My evolution of how I define a “friend” has naturally matured with me.
I met my 1st best friend in first grade. I have always considered my name different or unique only because it begins with a “V” so to find another someone with a “V” name made me smile. I was new to the state and the community. Friendship had been established in preschool and in kindergarten. But she embraced me early. She had a big, bright personality that was a perfect contrast to my quiet and shy tendencies. She held the best friend status through 12th grade. Even though we are miles apart, we still wish each other “happy birthday!”
I joined the band in junior high. Being a girl in the horn section can be intimidating, yet taking honors classes was a challenge I was willing to accept. With the wave of people I met, there was one who was quiet, smart, approachable, and a horn player. I do not recall how we mashed up but we had most, if not all of our classes together. Commonality and circumstance allowed us to be inseparable through high school graduation. It is crazy how the convenience of high school incubators causes inconveniences in relationships.
I also gained a best friend or 2 through church. The first that I can recall was a few years older than me and the fact that she wanted to be my friend always amazed me. I was younger and so quiet but she embraced me. She was never afraid to ask my mom on a Saturday for an impromptu spend the night party. She made me feel special. The other came to be simply because we both had long hair. We had similar personalities and developed the same interest except she loved to do hair. I was grateful for the opportunities for her to practice and experiment on my hair. They both eventually became members of other churches. Social media keeps us in touch.
In my twenties, after returning home after earning my college degree, I had to make adjustments, naturally, and find my place. Old friends had come and gone, and I had to insert myself into areas that were already functioning and flowing. I had made a new friend at church who was new herself but had bonded with a childhood acquaintance. The 3 of us made a unique trio. However, I was able to bond with each individually. The childhood acquaintance smoothly transitioned to my newest best friend. She developed a “no judgment zone” where we could express our thoughts, guilty pleasures, and desires without casting a shadow of judgment. We partied together, cried together, and tried to navigate through life together. She decided to move to DC to create new experiences. We kept in touch. I was so excited for her. However, in her process to make DC home, she found someone that felt like a threat to me. She never said it, but I thought that I was replaced. It felt that she did not need me anymore so I wrote her an exit letter. I was being selfish and immature. Hindsight is 20/20. I deeply and sincerely apologized, but we were never able to recover. This unfortunate decision made me second-guess my role in my friendships. I decided I did not need to give any friend the adjective of “best.”
Social media made the terms “bestie” and “BFF” seems so cute and inviting. People were posting pics of their best friend adventures. I never felt the hashtag trap, but I did want the option. I evaluated my relationships and thought that there were a few that could be “best.” I became indecisive when one of the candidates questioned the term “bestie.” She said she has sisters and friends but did not need to define anyone as “bestie.” I was crushed. I went back to my original stance – no one needs the adjective of “best.”
Today, my best friend came organically. A mutual friend had come to know her well, so I knew she was good people, fun to be around. I never got the opportunity to be around her, always saw her from a distance. I have known her husband for years. Our first exchange came on her wedding day. I was working with the church’s wedding director. I was excited because I loved weddings and I thought this would provide an excellent opportunity to get to know her. She was very short and not inviting to someone who was trying to help. I had to keep reminding myself that she doesn’t know me so she doesn’t know what I bring to the table. She eventually joined the church. She seemed to make a smooth transition into established friendships. I do not remember how, but we gradually began to bond. One day, I realized that I enjoyed talking to her and that the support and advice she offered was so refreshing. I resolved that she felt deserving of the adjective of “best.” I was reluctant, but as shy as I have always been, I have never been afraid to put myself out there (insert the number of rejections I have gained over the years). If I recall correctly, we had just hung up, and I text her to say that she felt like a best friend. She response was that she was talking to her husband saying the same thing. It felt weird, but I was relieved. I had convinced myself that I was too old to have a best friend, but I felt comfort in her companionship. We are alike yet opposite. She gives me the brutal honesty that I truly need. I appreciate her love and support and confidently call her my best friend.
Give love. Get love.