1. The people who care the most about you are the ones who will say the things you don’t want to hear.
It’s easy to be friends with people who ignite no desire within you to want more for yourself – change is hard, and it’s easier to just accept things the way they are. But real love is telling someone the truth when you think they’re dating someone who isn’t treating them well, or they’re not taking care of themselves, or they’re at a job that’s making them desperately unhappy.
2. The smallest gesture from someone you love will always matter more to you than something grand from someone you don’t care about.
We live in a world full of grand gestures – viral engagement videos with choreographed proposals and insane fantasy dates on shows like The Bachelor. But a good best friend is like a beautiful reminder that sometimes, the best things in the world involve someone we love showing up at our doorstep with a six pack and a bag of chips, wanting nothing more than to be together.
3. Love often means acting instinctively before worrying about the logistics.
When you truly love someone, you’ll drop everything you’re doing when they’re in trouble, or when they’re hurting, or when they need you in any way whatsoever. Having a best friend who has walked out in the middle of work to meet you at a coffee shop, or shown up at your apartment and pulled you out of bed while you were mourning a breakup, is just one more way you’ve learned how you should be treated by and how you should treat the person you end up with. When they need you or you need them, you’ve learned that everything else can take a backseat until you make sure they’re okay.
4. You can’t fully commit to loving another person wholeheartedly until you understand how to love yourself.
You are still capable of loving, even if you haven’t yet learned to love yourself. But getting to that next level of intimacy with someone means learning how to be kind to yourself and how to embrace yourself, so that you know how to let them be kind to you too. A best friend helps you to understand that this is a process, and that no matter how long it takes you, the people who truly care about you will be with you every step of the way, until you’ve learned to love yourself as much as they love you.
5. Sometimes the greatest thing someone can do for you is just to make you feel heard and understood.
We don’t always need advice, pep talks, or life-changing lectures. We just need to feel like there’s someone out there who can listen to our fears, our insecurities, our struggles – someone who can acknowledge that our emotions are real and that we are normal for having them. A best friend teaches you how to ask this of other people when you need it, and how to be that listener for those you care about most when they need it, too.
6. Few things compare to the joy of laughing with someone to whom you feel a deep connection.
Life will always have an ugly, heartbreaking side. And oftentimes, the best way to soothe your soul in these situations is to laugh with someone with whom you are connected to on a much deeper level than most.
7. Even the most mundane things in life can be fun if you’re with the right person.
Grocery shopping, long car rides, going to the bank, spring cleaning, doing your taxes, and a million are things in your life are unavoidable. But when you’re doing them with someone who brings lightness and silliness into the equation, even the most boring of tasks can be enjoyable.
8. No matter how infatuated you are with someone, if they make you feel small or insignificant, it’s not love.
Infatuation can seem a lot like love – increased heart rate, an inability to think of anything else but them, butterflies, wanting to spend time with no one else. But anyone that makes you feel small, worthless, unwanted, or ashamed (no matter how attached or attracted to them you feel), is not someone with whom you will be able to find true love.
9. Love can be painful, but there’s a difference between healthy pain and unhealthy pain.
Finding someone you truly love and care about can be painful because you’re constantly worried about them, you bleed when they bleed, it hurts to be away from them, etc. But there’s a difference between that kind of pain, and the kind of pain that comes from being with someone who’s trying to intentionally hurt you (or someone who, though it’s unintentional, is hurting you without any concern or remorse for your wellbeing.)
10. Truly being in love means being with the person who makes you feel the most like yourself.
It’s why people constantly refer to their partner or spouse as ‘my best friend.’ Because they’re with someone who makes them feel the way your best friend makes you feel – cherished, cared for, appreciated, and most of all, loved.