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  • Writer's pictureFootsteps Counseling

Your Top 5: Thoughts on Competitive Friendship

It's 2007, and you just got home from middle school. You grab an Oreo Cakester and load up Myspace to find that two of your friends have changed their Top 5, and you're not in it.

Cue the tears.

You may be thinking,

Myspace ended over a decade ago. What's the point?

Myspace did end, but competitive friendship did not.

As a grown human, I can automatically think of the 3-5 humans I would call for either a celebration or a crisis. But the thing is, I would not call every friend for the same type of problem.

I won't call my oldest friend that lives 8 hours away when I need someone to pick my son up from school.

I won't call my newest friend to talk about how I saw my middle school crush who is significantly less hot on social media.

I don't call my friend who lives 5 hours away to take me to the airport.

And I don't call my childless friend to commiserate on what an a$$hat my toddler was at bedtime.

It's hard to hear- but there is not single friend or person in my life that can meet every emotional, practical, or personality need that I have.

So imagine for a second that I was supposed to line them all up and identify who is most important? Or that every time there was a disagreement my Top 5 got rearranged and broadcasted to the world (looking at you, Myspace).

For starters, that's shitty. But practically- that means I don't get my needs met and a bunch of people get their feelings hurt.

Recently, I sat with a client and processed the impact of not being chosen as Maid of Honor by their best friend. From the client's point of view, I can see how this brings up a host of questions:

Are we not as good of friends as I thought we were?

Do I care about her more than she cares about me?

Does she think I wouldn't do the job well?

I always thought she would be my MOH, now this feels weird.

Modern marriage ceremonies often put grown adults in the position of having to rank their friendships. Bride/Groom/Marriage parties blatantly say to the world: This is who I care about most.

And for the Bride/Groom/Marriage partner, it often looks like this:

My sister will be pissed if I don't choose her.

Do I choose my closest friend or the one that's great at organization?

Do I choose my oldest friend or the one I talk to every day?

Do I choose the person that chose me for their wedding?

Whose feelings am I going to hurt less?

From both sides of the coin, it's a fucking nightmare.

And yet most of us do it.

We want to spend "the happiest day of our lives" surrounded by loved ones.

Bridesmaid whispering in Bride's ear.
Photo Evidence: My own 2015 wedding.

So who makes it competitive? How do we stop the madness?

The most infuriating answer is: It's not personal. All these questions and considerations take a lot of soul searching, and every engaged individual has to come to their own peace about what matters. Not being chosen as a key member of a wedding ceremony doesn't necessarily mean anything.

Which is why, in my incredibly biased opinion, maybe we shouldn't do the choosing at all.

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Aug 12, 2023
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

So relatable

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