#007: What Everyone Needs to Know About Guilt in the BFF Business [Podcast]


She held half of the BFF heart necklace in her hand. The other half belong to Julie. Julie hadn’t called in over 7 years and the last time she did she had 5 minutes to chat. She wants to rid her life of the BFF necklace, but the guilt is too great. What if Julie calls? What if Julie stops by some day and reminisces about the good old days and the day she gave the BFF necklace? Then her thoughts turned to guilt. She hadn’t called Julie. She hadn’t sent a birthday card in years. More guilt.

You can free from BFF Guilt!

together forever

The BFF Concept is Destructive

I (Doug) will try to be subtle about my feeling of the label “BFF’s”. I HATE them. The idea: “once a best friend, always a best friend,” can give us a warm feeling of friendship security, yet the reality is that it does more to create guilt, and little to nothing to keep people friends.

Just to clarify: I LOVE the concept of a Remarkable Friend. What is the difference between a Remarkable Friend and a Best Friend? The very word Best is exclusionary. I have found words like “Best,” “Favorite,” and “Greatest,” often do more harm than good.

Having ONE friend that sticks super close is what I advocate 100%. What I am not advocating is that this friend must be there for FOREVER. Why?

People Change, You Change

You are going to change. You were not the same person at age 18 as you will be at age 30. You get married. You get a job. Children come along. You move to a new city. You get a divorce. These life events will, and do change you. Plus you are changing internally. Hopefully, you are growing. As you grow, so are other people.

50% of Your Friends Change

Research says we lose 50% of our friends every 7 years. This means it is quite natural that people you were close to 7 years ago are no longer close. It doesn’t mean we have to like it. It simply means it happens. We move, they move. We change, they change.

What about you and your guilt?

6 helps to get rid of BFF Guilt

  1. Acknowledge you or they have moved on. You may still be friends at some level. This is OKAY and healthy.
  2. If they have moved on from the BFF stage and you are hurt by it, please forgive them—free them and yourself. One way to forgive is to set up two chairs facing each other. You sit in one and imagine them in the other one. Tell them (the chair) that you forgive them. It is likely that you will need to do this more than once. This frees YOU from any unresolved bitterness or hurt.
  3. Realize that it is extremely rare for anyone to remain a BFF from teen years to old age. In our transient lifestyle, it is very rare.
  4. If you feel guilty about not upholding the friendship, ask “why?” Then ask yourself why again 4 times. There is a possibility that you have hurt them, and this is a good time to apologize and put closure to that phase of friendship. Free them and yourself! Or, maybe the guilt is self-induced because there has been no closure. Give yourself permission to move on.
  5. BFFs can become “old friends”. An old friend is a great relationship to have. You can relive the college days when you connect. They might become a Great friend again. They might not.
  6. Start making new friends. Often times, we feel guilt or resentment because we assume that the other person has made many amazing friends and left you feeling lonely. The reality is that most people feel lonely.

Link to Oprahs article about friendship

Question:  What causes BFFs to decline in your opinion or experience?


  1. Thanks Doug and Andrea! Good stuff. Although it would be great if we still lived in the same city (let alone country!), each time we are able to visit, there’s nothing but joy and encouragement. I’m enjoying our “old friends” stage. Thanks for the affirmation that this is still a great type of friendship to have. Even though we see each other only once every 2 years, your family continues to be a huge blessing!

    • Mark, it was incredibly good to visit with your family. James and I have gotten into ping pong, since you left. When you visit, we hope to finally beat your socks off. Thanks for being a great old friend. If you ever have a question about friendship, please send it. We want to bless others by answering their questions.

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