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“I’ve been best friends with the same person for years, but recently they’ve been spending lots of time with someone else. I don’t think I’m my best friend’s best friend anymore, and I feel lonely. Is this normal? What should I do about it?”
Discovering that your best friend is close to someone else or that they don’t consider you their best friend can be upsetting. But it doesn’t have to be the end of your friendship, and it doesn’t mean that your friend doesn’t like or value you. In this article, you’ll learn what to do if your friend has another friend and you’re feeling left out or jealous.
If your best friend chooses to spend all or most of their time with someone else, you can’t stop them. But they are more likely to keep investing in your friendship if you are a good friend who is fun to be around. Positive people tend to have more friends, and their friendships tend to be stronger.
- Try a fun new activity or sport together
- Make an effort to have deeper conversations with your friend; sometimes, we assume we already know everything about our friend and begin taking them for granted, which can make the friendship become stale.
- Learn a new skill together
- Plan a trip or special outing to make new memories
- Schedule a regular hangout time so you know that you’ll see your friend regularly. For example, you could sign up for a weekly workout class together and then grab a drink afterward.
If you feel that you are losing your best friend, you might be tempted to call, message, or see them much more than usual. But this kind of behavior might make your friend feel smothered. If you are prone to clinginess, see our guide on how not to be clingy with friends.
If you don’t already know your best friend’s other best friend, try hanging out with them both if they’re open to the idea.
There are several benefits of this approach:
- Your best friend’s new friend could become your new friend too, and the three of you could hang out together.
- Your best friend will be happy if they see that their two closest friends can get along.
- Your best friend will respect you for making a good faith effort to get along with their other best friend.
- You’ll see that the other person is not perfect, which might make them seem less of a threat to the bond you have with your best friend.
You could make a general suggestion that the three of you should hang out.
- “It sounds like [other friend] is really cool! I’d like to meet them sometime.”
- “I’d love to meet [other friend], they sound interesting!”
If your best friend seems enthusiastic, you could offer a more direct invitation.
- “I was thinking we could see a movie this weekend. Maybe [other friend’s name] would like to come too?”
- “It sounds like [other friend] likes being outdoors. Maybe we could all go for a hike next Sunday?”
Don’t try to force a friendship if you don’t click with your best friend’s other friend, but give them a chance.
If you have several friends who you like and enjoy spending time with, you may not feel so threatened or worried when your best friend has another best friend. Try not to build your social life around a single person, even if they are a very close friend.
These guides may help you expand your social circle and get closer to people you already know:
It’s not wrong to feel jealous, and friendship jealousy is common. Jealousy is a sign that you are worried about losing a friendship that means a lot to you. You might be jealous of your best friend having other friends because you’re afraid that they will choose to spend time with them rather than you.
However, although jealousy is common, it may help to have a frank conversation about your feelings if you’re finding it hard to act normally around your friend.
Your friend may be relieved to know why you’ve been behaving differently, and they will probably be happy to reassure you that your friendship is still important to them.
Be honest, but be careful to make it clear that you are responsible for your own emotions. Do not ask your friend to give up their new friendship because this is controlling and toxic behavior.
For example, you could say:
“I admit that I’ve been feeling a bit jealous of your friendship with [new friend’s name] recently. I’m working on it, and I know you haven’t done anything wrong. It’s awkward, but I think it’s best that I’m honest with you because I know I’ve been acting distant lately.”
Do not get into the habit of asking for reassurance because this will make you come across as needy and clingy. It’s fine to talk openly about your feelings, but it’s up to you to manage your jealousy.
It’s healthy and normal to get different things from different friendships. Just because your friend has other friends doesn’t mean they don’t value you.
For example, let’s say you and your best friend both love classic movies and have a similar sense of humor, plus you have lots of shared memories. But you are interested in political issues, and your friend isn’t. It would be natural for you to find friends who would be happy to talk about politics. In the same way, it’s normal for your friend to have multiple friendships that fill different needs.
If you have unrealistic or unhealthy ideas about what your friendships should be like, you may be easily hurt when they don’t live up to your expectations.
It can help to remember that:
- It’s normal for best friends to grow apart over the years for various reasons. For example, you may move to a new city or adopt a very different lifestyle. You may reconnect in the future if, for example, you live in the same area again. Try to be patient. One day, you may be close friends again.
- Some people like to have several close or “best” friends. It doesn’t mean they value one best friend over another.
- It’s OK to have a best friend who doesn’t consider you their best friend in return. This can happen for various reasons. For example, you may be an introvert with a smaller social circle than your best friend, and you might invest more deeply in your friendships. Or your best friend might not feel the need to label any of their friends as their “best friend.”
You cannot control what your best friend does or who they spend time with. Instead of trying to undermine their new friendship, focus on enjoying your best friend’s company. Your friend will probably resent you if they realize you are trying to get in the way of their new friendship.
If you feel you’ve grown apart from your best friend and they spend a lot of time with someone else, they may no longer see you as their best friend. You may hear from other people that they’ve grown close to someone else. You may also realize that you are no longer first to know your friend’s news.
If you have fallen out with your friend, reach out to them. If you don’t already know, find out why they are upset. Apologize and make amends if necessary. If you have drifted apart, send them a message letting them know you’ve missed them. Invite them to hang out and catch up on each other’s lives.
Acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself time to grieve the friendship. Try to be thankful for the good times you had together. Focus on meeting new people and growing your social circle. If you feel very low or depressed, talk to a trusted friend or therapist.
We recommend BetterHelp for online therapy, since they offer unlimited messaging and a weekly session, and is much cheaper than going to an actual therapist's office. They are also cheaper than Talkspace for what you get. You can learn more about BetterHelp here.
Yes. You can have 2 or more best friends who are equally as important or special to you. You don’t have to pick one friend who is closer to you than the rest. If your friend has another best friend, it doesn’t mean they like or value you any less.