I watched 27 Dresses the other night and I was struck by how jealous I was. The storyline is that the main character, Jane, is so selfless that she lives her whole life for other people and forgets to live her own. It is supposed to be this sad "feel sorry for her" kind of story as she has had to be a bridesmaid 27 times.
But I didn't feel sorry for her at all. I wanted to be her. There are 27 people that thought she was a good enough friend they wanted her in their weddings - the most important day in their lives. There are 27 people who honored her by choosing her to stand beside them. The way they painted this character is one that selflessly helped out in any way she can, going above and beyond.
I have been a bridesmaid once. Just once. Sure, I am a few years younger than her, and I will probably be in at least 3 more (2 sisters and another friend). But that's it. I suppose 4 is enough. I should be happy that there are at least 4 people in my life who want to bestow their highest honor on me. But I can't help but wonder why there haven't been more.
My friend Darcie has been in at least a dozen already, including my own. My husband has been in at least half a dozen. What is it about their personality, their friendships, their relationships that makes them more wedding party worthy than I am?
To me, this is more than a discussion about wearing a dress and standing on stage next to somebody. It's about friendships. Why is Darcie considered a better friend than I am? Is it because she is? Is she more sacrificial? Is she less self-involved? Is she less busy? Does she laugh at more jokes? Listen to more stories? Around more often? Why do more people consider her BFF worthy?
And more importantly, why do people consider me less BFF worthy? Is there something fundamentally wrong with the way I approach friendships? Sure, I have a couple BFFs - they were the ones standing next to me at my wedding. But do they have me? Would they choose me? Am I the one they go to when something good or bad happens in their lives? Do they tell me their secrets? Do they think about me randomly and wonder how my week is? Do they have pictures of me around? Do they cherish our memories? Do they make effort to contact me during the week just to chat? Am I on the list of people they'd call first when they get engaged, pregnant, a new job, etc? Am I #1 in their lives?
Perhaps I'm thinking too much about it and should be happy with the friendships that I have, and the level that they are. But a part of me wishes I could be a better friend; I could be a closer friend. Am I choosing wildly popular people who consider me a great friend, but have several great friends above me? Am I not allowing myself to get vulnerable with people, thus keeping them at a distance? Am I too downright selfish to be BFF material? Am I too needy and push people away?
Besides the one time I have been a bridesmaid, there was another time I was asked. I was thrilled. This would have been my first time as a bridesmaid, and I was honored that somebody chose me. But as a few months went by, apparently I wasn't a good enough friend and the bride told me I was no longer worthy to stand next to her at her wedding. I have never forgotten this moment. I was not good enough.
There have been other friends that I thought could have picked me, but they did not. I can't say I wasn't disappointed. I understand the decisions that go into a choice like this, that have less to do with friendship levels than one would think. But I can't help but look at other indicators of friendship, like phone calls, emails, visits, sharing secrets and being involved in their lives, and see that I am not their BFFs. Am I anybody's?
If there are only 2 people that jump up and say "Yes! Yes! You are mine!" should I be content with that? Or should I want 25 more to jump up and say "Mine too!!"? Is 27 a bit excessive anyway? I mean, after all, the term Best Friend Forever implies that there is only one. "This is THE best." Should I concentrate on the two that jump up? Should I make sure I am the best friend I possibly can be to them? Or should I figure out why there aren't tons more people willing to step up and say the same?
5 weeks ago