It was the first day of my second year of middle school and I’d just gotten my table arrangements for my Social Studies course. I was sitting with a group of kids that I didn’t know very well. I remember a few kids protested because they didn’t get to choose their seats and they didn’t get to sit by their friends that they’d already made the year before. I’ll never forget what the teacher said, though the exact words have likely faded and changed through memory.
Do you think you get to choose your friends? You don’t get to choose your friends. You don’t get to choose where you live, or where you go to school, or what classes you’re in, or who you sit with at the table. In life you’ll always have reasons you are near the people you’re near, and those are the people who are going to be your friends.
It was probably too deep a concept for someone still struggling with the reality of puberty, but I’ve grown to appreciate the idea the older I’ve gotten. You can’t be friends with someone if you’re never interacting with them. How often do we get to choose who we’re with and who we’re talking to? The older you get, the more choice you have, and the harder it gets. If you want to develop friendships you have to go out of your way to do it. You have to talk to strangers, meet friends of friends, join social groups, or somehow develop friendships through work, which can sometimes have limitations of it’s own.
I was thinking last weekend about friendship in relationships and how the dynamic of friendship changes when you’re partnered. My boyfriend and I were having a conversation about whether or not your partner should be your best friend.
I feel as though your partner should be your best friend in all ways that a person is your best friend. Trust, common interests, time together, a shared sense of humor, open communication, a desire to be together, a mutual interest in strengthening the bond you have together. But your partner should also not restrict you from developing other friendships outside of the relationship, including having a person. That person who is there for you in your life even if your relationship ends.
Do you consider your partner your best friend? Do you have a best friend outside of your relationship? How did you meet that person?
And equally interesting: If you were not in a relationship with your s/o – would you be friends?