Everyone deserves a friend that will hold their hand, not only through the good times, but also the bad. A friend is supposed to be able to keep a secret even when you're fighting, supposed to be able to attend a family event with you and not feel out of place, and is supposed to know what mood you're in just by the tone of your voice. I have a few friends that I share this connection with, but there is one friendship in particular that I use to model who else I may want to put my time into.

My best friend, Kirsten, has been in my life for 16 years now, and there is never a dull moment. We grew up together and lived in small town, Hinesville, GA. She is "my person" and understands me more than anyone else. My best friend has taught me so much and I believe everyone could learn a few things from our freindship.

Friends are for the good times and the bad times.

I lost my grandparents in 2012, two months and three days apart. I was completely lost, but Kirsten was there every day and night. She would let me cry on her shoulder all night long just to make me feel better and then buy me food to make me smile. That is what a true friend does...they put behind their problems when you need them the most.

A true friend should knock some common sense into you even when it's tough love.

There have been so many times that Kirsten has said something to me that took me by surprise because I wasn't used to friends talking to me like that. I was wrong. Everyone deserves a friend who is going to knock them back to reality because if they don't, you could end up in awkward positions.

A REAL friend knows the right kind of guy for you.

Like a lot of girls, I like the "bad boys," the ones who live life on the edge, something people don't expect of me. Kirsten will call me as soon as I tell her who I am dating, and tell me that I'm making a mistake and need to put my head back on and see that he'll just hurt me.

(Usually, she is right.)

A best friend will always encourage you to do what is best for you.

In 2013, I moved from Hinesville, GA to a small town in North Alabama. My hardest goodbye was my best friend, but I'll never forget what she told me. "You're getting away from this town and going to do big things in your life." To have someone tell me that this was the best thing for me, means more than anything. If they can put their emotions aside because they understand that you need to grow as yourself, that is a real friendship.

A true friend will never let you give up on yourself.

A few months ago, I went through an identity crisis and decided that I was going to leave the University of Alabama to move home and attend Gadsden State Community College. Ever since I was able to say "Roll Tide," I wanted to attend the best college and now that I was here, I was ready to leave... but Kirsten was not for that. She knew that this is what I truly wanted and although I haven't found my "group" to be myself around, I was still at my number one choice and was blessed. She told me I could not give up on myself just because I was scared.

In 16 years, I have not only made a friend, but another family. My best friend's family took me in as their own and cared for me as if I was their own. We went on family vacations together, went to dinners together, and spent time at dance competitions together. After all this time, I'm still learning from her. She is my other half.

So, Kirsten, if you're reading this, thank you for all you and your family has done for me and mine. I'm lucky to have you and for all the memories we have shared and the memories to come! You're the best!