing Rose-Colored BFF Glasses? (And What Are BFF Glasses?)

  1. Jen

    I look back on my high school soccer team buddies nostalgically, but there was definitely still unwarranted drama. But I really really really miss my college days – both the dorms when there was always a friend around to goof off with and then living with my best friends. I miss both being carefree, and having them always around and available for fun and support.

  2. Several Starry Nights

    I missed how easy it was to meet new people in high school and college. I look back and I wish I was a little more appreciative of how lucky I was to have to have so many friends, despite all the drama. As you get older, everyone get so wrapped up in work or family, that it can be hard to mingle with friends. I think if we knew how lucky we were to have our friends around all the time and that one day, things would change, then maybe we’d appreciate our friendships more than swimming in jealously & competition towards each other.

  3. Amanda A

    I didn’t have friends in high school. They were all horrible horrible people who grew up to be horrible horrible grown people.

  4. Anonymous

    I miss those days…I went from a house full of girls all day everyday to having a hard time finding someone to go to dinner with. I don’t recall a lot of drama between me and my friends, I think we saved all the drama for the boys.

  5. Sheila

    While you couldn’t pay me to go back to high school, I do value the friendships I made then and those that have lasted are the best. THOSE are the types of friends I wish I could find now…the people who really know me, want to know what makes me tick, and who share themselves with me without reservation. I’m finding that making friends as an adult is difficult because people are more guarded with how much they are willing to reveal. I would like to have a couple of local friends who really care and are willing to be open with me too. I think spending time together is what helps us really get to know each other but making the time for these conversations is a big problem. Being patient is about the best I can do at this point.

  6. Amy

    For me, high school was awkward. I had a few close friends and several good acquaintances. We had fun or were bored with minimal drama. I suppose the mix of males and females helped. For college I commuted and made no solid or lasting relationships. I lived at home until I got married at 24. Now at 38, I have a super awesome best friend who had a tumultuous childhood, moved far away for college and met a Bestie there whom she lived with, and moved to another city with for a time. I have heard many tales of their adventures together and I know I missed out on that sort of thing, even though my choices were right for me and I was happy. Now it seems its too late. We are adults with marriages and responsibilities that prevent us from spending that quality time together. We do what we can, but I’m sad I missed out on the fun and frolicky friendships of youth life between high school and marriage. Also maybe it’s an ideal that is only a pleasant dream in my head? We can’t even get a girl’s weekend together!

  7. My adult friendships have been far more meaningful to me than my high school friendships. As an adult, my friends are mainly people with whom I have connected through a shared interest or experience that is more than just being thrown together in a classroom based on our age.

  8. I’ve been out of highschool for more than 20 years and I am still trying to recreate that easy going friendship feeling – not having much success though. My memories of highschool friends are 99% wonderful. It seems like in the adult world, everyone is just too busy and living too diversly to have this same connection.

    • There are 2 of my BFFs that I’ve known since Jr. high over 40 years ago. We shared sleepovers, secrets, boyfriends, sororities, cheerleading and later on trips to Europe and weddings and babies.
      I am obviously in the minority, but it never ceases to amaze me when I hear someone say that they couldn’t wait to leave high school or wouldn’t relive it for all the money, etc.
      Being young, carefree mostly and pretty innocent and myopic unlike today’s teens, it was the happiest time of my life. I would relive it again with the emotional ups and downs in a NY second.
      I don’t think you wear rose-colored glasses, it was a rose-colored world for the luckiest of us. My oldest friends agree. Maybe we are in the 1% on this subject only.
      Thanks for the memories of this to lull me to sleep tonight.

  9. friendship is a love fragrance…I’ve read your book…I get it on my hands now…excellent…that’s remember my first book I published on 2001…in advance I will comment more…you write…you publish…and I feel you are a writer…long way

  10. I am SO thankful to have moved beyond the pettiness and short-sightedness of jr. high. (To this day, whenever I hear the song, “Crazy For You” by Madonna, my mind goes back to the glittering roller rink, where I really did think I would meet my future husband as we rolled around the rink holding hands and reveling in the pure romance of that song.) I recently read my old jr. high diary, and it went something like this:
    January: I hate _______!
    February: I can’t live without ______.
    March: I love _____, but she gets on my nerves SOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!
    April: I can’t believe I have to put up w/_______ for 2 more months!
    May: I’m really going to miss _______over the summer.
    June: I’m glad I don’t have to see ______’s stupid face for 3 months!

    Yeah, I’m REALLY glad those days are past.

  11. I would not choose to re-live my high school years, but I definitely feel nostalgic for the best-friendships of those days. I remember the drama and stresses of those relationships, but for the most part they were few and far between. I really miss just hanging out all the time, being able to talk about anything and everything without judgement, and having another person get you and all your quirks. Sure, there were some deceptions, but for the most part there was so much openness in those friendships. Maybe that comes from being a teenager and having your life ahead of you, the future full of promise and possibility. I moved to Toronto in July, and even though I’ve lived here for almost a year I haven’t really made any friends. Not easy when you’re 29 and painfully shy! Reading your blog and your readers’ comments gives me a boost🙂

  12. I have enjoyed immensely reading your blog. As a writer I know you will understand if I am absent from making comments for a couple of months. I have two books I’m writing and the push is on to get them finished…so with only 24 hours in the day, I am going to continue to read and like, but my comments will be limited to replies for those who comment on my blog…thanks for the grace.

    Be encouraged!

  13. Christina

    I am a little nostalgic for my grade school, high school and college days only because friendship was easier to find. There were plenty of people to meet and all that. Now that I am grown up, friendship is relegated to the people you meet at work or clubs you might belong to — assuming you can find time or the energy for the latter.

  14. Juliette

    This weekend my 12 year old daughter had her BEST friend over from mid-morning til 10:30pm at nite..( she had to leave cuz she had an early morning)…so the next day, I am checking my daughter’s texts..and lo and behold, her bestie (and neighbor) had been home about 10mins and they start texting for another hour! Reminds me of the movie ‘Stand by Me’..you never have friends like you do at 12!…

  15. nelli

    Interesting question…! High school did not have much drama for me, I had friends and lots of good times but none of those friendships have lasted. College was so different. I made a LOT of different types of friends and I miss them all deeply. I had a few close girlfriends but most of my bestie’s were guys. Hence v little drama!!! I loved hanging out with them. coffee, drinks, late night chats. I’m back in touch with a handful of them via FB but it’s not the same now that we all have kids and families. ugh…i’m getting all nostalgic now! Bit sad but good to know that I have precious, warm memories…..

  16. I moved around a lot growing up. In 7th grade (NJ) there were four of us – Holly, Jodi, Lisa and me. In 8th grade (CA) I was lucky again: Lael, Linda, Jen and me. In 9th grade (IL) it never happened again. I’m 50 now. I’m still in touch with Holly (Jodi and I were best friends for twenty years – our break up still haunts me.) I’m also still in touch with Linda and I reconnected with Lael today for the 2nd time in 35 years. I’m the one who makes all the effort. It’s received warmly on the other side, but I often wish someone would wonder what happened to me!

  17. Tina

    I give thanks. With one huge exception, most of the people I went to school with were idiots that made me feel highly inadequate for much of the time.
    I grew up in the UK where high school lasted for 7 years.

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