Depending who you ask, my best friend and I have known each other for either eight years or nine. Regardless of who's right, we've been through a lot together. From the embarrassing middle school years to high school angst about boys and what colleges to apply to, we've been through it all. Now we're both in college and really starting to consider our adult lives, and I realize I owe a lot of my drive and energy in whatever it is I do to my best friend. This does not just apply to the usual motivation any best friend gives but also in her own insane work ethic and drive to be the best she can be. My mom always told me you can't choose family but you can choose friends, so it's important to choose wisely. So, here is why who your best friend is really does matter, especially as you begin to approach the big questions that come with life.
Work is typically pretty stressful, plus it's not always easy or straightforward and having a reliable support system always help. Knowing you have someone to count on if you need some support or maybe to vent about how stressed you are is always great. However, having someone who will push you to keep on doing that work and putting your all into it is even better.
Sometimes, friends can be our biggest reasons for procrastinating or putting off work, because the feeling of FOMO is too difficult to bear. I know I've been guilty of being both the distracter and the distracted. However, having someone who will make you face the music, and remind you that there will be other opportunities to go out or binge watch some Netflix together will make you the more productive person.
Having someone who reminds you to get stuff done doesn't always seem great at the time, and some people might feel babied or put down by having your friend tell you to go write a paper or finish that assignment. But sometimes, that's what you need to hear, and a true best friend wants to see you succeed more than wanting to watch a movie right at that moment. That kind of drive is so important, especially in formative years like college, and I think it's an aspect of friendship that really does not get as much attention and appreciation as it should.
Another reason why your best friend is so important is in how they help shape and create your viewpoints on your relationships and friendships outside of the one between the two of you. Like I said before, my best friend and I have been through a lot together, and that includes a lot of friendships, crushes, and relationships. I am fortunate enough to have friends or groups outside of my best friend and her interests, and she also has friends and groups I am not involved in or don't know that well. Having that line has helped us as we went away for college, and also in helping us give each other advice or help if something is wrong with our other friends or with our relationships. We don't feel as though we're choosing sides or hurting the other person by saying how wrong they are, we just tell it the way we say it.
Having someone who's generally impartial, but isn't afraid to call you out when you've messed up is the best person to keep around in all honesty. There's often this idea of being friends with one group or the other, and in turn feeling like you have to follow what they do in order to remain their friend. However, your best friend shouldn't be your only friend, and someone who encourages you to branch out and be your own person instead of being your shadow 24/7 is the kind of friend you'll want to keep down the line.
We've all had friendships and/or relationships fizzle out and that's okay. I feel grateful that I can look back on pretty much all my past friendships and still say I'm glad that person was in my life. I also feel grateful to have had my best friend around for as long as I have. Having that kind of support system and reliable person who has grown to be inspiring, not only in her achievements but in her constant drive to succeed, is something I feel fortunate to have.
We aren't typical best friends who always need to hang out or who have every class together, especially since we have chosen two different colleges. I can't lie and say I'm always grateful for that, because there are times when I really miss her and the times we had in our classes together in high school or middle school. However, I know she's just a phone call away, ready to rant alongside me about finals and class schedules, and to push me to do my best as well, not only in her motivational words to me, but also in her actions and images she has and continues to put out into the world.
So, why your best friend matters is not just because of what they bring to your life in the present, but also how they push you and inspire you to succeed looking into the future, beyond your friendship.