The Slippery Slope of the “Best Friend” Title

It only occurred to me as I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed that yesterday was National Best Friend Day. There are many little celebration days in the world that don’t get true acknowledgement like the traditional holidays we are familiar with: Independence Day, Christmas, Spring Break, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, etc. However, this small little holiday got me thinking about what makes a best friend different from a really, really, REALLY good friend. Exactly what are the necessary requirements or events that must take place for anyone to determine that a friend has earned the status of a “best friend?”

**While I have no professional knowledge about human relationships or how to analyze them, these are my theories and thoughts about the subject**

Anyone who creates a friendship with someone always starts off at a basic level of understanding, that is: I am interested in you (and I want you to be interested in me), and I would like to learn more about you. That then leads to progressing the relationship one has initiated with another. Certain topics come up in casual conversation or you start asking questions and you realize you both have commonalities. Usually the more commonalities you find with each other, the more likely you are to progress your understanding of each other and thus your interaction with one another. When you find that you have little to no things in common, usually we let the relationship fade away with time by lessening our interactions with the other person.

At a certain stage, we find comfort in the other person because we have uncovered truths about each other and therefore have risked our emotional safety on the other person. With the risk seemingly not turning negative, we risk a little more to get more back. We begin to do activities together to bond, we begin to invite them into our personal spaces, and we begin to tell them about some more personal truths that were hidden before. Eventually, we feel like we know them inside and out and they know us in the same manner. We have solidified our relationship with each other. So what is stopping us from declaring this person as a best friend?

Honestly, it probably varies from person to person. For me, when I analyze my best friends, I sometimes question which ones fit the category and which ones don’t. I have often asked my best friends why we are best friends and even my ordinary friends why we are friends. Although, there are at least three people whom I never hesitate to call my best friends: Spencer, Monique and Alex. For them it doesn’t seem to make sense as to why I would question their best friend status. Considering each by themselves, they all have different reasons for becoming my best friends.

Spencer, was the first best friend I had ever had in my life where I actually felt genuine in calling him one. Before I had labeled others as best friends; however in retrospect that was because they were my only “friends” at the time. Spencer and I met each other in middle school and happened to sit right next to each other. I don’t know why we decided to talk to each other but we did. We had some things in common and we enjoyed talking to each other. We grew very close. Perhaps the reason I labeled him as a best friend was because he was the first where the term genuinely applied; he was the first friend that I felt was a true friend.

Where Monique is concerned, I cannot pinpoint exactly why I call her my best friend. I met her in high school, freshman year. We had the same class together and I admittedly was crushing on her for a long time. I never did ask her out because she was always taken. Somehow, we ended up bonding together. We revealed a lot about each other very quickly. I think this is because at this point in my life I was an extremely generous and kind person so she felt like she could trust me. At the time, I was also looking to make more friends since I had only had Spencer beforehand. I suppose at this point in our friendship, we have been there loyal and consistently enough for each other; we also have persevered through hardships together. The more I think on it, I suppose I consider her a best friend because I have mentally settled only that being the highest level we can achieve together. In the past I wanted more but was denied so I took the next best thing.

When it comes to Alex, well he is a special case. I met him in middle school as well but we didn’t become friends until high school junior year. We didn’t even go to the same high school but I remembered him after leaving middle school. He also happened to be good friends of Spencer. Honestly, I didn’t like him for whatever reason during middle school. By junior year of high school I had forgotten why I didn’t like him and so I decided to give him another chance.

I stood up for him on Facebook when he was being attacked but I didn’t expect him to really respond back to me afterward. All I wanted to do was to prevent a group of people from hammering on one person for illogical reasons. However, we grew close although we never really had any good face-to-face interaction. Eventually we made time to see each other in person but it was few-and-far between; but every time was quite heartfelt and easy to remember. I suppose he eventually earned best friend status when I realized how deeply we trusted each other. He openly told me that he truly trusts me and I did the same and that has always stuck with me.

While my three best friends aforementioned seemed weird to question why we are best friends, my other two best friends, Armand and Bryan, kind of float in and out of being called best friends.

Well, that’s a lie. Armand, I would consider a best friend now but Bryan still floats the line. These two are kind of strange. Armand gets this status because (and I can honestly say this) he is the only male best friend at the moment that I feel happy around, have a deep connection and history with, and can do absolutely nothing with and still feel fulfilled. I just feel something special with him that I don’t quite feel with the others, plus I have poured countless hours into our friendship.

Now to discuss Bryan. Bryan, oh boy. He is a difficult case. I would like to consider him a best friend but I’m torn. I will admit that he gets best friend privileges but I guess, maybe I don’t consider him a full-fledged best friend. We do have a long history together; we have had extremely deep moments of turmoil and hardships which we have pushed through together; and he makes me happy (for the most part.) So, exactly why I can’t put my whole heart on his best friend status, I can’t really say. On some days, I would say yes and on others I would say no. It’s a difficult situation he is in. For all of my best friends, I do not hesitate to put their needs before my own; it’s a habit I have developed (and maybe it will catch me one day.) I do the same for Bryan. It’s really weird. After all we have been through, he deserves the title but there’s just something missing. I don’t know what it is.

In comparison, all of my other 4 best friends must have something in common that unites them but that differentiates them from Bryan. While the 4 became best friends for different reasons, there has to be something they all have in common to get on my best friend list. However, I cannot determine what that is. And by theory, Bryan must be lacking this quality. Now, on some days I consider him on the list but on other days I don’t. So this quality must be able to shift or be enacted, I assume. Whatever it is, Bryan has it but I must not always see it and that prevents him from being on the list indefinitely.

The thing is, the term “best friend” is a slippery one. It’s actually a one-way street with two lanes. Why, some might ask? I say this because it is possible to feel like someone is your best friend but they don’t feel the same way. The reverse also applies. If you are lucky, you can turn that one-way into a two-way and have one lane go one way and the other lane the opposite.

Anyone can be friends but it is a difficult thing to have two friends both agree that they are best friends to each other. Honestly, the more that I think about it, the more that I realize that this is true. I know quite a few friends myself who admit that a certain person is there best friend but they may not receive that feeling back. This goes back to determining the difference between a really, really, REALLY good friend and a best friend. It is not as easy as one might think.

Admittedly, Bryan considers me a best friend but I sometimes do not consider him one. Spencer and Alex are both my best friends but I’m actually not sure if they consider me one of their best friends. Armand and Monique are the only two whom I know that we have a two-way road. We are best friends to each other and know it. Honestly, one should count themselves lucky if they’ve found a best friend and share a two-way road with them. Those are rare to come by and more times than not, many don’t realize it.

I suppose I still have not answered my original question have I? I really don’t know the answer myself but I am actively searching for it. Hopefully, one day I will find out what separates the extremely good friends from the best ones (at least for myself.) I do stand by what I said earlier: it varies from person to person. While I do admit this to myself that both the best friends and the extremely good ones have almost everything in common, there is at least one thing that separates the besties from the goodies. I will figure it out someday.

I would be eager to hear any thoughts anyone has on the subject! Please comment below. As I normally state, all comments and thoughts are welcome.


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