Dr. BFFL: Why A Day With Your Best Friend Is Better Than Therapy

by Lauren Martin

I’m a huge fan of therapy. The ability to confess your true thoughts and feelings to an unbiased third party is about as good as offloading gets. Therapy, however, like most remedies to cure one’s self, is expensive.

So what do those who don’t have the luxury of PhD graduates and mental health professionals do to get through those traumatizing and unsettling parts of life? Where does one go when nowhere else feels safe?

In my unprofessional opinion, the next best thing to do is spend a day with a best friend.

Not a good friend, not a close family member, but that one person in the world who knows you better than anyone. There’s no limit to the information they hold on you.

From what makes you tick to your repressed memories of your blocked childhood, this person has a thorough understanding of exactly who you are and what you’re going through.

So when you’ve had your heart broken, experienced a painful loss or are overcome by those overwhelming feelings of loneliness and anxiety, sometimes, even though you’d rather not see anyone, the best remedy is a healing day with a best friend.

But why is it so healing? What’s so soothing about a best friend?

Your best friend is the family member you can talk about sex and blowjobs with. The one you can actually be your most real self around.

Because, if we’re being honest, parents aren’t always the most comforting presence, especially when you’re still tiptoeing around what’s acceptable and what’s crossing the PG-13 line.

True friends are the ones who can make you forget about your worries without adding one more. There’s no stress to be any certain way, no pressure to charm them or wonder if you’re talking about yourself too much.

You won’t go home wondering if you made a bad impression or what your best friend thinks of you. With her, it’s almost like being alone without the loneliness.

Your best friend is a master of your mood

Your best friend knows how to broach things with you. She knows what’s going to turn you off and what’s going to get the best reaction.

She also isn't scared of a bad reaction. Like a sibling, she knows how to deal with you and knows a small fight is never the end.

She isn't afraid to get deep. She isn't intimidated or nervous about hitting a nerve.

While it may be uncomfortable, she loves you enough to wade through those heavy moments and awkward confessions.

Your best friend won’t charge you for minutes of silence

It’s expensive to go to a therapist and sit in silence. With a friend, however, there’s no such thing as a wasted minute or hour.

The beauty of true friendship is in the ability to be alone without feeling lonely.

It’s that rare occurrence when you’ve found someone you can really share the silence with. Whether there’s nothing left to talk about or you just can’t talk anymore, just their presence is enough to keep you off the edge.

Your best friend has a PhD in reading your mind

Your best friend is never trying to psychoanalyze you because, well, she doesn't need to.

She knows you better than anyone, including your own family. She knows when you’re upset without you having to say a word. She knows with looks, body language and general energy.

She knows when you’re happy and when to keep pushing. She knows what’s really bothering you and what’s just a cover. She knows when "fine" is never fine and when two glasses of Merlot means something is up.

She also knows more about you than you probably know about yourself.

Anything you’ve done, your best friend has done worse

There’s a huge difference between talking to a 40-something-year-old woman and your 20-something-year-old best friend about the guy who slept with you then never called again.

While therapists may be better educated on the word “empathy,” there’s nothing like talking to someone who you know has gone through the same thing.

Best friends are best for those empathetic moments -- when you just need someone to admit a story more embarrassing, shameful and scarring than yours.

Because what’s a best friend if she isn't trying to embarrass herself for the sake of a laugh?

Your best friend can prescribe those remedies doctors can't

While your therapist may not recommend drowning your sorrows in cheap wine, your best friend is the first to bring it and the first to finish it with you.

While it may not be the most clinical option, sometimes the only way to get through a rough night is to do the thing that's worse for you.

Your best friend is the one who can prescribe those much-needed remedies a doctor just can't.