This is not a love letter. I mean, it is, but not like that. I love you. But this isn't some last-ditch effort to lay all my feelings on the table so we can have some end-of-romantic-comedy movie moment before you leave for school. I love you in a sense that I basically consider you family at this point in my life. And college is in no way bad, and I know you'll be okay, but it is pretty scary at first. I feel almost obligated to give you something before you go off on your own. So, you know how whenever you start to get down on yourself, I say, "Don't get me started?" Well I'm about to get started, so prepare yourself. Because I am terrible at gifts, and you've given me so much. I think now—with all the awards and scholarships that you've already received—the thing that you really deserve the most is some kind words.

You have always had this talent of almost constantly reassuring my faith in the male population. You said yes to every girl that asked you to prom, just to make them happy. It's been three years and—after all this time—your amazing girlfriend still adores you. And when I was still in the trenches of my own head trying to get over a terrible breakup, you went out of your way to drive to my house and hug me. You probably saw that as nothing, because that's just how you are. But that one tiny gesture was a lifesaver for me, because it reminded me that someone gave a shit. And it showed me that not all men were like the one I was trying to desperately hard to get over. I look at you, and I have faith.

Now I have to be honest here, I would date the crap out of you if you weren't already with a pretty badass lady. But I'll say again, this is not that kind of letter. What I'm saying is that you know how to treat people. In fact, you seem to have embedded in you this insatiable need to be kind. Seriously, in my years of knowing you, I think I've seen a mean word come out of your mouth maybe once. And I distinctly remember you apologizing profusely for about an hour afterwards. You talk to me about an ex-girlfriend and you still manage to sound nice about it. That is a skill, my friend. Someone can put you through the ringer, and somehow you still manage to find the good in them. I try to do that every day, but you don't have to. It's just you.

You are something special, my friend. You are the only member of the opposite sex that I can cuddle with, without it being weird. I'm friends with a lot of guys, and I can tell you now that I will never be able to talk to them, the way that I talk to you. You are the quintessential "guy best friend" that I see all the time in the movies. I've known you for such a long time now and—through it all—we've both been comfortable enough in our separate relationships to know that we can just be normal around each other. You're not complicated. And that's perfect, because I don't do complicated.

It's simply astounding, how unwaveringly good you are. It seems to just pour out of you. And I can't lie, a small part of me used to envy you for that. I've watched you take on leadership roles, pick colleges, lose girlfriends, and have a nearly impossible amount of work and expectations on your plate. Is it rude of me to say that I was almost expecting you to crack? Not to say that you couldn't handle it, because I've seen first hand how much you're capable of. But when life changes that much and that fast, the people in it change too. I was pretty quick to notice how wrong I was about you. In the end, your endless capacity for good basically outweighs all. Do not ever let that change.

Now I haven't had the best time lately, and you are one of a select few people who know every reason why. And that is among one of the many things that I have to thank you for. Through all my recent ups and downs in life, you stayed. When I graduated high school, I half expected to part ways with you, like I did with so many other people. But no matter how busy you get, you always take the time out of your day to send me a message and ask me how I'm doing. Through it all, you never left. You have remained a constant source of stability for me during a time when everything else in my life has changed. And from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for that.

You are a very rare kind of human being, you always have been. And I know you've probably heard the same speech about a thousand times from a thousand different people about how much potential you have. But this isn't coming from a teacher or a parent. This is from someone who has essentially spent the most important years of life with you and has watched you grow. I've seen so many people tell you how smart you are. But just know that your brain is no match for the boundless amount of good that you have in you. And you know that I never like to say anything in life with certainty, but I trust my hunches when it comes to you. You'll do great things, this I know.