A Best Friend

So I was recently sitting down with a friend of mine who was discussing the series of events that lead to her and her best friend no longer being “best friends”. The story was the normal dramatic “She stabbed me behind my back and I couldn’t mess with her anymore.” As I listened to the tale, I was consumed with the thought of how easily she was able to discard her best friend. I asked her if losing her best friend bothered her and she responded with “She wasn’t really my best friend. She just called me that”. But throughout the story, she referred to the girl as a best friend. Her story leads me to the burgeoning thoughts of my own relationship with my best friend. If she’s really my best friend, why would I be able to dismiss her of her title over a petty argument? This question further leads me to contemplate the millennial concept of a best friend.

The concept of the term best friend dates back to the late 12th century. It was used to describe strong social and psychological human experiences with each other. Over time, the word has evolved from “comrade” to “best friend” to now “BFF”. As time has continued, the word and it’s concept of a best friend have shifted. Before, it was used to describe someone who is always there for you and willing to die for you. For example, Joshua Speed saved Abraham Lincoln’s life by saving him from the depression caused by his death. Speed even coached Lincoln on intimacy with women. Nowadays, the best friend concept has transformed. Now, the expectations of a best friend are someone who likes to do the things you like to do, is always there for you, and never causes any drama. The reality of a best friend is far from the expectations. Best friends can be drama filled, jealous, selfish, and incompatible people who only befriend you because the relationship is convenient.  As one grows from juvenile to adulthood, the idea of a best friend is shattered by reality. There is no such thing as a best friend because there is no such thing as the best relationship. This is a harsh reality I have become comfortable with but not many others.

People try to maintain this facade relationship with best friends but are truly suffering. One person can not be the best above all others, but rather you make it seem that way. I am a culprit of compensating certain issues with my best friend because I regard her as my best friend. For example, I struggled greatly during a period in our relationship with her constant negativity. I would say “I’m thinking about getting my nails done at this nail salon,” and her response would be a negative spill on the dangers of the nail salon and how I may catch gangrene if I don't notice the nail salon cleanliness (this story is extremely exaggerated but that is how I felt in those moments). I would constantly complain about her negativity to others and finally someone asked me “Then why is she your best friend?” After my inability to respond, I contemplated “unfriended” because, she, too me didn't fit the millennial criteria for a best friend. She doesn't like to do everything I like to do, she isn't always uplifting me, and there is sometimes drama with her. I, then, realized at that moment she is only my best friend because the relationship with her is convenient. This is a concept true for many millennials.

After I had this series of negative thoughts, I reflected on my own relationship with my best friend and how it needed to change. I realized that I needed to stop regarding her as my best friend, but as someone who I want to have a positive relationship with. I stopped trying to expect certain prospects from her but rather I wanted to relate to her, grow with her, and mold her into someone we can equally be for each other. She no longer was my best friend but someone I worked to have an amazing relationship. Over time, she became my best friend without having this superficial title of being my best friend. She became someone I could tell my fear and worries too and she became someone I cried and laughed with. She also became someone that wasn't like me, but still compatible with me. She became someone I couldn't dismiss over a petty argument.

After extensive thinking, I finally came to the conclusion that the best friend title is a superficial saying we give someone to maintain an unstable relationship and to make ourselves feel secure. A real best friend doesn't need to be called a best friend. A best friend doesn't fit the basic millennial mold of a best friend but rather is someone you have taken time to truly build and positive and healthy relationship with. Moreover, I am proud to say I don't indulge in the social concept of a best friend but rather have built a relationship with a person that willing to grow with me. She may not be the best in every aspect of my life but she is someone who has continued to show that she wants to work on our relationship. That, to me, is far beyond the naive childish concept of a best friend.