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Self BFF: 7 Signs You're Your Own Best Friend

Being your own best friend makes all of your other relationships...better.

What About Your Friends?

If you've read between 3-5 of my friendship articles on this site before, you've probably seen me mention that it tickles me, whenever people speak of having multiple best friends. The word "best" speaks to someone being the most, above all else. So, while you can have many good friends, a best friend, by definition, is to stand heads above the rest.

That said, something that I'm a fan of is individuals who strive to be their own best friend. When you think about the fact that the word "best" is about putting something first and focusing what will prove to be most advantageous or successful, why wouldn't you want to make sure that you care about yourself enough that you are doing what is truly best for you? That you are completely and totally at peace with you? That you enjoy spending consistent and quality time—with you?

To me, being your own best friend doesn't mean that you don't need anyone else. It simply means that you're not needy for anyone else. You've got yourself, she's dope and because of that, everyone else is not a dire necessity, so much as a beautiful bonus. So, how can you know that you are your own BFF?

1. Your Favorite Company Is Your Own

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Some of us are extroverts. Some of us are ambiverts. Some of us are introverts. When it comes to this particular point, I'm pretty sure the ambiverts and introverts are immediately gonna be able to relate since we (I tend to lean towards the ambivert side of life) get a lot of the energy we need by seeking within. But even if you're someone who gets more of what you seek by being around other people (shout-out to the extroverts), if you are your own best friend, you still have (consistent) moments when you prefer to spend time alone.

See, while an extrovert enjoys other folks, when they are their own best friend, they aren't so needy that they don't know what to do with themselves if they aren't constantly in a crowd. When your favorite company is your own, you literally live for moments when you can read a book in your favorite chair, cook a full meal for yourself or take a weekend to unplug and do nothing but pamper yourself and chill. Going out to dinner by yourself isn't weird, or even uncomfortable, because you are so at peace in your own space that you don't care what others think about you sitting at a table alone. You wanted something to eat, so you went to get it. No one else needed to accompany you. In fact, the thought didn't even cross your mind. That's just how much you dig yourself.

2. You Don’t Need the World to Help You Make a Decision

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I know someone who used to constantly find themselves in a pattern of reckless decision-making. When I mentioned to them that they might want to consider seeing a therapist, they flippantly and arrogantly said, "I counsel myself." Hmph. Within that response, therein lies the problem, my friend. Proverbs 12:15(NKJV) says, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise." So yes, there is indeed wisdom and maturity that comes with knowing that sometimes, getting an outside-looking-in perspective on things (from healthy, stable and trustworthy individuals) can help you to make a less narrow-minded choice.

Keeping this in mind, think about someone who you consider to be a really good friend of yours. I would assume that one of the qualities they hold is you are able to trust them—not kinda-sorta but to the utmost. Well, if you are your own best friend, the person you should have the most confidence in is yourself. You trust your principles. You trust your values. You trust your focus. To a certain degree, you even trust your gut (check out "When You Should Trust Your Gut & When You Shouldn't"). So, this means that you are able to have a level of security and confidence when it comes to making the choices that are right and best for you.

You don't need to always call your mama or your BFF. And, if you do and they don't agree with you, you can decipher when you should allow their opinion to weigh in on your choices or not. You know you, better than anyone. This means that deciding what's best for your life is something that, more times than not, you are able to figure out, all on your own. Know what else? You can also be at peace with your conclusions, even if you're the only one who agrees with them. Not because you're being rebellious or going out of a way to prove your independence (that's another article for another time). It's simply because you know it's OK to make decisions that not everyone will like or understand. And so…you do.

3. You Have a Healthy Sense of Self

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I've shared before that something my 40s have consisted of is being intentional about knowing the difference between what is "Shellie" as it relates to a lot the childhood and adolescent trauma that I experienced vs. who I am once a lot of the trauma has been resolved and healed. I call it "Shellie vs. PTSD Shellie". One thing that Shellie is gonna die being is a direct person. Full stop. Something that is fading, because PTSD Shellie is becoming less and less of an issue, is the "inner tick" to want to try and control everything—and sometimes, everyone. This example is why I think it's so important to know the fine-line-difference between self-esteem and having a healthy sense of self. While, for the most part, self-esteem is about respecting and valuing yourself, I like how a writer by the name Antoinetta Vogels said this about what it means to have a healthy sense of self:

"A Sense of Self is a prerequisite for self-esteem but not the same. If you can't really sense your Self, if you are not aware that you are your own person, if you are not home in your own body and being, it is impossible to have any esteem of your Self. Your Self is not sensed so how could you esteem it. To be present to yourself implies paying attention to yourself, listening to your body and respond to your emotional and psychological needs."

I used to spend a lot of time, just assuming that how I am is how I was born to be. But Antoinetta is exactly right; the more I listened to my conscience, my health and, to a certain extent, my feelings, the more I was able to figure out who I am—not who my parents tried to make me be, what denomination I grew up in tried to brainwash me to be or even when the people around me tried to influence me to be. A healthy sense of self is about knowing you and then figuring out what is best for you. The more you put that into practice, the more you're able to start developing a higher sense of self-esteem that will lead you into becoming your own best friend as a direct result.

4. You’ve Got Your Own Back. No Matter What.

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Yeeeeeh. Some of y'all don't wanna talk about how the Good Book says that if the world loves everything you do, spiritually, that's a red flag (John 15:19). Basically, what that means is if you stand for biblical standards, a lot of folks are gonna have a real problem with that and try and "cancel" you for it. But even beyond the Bible, a wise person once said, "If everyone likes you, you have a serious problem." What this speaks to is, if everyone is on board with you, all the time, either they don't know you very well or some parts of you are disingenuous. Why? Because it's impossible for every single person to like every other individual on the planet. Not all personalities mesh. Not everyone shares the same perspectives or values. Personal convictions alone can cause folks to be like, "Yeah, I'm good on you." Shoot, even a throwback article from Huffington Post once said that if more than 85 percent of people in your world like you, something is "off" (interesting, right?).

That's why I thought that this was also a very valid point to bring up when it comes to indicators that you truly are your own best friend. When you know you, understand you, respect you and love and like yourself, you don't find yourself compromising your standards or succumbing to pressure—whether online or off—just to get more people to "like you".

If it gets to the point and place where you've got to stand alone on some things, so be it. Things might get a little lonely at times, but you won't be devastated nor will you betray yourself. You're your own best friend, so you're in good company, regardless.

5. You Are Self-Compassionate

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In the article, "What Loving Yourself Actually Looks Like", something that I actually touched on was self-compassion. But for the sake of this particular article, let's look a bit deeper into what it means to have this particular quality. Truth is, compassion is probably one of the most misused words around. The reason why I say that is because, while a lot of people profess to be a compassionate person, it's not the kind of word that is lip service-based only. Compassionate folks don't just see suffering and "awh" it or retweet it and then go about their day. They are individuals who notice that someone is in need and then do what they can to bring relief.

So, when you're self-compassionate, this point applies to how you address your own struggles, mistakes and pain. You don't wallow. You are intentional about breaking unhealthy patterns. You take full responsibility for the roles you played in your hurt. And yes, when you do see where you made less-than-the best choices, you don't beat yourself up. You simply look for ways to do and be better. A self-compassionate individual is extremely proactive about suffering less and thriving more. If you consider yourself to be this kind of person, you are someone who is very good to yourself. Trust me.

6. You Do Things with Your Sanity, Well-Being and Future in Mind

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Good lookin' out, fam. This is typically something that we tell someone who really looked out for us, right? When it comes to our good friends, they have a tendency to do that often. Well, when you're your own best friend, you can usually smile at your decisions, on a daily basis, because you tend to not make impulsive choices, you learn from the past and you also observe what others have done so that you don't have to go through any unnecessary drama. I can definitely raise my hand in this class and say that since I've become my own best friend, if there is a person, place, thing or idea that is showing earlier signs of jeopardizing my inner tranquility, holistic health or even my future plans, they or it has to remain at a safe distance.

Did you peep how I also said "idea"? One day, I'll pen a piece on how we've got to discipline ourselves to not feed every idea that comes into our minds or is presented into our space. I have learned—the hard way, I might add—that the moment something comes into my psyche that my mind, body and spirit are not all in agreement with, it's usually best to leave that thing alone. It's one of the best ways I've been a friend to myself. It has been a blessing times a billion.

7. You Are a Good Friend to Others As a Direct Result

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This one is a great one to end this with. People in my world know that I don't use the word "friend" loosely. Not by a long shot (check out "10 Things You Should Absolutely Expect From Your Friendships" and "Allow These Things To Happen Before Calling Someone 'Friend'"). For one thing, there is a lot of space between "friend" and "enemy" and so it's cool to have some folks be close acquaintances or even just cool people. And second, I know what I expect as well as bring to the table when it comes to my friendships. The bar ain't low and so, yeah, I am careful with the use of that word. But it's interesting that, the more I became my own friend, the better I was at selecting friends—and at being a good friend to them in return. Matter of fact, once I got to a point and place of being my own best friend, the quality of my friendships rose immensely. Things are happy, peace-filled and very settled now. And, because I'm proactive about treating myself well and right, I strive to put the same type of intention into my friendships with others too.

Without a doubt, there are other signs that you're your own best friend. But I believe that if you can nod your head to everything on this list, the others aren't necessary. Remember, life is designed for us to have friendships. All of those can be so much richer when your best friend is actually—you.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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