I have always had an issue with the term “best friend.” This issue doesn’t stem from a lack of friendships but rather from being blessed with an abundance of them. I refuse to label one person above all else as my closest confidant, partner in crime and ugly cry companion—or, in other words, a single “best friend.” The way I see it, there are different levels of friends, ranging from acquaintances to the people you would call to help you move a body, and each person serves a different function in your life and can be the best at a given level.
New classmates can be a best friend providing a solid study partner, allowing both of you to survive econometrics or organic chemistry. These friendships often form fast and may only last a semester or two, but they can be some of the most crucial relationships forged in college.
Likewise, the extended group of people you may go out with on the weekends may be your best friends too. These people facilitate the experiences you will remember from college long after graduation even after you lose touch with many of them. These will be the people who you will fondly reflect on when you tell your kids what college was like. You may not be fond of each individual person, but as a group they somehow all fit together.
Your at-home best friends are also important. Without these people, you would likely get bored at home over summer vacations and winter breaks. They are the ones who save you from yourself and the dark hole of Netflix that is so easy to fall into when you get time off from school. They remind you of who you were, for better or worse, when you were in high school. You may not talk to these friends all that often, but they are the people who after a few months apart you can get together and feel like no time has passed.
Roommates again offer a different type of best friend. By senior year, they are often some of the people you are closest too and the people you trust with the struggles and secrets you keep from the majority of the world. They are best friends as they give you a shoulder to lean on when times get tough and refrain from telling the rest of the world about your less than ideal living habits. These people are likely the ones you traditionally identify as your “best friends”.
I don’t mean to suggest that there is anything wrong with having a singular best friend. Having one relationship that is stronger and the most important in your life may be right for some people. I find this term, with its traditional definition, rather limiting. Instead, I prefer to think that multiple best friends presents the opportunity to explore and develop new relationships continuously and as we change, so do they.