Then you’ve come to the right place. Or if you do have a best friend, then please consider staying a while longer to discuss the subject further.
Allow me first to place you in a hypothetical situation. You’ve just met someone awesome- they have a great sense of humor, shared interests, an infectious personality, and basically everything that urges you to befriend them, and you’re off to an ideal start. But as they’re sharing snippets of their past or some of their crazy anecdotes, they say something, and your heart suddenly snags on their words. It’s as if they’ve twisted a sharp dagger in your side, causing you to fall to your knees, writhing in pain and agony. What exactly are those words? Best friend.
Wait what? Allow me to explain. Within the context of the conversation, it usually sounds something like, “So, my best friend and I were at the park when…”but regardless of how the story ends, whether a bear ends up attacking the pair, or if one of them slips on a banana, or even ends up getting launched into outer space leaving the other responsible for a rescue operation, it doesn’t matter, because I’ve pretty much stopped listening.
I’m already hung up on the words “best friend”. They resound in my head like an infuriating chant. Best friend. Best friend. Best friend. Guess what, Anusha? You don’t have one! And look and this awesome individual! They’ve already found their soul mate! Their maid of honor/best man! Their trusty companion! Their pal! Their buddy! And what of you, you lone lonely loner! Where’s yours, huh? Oh yeah! They don’t exist, do they?
And try as I may to push the aggravating little voice aside as I continue the conversation, it’s always nagging me at the back of my mind. As an undergraduate student, I tend to encounter this situation a lot because of the sheer number of interesting/amazing people I meet on campus.
And allow me to explain my situation further. It’s not as if I have no friends whatsoever. That I eat lunch in a secluded little corner far away from other human beings. That I have a pet rock named Henry that I confide all of my deepest, darkest secrets to. (Pet rocks are too unresponsive for my taste.) I actually have a great number of people that I love, trust, and converse with on a regular basis, and I absolutely could not do without them.
Then what’s the problem? one might astutely ask. If you have friends and family that love and support you, why does it bother you so much when people categorize each other as a “best friend”? Shouldn’t you feel secure in your own relationships?
And to those inquiries I would say, wow you are perceptive, someone deserves a gold star! But it’s not so much that I’m dissatisfied with my relationships, but more so that the title of “best friend” strikes me as incredibly exclusive.
When someone says “best friend”, it implies that this person is their number one, their nùmero uno, that no other friend could even compare to the level of intimacy, love, and respect that is between these two people. And for me that’s kind of a downer. It tells me that no matter how much time, effort, and commitment that I invest into this relationship, that I’ll only ever be second best. Only a supporting character, but never the lead role. An appetizer but never an entree.
And as the delicate little flower that I am, this bruises my ego. Why must people structure their friendships in a hierarchical order? Why must one person take precedence over all of the rest? Why can’t people refer to those closest to their hearts as “best friends“? See what I did there?
Let me repeat that stroke of genius again, “best friends“. Rather than exclude all of those other people who love and care for you dearly, you could acknowledge them all by just adding an”s” to the end of that infuriating word! And just like that, you’ve opened up the possibility to promising acquaintances of entering that fantastic circle of individuals.
When you say “best friend” (note, singular) you’ve essentially built an insurmountable wall between yourself and everyone else who isn’t that special other person. You leave sensitive and vastly ambitious people like me feeling deflated and embittered by the prospect that the quality of friendship you offer will never be quite as good as someone else’s.
And to all of this, someone might say, “Well why does it matter what someone else thinks? I have my best friend, and that’s all there is to it.” And this is a perfectly respectable stance to take on the subject. All I’m saying that is that every relationship is slightly different. Of course, you may enjoy spending time with some people more than others, but by placing one person on a pedestal far above everyone else, you leave those below you feeling neglected and insignificant.
What I would prefer instead of a singular best friend is a close network of people for you to love and rely on. And in this way, not only are you avoiding placing incredible expectations on one person alone, but you’re also distributing the warmth and intimacy of your relationships with those you love. By looking past the “best friend” mentality, you’ve opened up infinitely more possibilities of enduring and flourishing friendships.