I’ll say it: we totally overuse the word “best” in relation to our friends. Just think about how frequently we hashtag “besties” when we post photos from a night out with friends. More times than not?
We forget that the word “best” is a superlative, and it’s virtually impossible to have more than one “best” of anything. It’s similar to how we overuse (and incorrectly use) the word “literally.” If we were “literally dying” every time we saw a hilarious meme or Instagram post that was all too relatable, we’d have a pretty serious situation on our hands. #RapidPopulationDecline
I know this seems technical, but hear me out. The title “best friend” implies that there’s one person we consider to be superior to our other friends. Someone we can turn to in every situation; happy, sad, or somewhere in the middle. That there’s one person out there who can fulfill our emotional and physical needs at any given point in time, at any stage of our lives.
And if you can honestly say that there’s one person who fits this mold, then that’s cool, but consider yourself the exception. I think that the majority of us, myself included, find that we diversify our friends. We have a few great friends rather than one best friend. Different friends for different reasons and different situations. Or else, we would truly only be hashtagging “besties” on photos shared with one other person, and I’ve found that to rarely be the case.
Back to these “few great friends.” They come in all forms; all shapes and sizes. Some are from childhood, some are from college. Some are from a shared hobby like a book club, some are from work. Some are like family, some are family. Some are in our lives forever, and some are only around for a short time. And it’s all good, because of each of these friends serves a certain purpose; some for a snapshot in time, some for a lifetime.
Where “Great Friend A” may be your go-to for a wild night of dancing and vodka sodas, “Great Friend B” may be your go-to for a therapeutic vent sesh. “Great Friend C” may be the “outgoing” to your “shy and reserved” in group situations, so he’s the dude you immediately call after you awkwardly RSVP “yes” to a party where you know you won’t know anyone. “Great Friend D” may be better in one-on-one situations, and you have her on speed dial (I just dated myself…who even makes phone calls anymore?) when you need some serious girl advice. “Great Friend E” might be your cousin, and she’s the girl you turn to when you just need to b!tch about your family without the hassle of providing context, because she just gets it. “Great Friend F” is your co-worker, and sometimes you just need to rant to him about the fact that you can’t get a damn cold glass of water anywhere in the office. And so on…
We’re constantly growing and changing, meeting new people, creating new connections, and seeking (and needing) new types of support, encouragement and fulfillment as we enter different phases of our lives. It’s normal for us to not put all our eggs in one proverbial “best friend” basket.
Because in order for us to further develop ourselves intellectually, we need to constantly meet new people, expand our horizons, gain new perspectives, and step out of our comfort zone. Our friendship needs and desires grow and change as we do. At some points in our lives, we find ourselves surrounded by seven close friends; at others, we only find ourselves surrounded by two. And that’s completely normal…and completely OK.
But then it gets tricky. Much like modern culture pressures us to find the perfect significant other, it also pressures us to have a “best friend.” The girl (or guy) who you’ve known your entire life, who’s your partner-in-crime, and there for you at the drop of a hat. Who’s obviously going to be your Maid (or Man) of Honor, because, duh, who else would it be?! And similar to our search to find a perfect boyfriend or girlfriend, we sometimes find ourselves in search of the perfect #bestie. Your go-to for weekend selfies, brunch dates, shopping trips, whathaveyou. And, also similar to dating, we unfortunately end up settling for a less-than-perfect friend just to say that we have that “best friend.”
And then there’s the whole issue of offending every other friend by singling out one “best friend.” Assigning one of our friends “best friend” status can even create rifts between people on both sides of said “best friendship.” People get hurt, feel left out, feel like they aren’t valued, etc. I mean, is the whole “best friend” status really even worth it? When you think about it, it’s actually very exclusive rather than inclusive.
What I’m saying here is that the title “best friend” is a confusing one. On one hand, we consider every friend to be a “best friend,” but on the other, we often feel the need to find one “best friend.” In all honesty, it’d probably be easier to toss the title of “best friend” out the window. Because what we’re really trying to do is assign a name for the people closest to us; people who have a positive impact on our lives. Who we just like being around. Who elevate us. Who we can relate to in certain (or a lot of) situations. Who we trust.
So the next time you find yourself struggling with the whole concept of a “best friend” – who is my best friend? Do I have more than one best friend? Is it even possible to have more than one best friend? Etc. (note: these are all thoughts that I’ve had at one point or another) – please remember: having a best friend is overrated. Just surround yourself with people who make you feel good. If you can do that, then you’re golden.