Sometimes, girls like us feel invisible.
Like no one can see us for who we really are. And maybe no one even cares. We desire close friendships where our true self is genuinely appreciated. We search and search, but at some point, we’ve searched for so long that we’ve begun to give up hope, to believe that we are meant to be alone forever.
The friendships that we have had in the past were all fun and good, but they weren’t quite what we were looking for. They weren’t quite raw enough. They left us believing that we don’t really have anyone to count on. Not really. No one who will be there through thick and thin. No one who will stick around when the sh*t gets real.
Naturally, we think it’s us. We feel like we are unlikeable. Unworthy of friendship and alone. But I am here to declare that we are not alone, ever. And we are worthy of any relationship that we could ever dream of. Our tribe is out there. Maybe we are just looking in the wrong places. Maybe we need to start here, right here, with ourselves.
When I was younger, having a close girlfriend was very important to me. I was someone who wanted to have that best friend relationship that was seen in the movies. Someone kind of like a soulmate. And I wanted a girlfriend who would feel the same way about me. Someone who would always be number one in my eyes, and I would always be number one in hers.
But instead, for some reason, it always felt like a competition. Not with my best friend of the moment, but with the world surrounding us. I needed to hear that I was this girl’s closest friend and always would be. Obviously, this ended in disappointment, because anytime I would meet a girl who I really connected with, I would get attached—quickly.
I wanted her to be this idea of a best friend that I had in my head. And I wanted her to choose me over everyone else. This never happened, of course, because, unlike me, these girls probably had a different idea of what friendship meant to them, and they also had an easier time connecting with other girls, so they were constantly making new friends and reconnecting with their old ones.
Then the jealousy would kick in, and I would pull back. I would decline invites, I would stop talking to them as much. I would withdraw into myself so far that they couldn’t even find me when they wanted to.
I’d always convince myself that I must not have been cool enough or interesting enough. Everyone would always choose someone else to hang out with over me, so that was the only explanation I could fathom. It was me: I was weird. And, obviously, this girl wasn’t the best friend I was searching for. So, I would keep looking.
Inevitably, I’d be disappointed, because the view I had of friendship was too romanticized. It took me years to realize that this super close friendship I had imagined in my head didn’t exist—at least not for me. I couldn’t expect a single person to fulfill all my needs and check off all the items on my best friend checklist. That girl wasn’t real!
The girl I was looking for was me.
When I met my boyfriend, he checked a lot of those best friend boxes himself. He was there for me when I needed him to be. We laughed together, shared our dreams, and he’d hold me when I’d cry. We could have fun just sitting around doing nothing, and he encouraged me to always pursue the things that made me happy.
He became the best friend that I never had. He filled a huge part of my heart. Yet, here I was, six years later, still in this wonderful committed relationship, and still believing that I was flawed because I had no close girlfriends. I thought I was missing something. I wanted a tribe. But this cycle of meeting girls, connecting for a little, and then withdrawing back into myself persisted. And it was exhausting.
Then, something happened: someone said something to me that made me rethink everything. I was venting to a girl I’ve talked to a few times, but never actually met in person. We were virtual pen pals—writing to each other—opening up and sharing our secrets.
I was explaining my worry over the fact that I had no close girlfriends. I told her that I was worried it was because I was unlikeable. That it was my fault somehow. Then she said something that I will never forget: she said, “You and I—we are lone wolves, and our magic comes from staying separated for a long time.”
After that, something clicked. How had I never realized this before? I had always thought of myself as someone who was very codependent—needy. A girl who fed off of the qualities of others because she wasn’t brave enough to exhibit them herself. A girl who couldn’t face the world on her own, and who needed a shield: someone who was cooler and funnier and prettier, who could take center stage, because I was too afraid of people seeing me.
But things have changed.
I’m not that girl anymore. I am still scared more often than I would like to be, but I am also braver than I ever thought I could be. I am strong and capable. Someone who can totally take care of herself—someone worth seeing.
So, yes, it’s true: I am a lone wolf. Maybe I don’t need a tribe; maybe everything I need is inside of me. I have my family and a few friends who come in and out of my life when it’s necessary or convenient for them or for me, like when I want someone to go vent to or to have a fun night with.
I have my boyfriend who is my absolute world and keeps me strong and determined to be myself and to live my life for me and my dreams. And I have my boyfriend’s group of wonderful friends who have taken me in as their own for lots of fun and great conversations and so many laughs.
Don’t get me wrong. I love all of the people in my life, and I am so grateful for each and every one of them and the impact they have had on my heart. But as for a tribe? Or close girlfriends? A relationship that feels almost spiritual in a way? Maybe I will never have that. And maybe that’s okay—maybe I’m not meant to.
I’ve naturally drawn away from them my entire life. So why have I continued to pursue something that the universe has always told me I don’t need? Why have I never realized that I am the only person who checks off every single item on my best friend checklist?
I always feel most alive, most inspired, most loved, and most like myself when I am alone. There is no reason that I can’t be my own best friend. There is no reason that I can’t be my own tribe. And it’s not sad or lonely—it’s powerful and beautiful. I am my own best friend, and I could not wish for anything more.
Maybe one day I will have a real tribe for the right reasons. But for now, the howl of this lone wolf, the music of my own soul, is enough to keep me satisfied—and I have to admit, I am great company.
When we begin to search for true friends and we start wondering where our tribe is, we’re already on our way. We have no need to worry, there is nothing wrong with us, we’re not weird or uncool or uninteresting—we are wonderful. Each one of us is an entire universe wrapped up into a beautiful body.
We are expanding and growing and brewing into the people we are supposed to be. And we have so many soulmates right inside of us! We just need to look deeper. We have to find the tribe within ourselves first and forget finding the herd. We must do more of the things that we want to do and less of the things we think other people want to see. The people who are moved by us and our loud, authentic truth will come into our lives on their own.
We need to stop searching and just keep being real—just keep being ourselves. And above all, we need to know that we are enough. I am enough. You are enough. We are all enough. And we are so loved. Each and every one of us.
Author: Nicole Dunlap
Image: Author’s Own/Pixabay
Editor: Taia Butler