The "Best" Best Friend
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Politics and Activism

The "Best" Best Friend

Warning: contents not under pressure.

The "Best" Best Friend

Through personal experience and observing others, I have noticed a disturbing social pressure. For whatever reason, society seems to tell us that in order to be good friends with someone, you have to be around them all the time and tell them everything.

For many people, I’m sure this works out well. If you like constant company or if you can’t keep feelings inside you, it makes sense for you to have friends that will give you the things that you need. However, I am not sure that the pressure on everyone to be that way and to have that is a good thing.

For example, my best friend and I have been friends since fourth grade. We sometimes communicate in a language involving incomplete sentences, facial expressions, and just knowing things that we trust the other to understand. In fact, once in high school, our assigned seats were across the room from one another in such a way that we could see each other. We carried on full conversations via looks and mouthed words. Towards the end of class, someone finally noticed that we were talking to each other. Apparently, everyone had been under the impression that we were talking to ourselves.

Clearly, we know each other well.

However, we cannot stand to be around each other for more than 24 hours at a stretch. After that point, unless we are both making a concerted effort to be good people, we forget that we like each other and things get bad.

The truth is, we don’t need to be around each other all the time. We often go months without even speaking to each other because we get busy or are recovering from accidentally spending too much time together. That’s OK, because we know that the other person is always there if we need them, and we know that when we do talk again it’ll be a long conversation (understatement of the century).

She is my best friend. She is one of the few people in my life that have stuck around despite the fact that I am terrible at sharing my emotional stuff, I really like to be right, and I occasionally have all the social skills of a metal rod. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not always the “best” of friends either (a fact she’ll agree with), but my point is that she’s experienced a great deal of my flaws and is still around.

And yet, were I to read one of the many listicles about best friends, our friendship would not fit the bill. We do not hang out with each other all the time or often at all. We do not always tell each other everything. We are polite with one another’s fridges.

I have other, newer best friendships, and unsurprisingly, none of them fit the mold either. There is nothing wrong with that.

I think that the mark of a good friendship is a lack of pressure. Each person lets the other be who they are and they work at giving each other what they need from a friendship. For example, if one of the friends needs to tell the other everything, the other makes time to listen. If the other is more reserved and needs time to work things through before sharing, then the friend gives them time.

Above all, I think that we need to stop trying to make our friendships look a certain way. They should reflect the personalities of the friends, not a social standard because, in truth, it does not matter if you spend all of your time together and tell each other everything. What matters is that you like each other for who you really are and make an effort to be there for each other when needed. The rest you get to figure out together.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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