What Makes A BEST Best Friend
Much like the supporting characters on a television series, we have people entering and exiting the revolving door of our life pretty frequently. They’re here until they’re gone, cut loose or growing apart from us over time. So-and-so was there for seasons 3-6, but you wrote her off after she hooked up with your ex-boyfriend and lied to you about it. And what’s-his-name first appeared in season 4, but over the past year your lifestyles differed and he stopped making appearances many episodes ago. There are many of these types of characters, all of them biting the dust for any number of reasons.
Then there’s that one person. The loyal companion who’s been there since your show premiered. Or at least they’ve been on every single episode since making their initial debut. They’re the Bert to your Ernie, the Chandler to your Joey, the Ethel to your Lucy, the Chelsea to your Raven (Any That’s So Raven fans in the house?! Maybe?… Damn it, one too many examples) This is friendship in television terms, but in real life — when there aren’t any commercial breaks or season finales, the storylines can be equally, if not more enticing.
In the age of social network drama and casual betrayal, people go from BFFs to archenemies so often that it makes you wonder if they were really friends to begin with. When someone deceives you or breaks trust are they a loyal friend? Some may say yes, you can care about a person plenty but screw up one time in a very big way, thus breaking the bond. Others say no way.
It’s much like a lover who slips up and cheats. A fraction of people forgive a slip up and try to move on with their significant other, while others believe that if they cheat once, it’s not love because that never would’ve happened otherwise. The thing is, there’s no set amount of leeway that best friends have when it comes to messing up. Every one person decides how much is too much for themselves, as unique individuals.
Believe it or not, some still have a misconstrued notion that best friendships are always nice and kind and full of bright colors and witty comments with laugh tracks after each joke. Let’s face it, that’s bullshit. If things always appear perfect, below the surface they’re probably a mess. In reality, friendships can be gritty and blunt. They consist of honesty – brutal honesty even. The ugly truth isn’t always what you want to hear – in fact – it’s rarely what you were hoping for. Keeping it real is part of friendship and appreciating the truth is the other piece of that puzzle. Friendship is a lot of things, but in a nutshell it’s as simple as being there and doing so in the most authentic, genuine fashion possible.
Not everyone has one, specific best, best friend – many roll in groups and have a tightknit entourage with equally valued contributors. The point is, you know who those people are because they were there for highs and lows. They weren’t just present or around, they were there. ‘Member that season where you hit rock bottom and were a complete mess? They were posted there at the bottom, right by your side. The season where you partied and had quite possibly the best time of your life — they were there for that as well. That’s what sets them apart from the acquaintances, the fair-weather “friends” and the complete frauds who were no where to be seen at your lowest point.
Real life friendship is complicated in the sense that we should have high standards for who we dedicate ourselves to and let be close to us, but we also shouldn’t have Hollywood expectations. There’ll be no episode long disagreements with cheesy music queues and quick-fix chats. Shit gets bumpy in real life, you have to know in advance: this friendship may (probably will) have turbulence. If you have a real friendship, those involved will deal with it and take that bad with the good. Best, best friends are all about enduring the awful and enjoying the awesome. Also it’s about laughing at the people who jump ship every other week, snipping cords as soon as they have a quarrel and turning the phrase BFF into valueless acronym vomit.
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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.