Thank You For Being My Best Friend
Dear Best Friend,
I originally wanted to write you a letter about why you’re my best friend and saturate it with all the generic reasons and adorable anecdotes, but I’m not going to do that because you already know why you’re my best friend, duh. If you didn’t, we probably wouldn’t have remained friends all these years. Ten years? Thirteen? I actually have no idea.
Of course I don’t — I have no concept of time whatsoever. If it were up to me no one’s birthday or graduation or other important event would be remembered, because that’s the type of person I am; I can’t make it anywhere on time, or even on day, and I tend to forget where I’m going to begin with. But you remember things like this, and you know exactly how long we’ve been best friends. That will be the first thing you tell me after you read this. Thank you for knowing that. Thank you for knowing all the things I don’t.
Thank you for always being closest to me even when we were in separate time zones and separate stages of life. Thank you for not letting us get split by dumb facts like distance or time. Thank you for never giving up on our friendship, for never shrugging and being like “Eh, things change, people change” and drifting away vaguely because we’re victims of circumstance. We all get distant to a certain degree when we make huge transitions but you didn’t let me get very far because you knew what was truly important.
Thank you for taking care of me in every way possible, for being there when no one else was or wanted to be and when you didn’t even have to be. Everyone has those friends who are close but not really; who you always feel kind of awkward and weird about asking for help and like you have to clarify you’ll do them some kind of favor in return, but you’re not one of those. You never got mad when I didn’t call you for weeks on end because I was too busy being someone’s girlfriend, but you were right there to pick up my heart-splinters when things predictably shattered. You were and are there for everything, no bargaining or explanations needed.
Thank you for being a different friend than everyone else, different from the friends who are only there for the fun things, the art museums and shopping and benders and brunch. I’ve never been to an art museum with you because I’m sure we would end up arguing over whether or not Basquiat was any good, and we both know going on a bender isn’t worth it because you always pass out first, but I still feel like I can do anything with you and it won’t suck. Thank you for always being fun even when we’re not having fun. I don’t know how else to explain that.
Thank you for believing in me when I was too weak and exhausted to believe in myself. Thank you for pushing me, for repeating those affirmations that don’t mean anything in inspirational films but mean everything when someone who cares about you says them. Thank you for not judging me when I did something really stupid, but also thanks for telling me I was an idiot and probably shouldn’t have done the stupid thing. Thank you for always being honest.
Thank you for doing all the things a real best friend does; for letting me sob into your shoulder when I need to and handing me the flask when there aren’t any more words. Thank you for always knowing who I am and reminding me of that when I forget. Thank you for being genuinely concerned with the outcome of my life and always listening, even when you’re tired. Thank you for telling me the things no one wants to hear and sparing the bullshit advice. I can’t think of many other people I’d actually take a bullet for.
And yeah, I know everyone likes to make grand emotional claims like that in Courier typeface against some Polaroid of a lonely lamppost, but the difference is I’d actually do it.
Your Best Friend
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Dan John is a weightlifting coach. He is well-known in the fitness world for keeping things simple. As regular readers know, simplicity matches up well with my exercise philosophy. (Dan John also has two first names.
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