Lost Without You: A Reflection on Teenage Friendships / a picture of two preteens laughing

Lost Without You

Melissa Gosselin

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you’re all doing well. In honor of ButterTree’s BFF Blanket, I wanted to talk about the friendships that help us through moments of change. I've always thought that the most crucial time to have a good friend is in your teenage years — the stage in life when you start forming your adult personality. 

Seventh grade was a difficult time for me — it was the first time I ever wondered about my place in the world. I’d just left the “cute kid” stage and was entering an awkward phase; I was studying in a French school even though English is my first language. And language barriers aside, seventh grade was when I felt like I didn’t have words for my experiences in general — for feeling uncomfortable in my own skin or for the anxiety around not fitting in. 

I have vivid memories of my best friend, Maggie. The first time I noticed her, I was waiting in line behind her, waiting to talk to our Geography teacher, and I overheard a bit of their conversation. I noticed that she, like me, had a bit of an English accent when she spoke French; that she had titian hair and an innocence that made her stand out amongst the twelve-year-olds who already looked sixteen. 

Maggie and I eventually ended up in the same group for a project — we formed a little gang with three other girls. I remember the first time she invited me for a sleepover . . . it was then that I realized we had a lot of the same interests. We liked reading medieval fiction, analyzing characters in books and films, and of course . . . writing. For the first time, I didn't have to hide those parts of myself. 

Maggie and I became inseparable. We sat next to each other in every class, spent all our recesses on the same window sill, and eventually drifted away from our girl group. I actually liked going to school once she and I started doing our own thing . . . we didn't have to pretend to be other people anymore and we were no longer caught up in any drama. But when Maggie was absent, my whole experience would change; I felt unmoored in a sea of chaos and often resorted to losing myself in a book. It was then I would realize how important she was — what a difference she made in my life.

So I don’t know what I would have done if Maggie hadn’t befriended me at that pivotal time . . . Maybe I would have had to change my interests and personality, maybe I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. For me, it’s no exaggeration to say I would have been lost without her. 

Who was your best friend as a teenager? Are they still your friends today? Who would you be lost without? Let me know in the comments below!

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