An Awkward Letter To My Best Friend(?)
I have something I’ve been meaning to tell you, but I’ve never found a way that didn’t make me sound really socially inept. Writing it to you in a public letter on a blog you read ranked only slightly above hiring a man with a megaphone to shout it at you as soon as you left your apartment in the morning. (I even considered buying one of those blimps with scrolling light-up text, but I don’t really have a lot of spare cash these days.)
What I mean to say is: I’m jealous of people who have one consistent best friend. I’ve never had that.
My best friends have always changed over time. There was Madison in second grade. I helped her plaster her bedroom walls in ‘Teen Beat’ Jonathan Taylor Thomas posters. She and I lost touch when I changed schools. Then, there was Matthew in fourth grade. We got into trouble with his mom for constantly trying to skateboard into his swimming pool after seeing ‘Jackass’ in theaters. We stopped being best friends when the hormones kicked in. There was Jessica in junior high. We’d climb out her bedroom window when her parents were asleep just to walk around her neighborhood. It felt freeing and dangerous and silly and bad. I still don’t know what happened with us.
There was Alex for a while, and Matt and Melissa and Caitlin and Cara and Joe. It’s a revolving door not unlike the companions in The Doctor’s TARDIS. No one ever stays.
When you make a new best friend in your 20s, you can’t just head over to Claire’s at the mall together and purchase a broken heart “Best Friends” necklace. You can’t just each wear one side and call it a day. In fact, the phrase itself sounds childish. “Best friend” above all other friends? What does that even mean when you’re an adult?
But, as embarrassing as it is, the point of this letter is for me to say, truthfully, “You’re my best friend!!”
I knew I felt this way about you because you’re the person I’ll call first if I’m bored and just want to talk or if something good happens or if something really bad happens. You’re the person I immediately think will be the most fun to hang out with. You’re someone I feel like I could say anything to and would never be judged, someone without motivations or desire to backstab, someone cool and nice and smart and great. You’re someone I trust and someone I learn from and someone I enjoy. We haven’t known each other that long, but we’ve been through enough for me to know you’re a solid gold A+ human.
If this were kindergarten, I’d be sharing my blocks with you, buddy. I’m really excited about you because you seem so great! This is true friendship. Don’t you feel so alive?!
But I have concerns. Namely, I wondered: Should you tell someone that they’re your best friend? Is that weird? It feels strange to out of nowhere say, “Hey, you’re my best friend.” Where do you slip that into casual conversation?
It’s too vulnerable and genuine a proclamation for a generation that “likes” more than it actually loves.
Often people talk about when it’s appropriate to ask someone you’re hooking up with to define your relationship. It’s an awkward, but not completely unexpected conversation. Though what happens when the relationship is even less defined than that?
So uh, I guess what I’m asking is: Am I also your best friend?
Not that it matters. It doesn’t. This isn’t like a hook up where one side feeling more than the other can ruin things forever. We can be cool if you’ve got some other, older best friend or if you just aren’t ready for that sort of friend-mittment. We can see other friends. No big deal.
I just don’t want to lose you.
I don’t want you to become another name on the best friendship checklist.
I want to be the best friend that you call when you’ve met the right person for you in like, five years. I want you to be the best friend who plays with my future kids or cats or whatever I have. I want us to be the best friends that still talk when neither of us have teeth.
I’m getting ahead of myself and probably being really creepy. I do that sometimes. You know that already because we’re best(??) friends.
So do you maybe wanna grab a slice of pizza and see Drive this weekend?
Best friends forever?
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Even as I write this now I am debating whether or not to erase it all together.
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I love the story I can tell to my next lover, about my ex-lover, about how beautiful things were, how intense, how storybook, what a couple we were, and how you gradually, inexplicably, painfully, bit by bit, disappeared.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
I was 24 and, while not gay, ever since college I had been getting more attention from gay men than from heterosexual women.