Best Friends

April 23, 2010

When I was just a wee little ginger, mama bear used to ask me “who’s your best friend?”

The answer was “You are!” for a very long time. You, who ties my shoes, peanut butters my bread, and puts the straw in my juice box– you are my best friend, mommy!

And, then, one day, she wasn’t. Now, I have no recollection of when that day was. I couldn’t tell you who I considered my new best friend at the time, either. Maybe a stuffed animal. Or the girl who gave me a butterfly sticker at school. Maybe a potato bug in a jar, who knows? Regardless of who my new best friend was, mama bear was no longer fitting the bill.

Who’s your best friend?

What is it that qualifies an individual to be a best friend? When my definition of best friend changed from “provider of shelter and bedtime kisses,” what exactly did it transform into? Who are these people I surround myself with, and why??

These aren’t questions I ask myself a whole lot. By our mid-twenties, most of us have a pretty established network of people. We know who would bail us out of jail, and who would be sitting next to us. By this point, we know our friends inside out; and they know us the same. The good, the bad, and the awkward.

My best friends are the people who always tell me the truth; and stick around, even if (when) I get mad upon hearing it. My best friends are people who call me just because they were thinking about me; and don’t care that I do the same at any hour of the day or night. My best friends are people who have pulled through for me time and time again. And when I’ve had to walk it alone, they comprised my embarrassingly loud cheering section. My best friends are people who have seen me laughing, seen me puking, seen me naked, seen me absolutely full of rage. They get full back-stage access to the ongoing saga of my life.

My best friends have let me fall. They have also saved me from myself.

My best lady friend feels like an extension of self. When we speak, it’s more than just mere dialogue. So much more. We wax poetic for hours. Our questions are rhetorical; the answers are prose. She makes me think about people, about society, about relationships. We can always be the 15 year old girls we were when we met, and we acknowledge our silliness very openly. She pep-talks me, she consoles me, and she gives me her well-intentioned advice. We don’t see each other very often, but we never ever leave the same book– not even the same page– just pick right up where we left off.

My best male friends are like my brothers. One of them is my brother. They give it to me straight– the truth is not shaded, blurred, or bent. These men allow me to be the swirling cyclone of self-righteousness that I am, but keep an eye out for when I get dizzy and fall. They step back and let me make my mistakes, because they know I’m going to with or without their blessings, but never step too far away. We are all very different, we often fight, but in the end, I know that these are men who love me unconditionally and, in my opinion, there is a LOT to be said for that in this world.

I have moved away from home and met thousands of people. I have had 22 room mates. I’ve had 3 serious long-term relationships, and have shared shorter (equally valuable) time with a number of others. I learn more about myself every day from friend, foe, and complete stranger.

But if you asked me  to give a truthful single answer– “who’s your best friend?”

After 23 revolutions of the sun, I’m back at mommy.

You can borrow from the devil, you can borrow from your friend. The devil loans you twenty, but your friend will loan you ten. [[RobertHunter]]

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3 Responses to “Best Friends”

  1. EVula Says:

    I don’t have a single “best friend”, though I do have a sizable circle of people that I consider my good friends, with a smaller group I’d consider my close friends.

    Sadly, over the past year I’ve had several people wander in and out of that latter group, including one person who I *did* call my best friend, but we haven’t really spoken since November.

    (also: nice shirt)


  2. The thing about the best friendships is that they don’t *have* to be constantly under maintenance. It’s okay to drift in and out of each other’s spheres and just pick up where you left off, somewhere down the road. That is, in my experience.
    As we get older, I think that these people become simultaneously more and less important to our lives. More important in the sense that we, as humans, need that connection to who we have been and those who understands us; less important in that we don’t need to see each other every day. Or week. Or even month.
    (PS that pic was from Christmas a few years ago. I seriously have NO idea what happened to that shirt. Sometimes, I still look hopefully for it when I sort my clothes.)

  3. hanilol Says:

    America is my best friend. I digg you, and would like to meet you one day. I find you very interesting. Good writing nice reading. Peace girlfriend.


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