Jason is my best friend. By any and all qualifications that matter in a friend, let alone a best friend, he ranks supreme. He is the first person I text when I want to share news. He’s the first person I text when I have nothing to say. And he’s the only person that I’ll actually use my phone to call – except the government, my healthcare provider, and very rarely with some shame, Comcast.
How I communicate with him makes him my best friend. Not just when and how I communicate, but also what I say.
At the start of a relationship we tell each other whispered secrets as tests of loyalty. In bed at night, those first sleepovers, we stay up later than we’re used to, running on pure adrenaline. We tell each other secrets. I feel this way, I’ve never told anyone else before. We wait for them to scream. They don’t. We fall into the honeymoon period, we rock back and forth, we fall in love. And then, deep-seeded security, comfortable and content, it becomes all too easy to stop sharing these things. More often than not it’s because these feelings we used to share are now about this person. We wonder if it’s safe to share. I am afraid, are you afraid too?
A best friend says yes, a best friend says, lets be afraid together. Then maybe we won’t be so afraid anymore. The relationship you have with your partner, because of the depths it seeks, is one of the most important relationships you have.
The problem with articles that ask this question, this big question: who is your best friend? is that they work off of, and often value, outdated modes of relationships. Antiquities of culture. This perception that you will have a soul mate of a best friend, the same way you have a soul mate of a partner. Maybe you have a best friend, just one, the very best. The person who you have rated and graded, who floated to the top, the science experiment of all your people. I look at my friends and I see too many. I know that the work I put into these soul mate-friendships is what makes them special. No arbitrary grading scale will do.
Putting people into these boxes of best or worst or most valuable isn’t fair to me and it’s certainly not fair to my friends. I steal from polyamory, I steal and I don’t care. They’re all important to me in different ways.
Learning how to express this, learning how to value your friends so they feel best, that’s what’s the most important thing.
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