If you have more than one friend, there's a good chance there is someone in your circle without one true bestie. We're everywhere: seated nowhere near the head table at your wedding, arriving solo to girls' nights out, and always there for you when you need someone to fill in as a best friend understudy. There are drawbacks and silver linings to being a best friendship free agent. Here are a few things you should know about your bestie-less friends:
1. We are not friendless.
We usually have a lot of friends, actually!
2. We are generally fine—really!—with not having a best friend.
Exclusive, monogamous friendships simply aren't for everyone. Some people are just better off with a little breathing room from even their closest friends. Maybe it's just me, but over the years, I've found that the more intimate a relationship, the more pressure there is to see eye-to-eye. In casual friendships, there's more room to respect each other's differences, and it's easier for minor slights to blow over without turning nuclear.
3. Just because we're not your #1 doesn't mean we won't keep your secrets.
Even if we're not the Tina Fey to your Amy Poehler, we still have loyalty to our close friends, and you can trust us just as much you would a bestie. We won't date your exes (and please don't date ours!), and all of your secrets are safe with us.
4. If we're not married or in a serious relationship, our emergency contact is probably our mom.
Related: If you learn that one of your not-best friends is planning on having her wisdom teeth out or ended up in the ER after accidentally dropping a pot of boiling water on her bare feet, make sure she's got someone to pick her up. She might not!
5. People without a best friend are often introverted.
We don't always need, or even necessarily want, a partner in crime. We are more than happy going to a movie or dinner alone once in a while, but we'll just as happily take your extra concert ticket or room in your summer rental house. And if we don't respond to your invites right away, don't take it personally! It's not you, it's us.
6. We are really good listeners.
Having a best friend to finish your sentences is great, but people who don't know you like the back of their hand can offer a more curious ear and maybe some fresh perspective.
7. And we're really good at giving advice.
Not having a regular crisis manager at the ready means we've learned to put out our own fires from time to time—and we can probably give you some great advice when it feels like your life is falling apart.
8. But we might not have someone always available to share details of our lives and discuss problems right as they come up.
We love to catch up with our close friends, either in a group or one-on-one, and chat about life decisions or little dramas that might be bugging us. We may be hesitant to extend the invitation first though—because if you're not our BFF, it's easy to assume you've got other priorities. If you know one of your friends is bestieless, scheduling regular meet-ups, even just once a month, gives us a much-needed chance to gossip or celebrate an accomplishment.
9. We like that we're free to make new close friends without any guilt or pressure.
Not having one best friend means that we never have to worry about hurting anyone's feelings if we want to hang out with someone new. In fact, since we don't have a guaranteed partner in crime, we're probably more open to new friendships than someone with an established BFF. It's a similar perk to being single.
10. Not having a best friend can make romantic relationships harder.
Maybe we just confide a little too much in our partners about things that are usually discussed between girlfriends, or take him shopping when a gal pal would be a more suitable companion. Or maybe it can be more serious than that: Without a regular outlet, it can be easy to fall into an unhealthy relationship dynamic. So if you want to be a good friend, even if you're not a best friend, ask questions about our relationship to make sure we're happy and being treated the way you'd want any friend to be.
11. We might consider you our closest friend, even if it's never made BFF-necklace-level official.
If a close friend of yours doesn't have an established lifelong bestie, it's possible that she, at some point, has or will consider you her "best" friend, even if you're already spoken for in that department. How many times did Carrie Bradshaw call Miranda her best friend, even though Charlotte obviously considered Carrie hers? Odds are she doesn't mind at all if this closeness is not reciprocated, as long as you show up for her when she needs a good pal.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.