Best Friend

The term baffles me a bit because it doesn’t really mean what it says. For instance, in my friendship hierarchy, I have friends, good friends, really good friends (close friends), and a best friend. It’s really important to me to only have one of the last category, because there can only be one best (superlative baby!). I also only happen to have one in the second to last category. Because of this reality, I have to wonder what the difference is between a close friend and a best friend, in my terms.

That difference isn’t merely semantic, there’s something emotional and relational about it as well. But the words are so odd. What does it mean when you call someone your best friend? Does it mean they are the best at being a friend? Does it mean they are the most upstanding of all your friends? Does it mean they know you best of all your friends? Does it mean they’re the most like family? Or does it just mean that you feel the most connected to them, more so than to any other person?

I’m thinking it must be the last one because of a few discoveries I had this summer (yep, I’m still posting about summer stuff). After hanging out with a friend from high school, she told me that I was her best friend back then. This posed a few problems for me. One is that I’m not a fan of “unreciprocated best-friendship”. I hate the idea that my best friend might not consider me her best friend. Problem two deals more with the ephemeral quality of our supposed “best-friendship” in high school. I think I may be more inclined to believe that your best friend is always your best friend but of course, that’s just my theory. The third problem I had with this is that I wasn’t a good friend. I don’t want to beat a dead horse or anything but I just sucked at friendship. So that already disqualifies me from the first four possible definitions of a best friend. But I must have been really well-suited for the fifth possibility.

I know this because of my actual “best friend” in high school. Because I don’t like the idea of non-mutual friendship I always thought of her as my best friend since she thought of me as hers. In practice, though, I’d probably say we were good friends maybe even close friends. But even so, she felt a closeness to me that made her want to claim me as her “best friend”.

It’s a scary term to me because it implies an emotional attachment that I haven’t always been prepared to accept. It means something, it’s real, and it’s important. It’s like saying, I feel connected to you on a deeper level than anyone else I’ve ever randomly met and I trust that you’ll respect and even appreciate that. I must have trust issues because for me that’s a hard thing to say.

Still, if that’s the way other people view friendship, I feel so honored that anyone would ever call me their best friend.

Gaudium Christi,

DJP

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