I’m not a fan of the term “best friend.” The funny thing is, I’m not entirely sure why. Friends mean a lot to me, and I don’t take friendship lightly. I guess my biggest problem with the term is its implied singularity.
If you’re lucky, and I am, you have more than one friend. To pronounce one of them to be your best friend sort of implies the others aren’t as important. That just seems wrong to me.
Real, true friendship is a mutual thing. It evolves over time. I mean, it takes time to really get to know a person. To understand the way they think, the way they react to situations, their likes and dislikes, how they carry themselves, the way they treat other people, their sense of humor, etc. It also takes time to figure out if you’re compatible. If you actually like spending time with that person. If they value your friendship the same way you value their friendship.
Making friends is like dating in a lot of ways. You meet someone you like, for one reason or another, and you spend time getting to know them. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. When it does work out, it’s a mutually beneficial thing.
I get really weirded-out when someone I barely know says I’m their best friend. Or the best friend they ever had. It stresses me out. It should be flattering, I know, but I find it very uncomfortable. Like all of a sudden I’m being held to a higher standard. It’s especially stressful when the feeling isn’t mutual. I start feeling guilty that I don’t like the person as much as they like me, for whatever reason. And all of a sudden it becomes work. It’s easy to overlook flaws in people, or a few things you don’t like about a person, but when there are a number of things you don’t like, or few things you have in common, why would you even want to be friends?
Often it’s time and previous shared experiences that bind people together. I’ll be going on an annual girlfriend getaway next weekend with two women I’ve known for around 40 years. We all have very different lives, different interests, etc. Heck, we don’t even live in the same state anymore. But we all have a lot in common, too, and we’ve been through a lot together. I can’t imagine life without either of them even if we do only see each other a few times a year.
I have a couple of other friends I’ve known for a very long time, too. I see them less often, but we have history together. I value their friendships as well.
I’ve known Brad since I was about 15. We met in high school.
Diana and I have been friends since about second grade. So, over 40 years. (Wow, I’m getting old.)
There are others I have known for less time, but they still mean a lot to me.
Tammy, Annelies, Heather, and I used to work together. As luck would have it, our husbands/significant others enjoy each others’ company, too.
And we can’t forget the fine folks I’ve befriended since moving to Virginia.
I don’t have a picture of Janet and me. She’s the lady who owns The Empty Nest (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Stockist). There’s Sandy and Sandra, neighbors who I know and like, but need to spend more time with.
There are others, too, some of whom I am still getting to know better. Some I interact with more on Facebook than in person, but would love to get to spend time with in person.
And we can’t forget Mike. He’s my husband, and my friend, too. We have lots of fun together.
And we can’t forget all my blog friends. Even if I haven’t met you all in person, you’re important, too.
I told you I’m lucky. I have lots of friends. They all mean a lot to me, all in different ways. How could I possibly proclaim one of them as being the best?