A quick Google search of ‘best friend’ presents various links ranging from Urban Dictionary defining them as ‘very special people in your life’, to BuzzFeed telling you what to say to your best friend. There is even a wikihow guide (I kid you not) with the title ‘How to Be a Great Best Friend (with Pictures)’.
The two words ‘best friend’ have been enough for me break out in a cold sweat for as long as I can remember. Unlike the rest of the girls in my year group who paired off almost immediately, I was always just on the edge of a pair, never truly finding my other half. I always felt like the third wheel, awkwardly laughing at in jokes that I didn’t understand. I felt jealous about how all the ‘true’ best friends around me would always be in each other’s pockets, sharing each other’s clothes and having their own sleepovers.
It wasn’t until towards the end of secondary school that I became really close with one of my friends, but I was wary of labelling her ‘best’, because she was one of those girls who seems to have line of best friends. It’s very strange how the idea of being someone’s best friend can make you feel both included and insecure at the same time. I was and still am confident in the strength of our relationship but unsure about whether she considered me to be her ‘best’ friend too. I knew that asking her would be like stepping in a time machine back to when I was five or six but it is also a question that can only really prompt one answer, regardless of how truthful it is.
When I really think about it, the whole concept of having a ‘best’ friend is slightly warped to me. Does that mean that the rest of your friends are just there to help you kill time until you can be reunited with your one true best friend? Do we subconsciously grade all of our friends and acquaintances from ‘best’ to worst? There are just so many unanswered questions.
If the idea of a best friend didn’t exist, it would have saved me a lot of stress. I would have been able to enjoy the friendships that I did have when I was younger a lot more without constantly trying to assess whether my friends regarded me as highly as I regarded them.
It took me until the ripe old age of 18 to work out who my closest friends were. These were the three friends from home who I actually kept in contact with after I moved to uni and the ones that I genuinely missed. At Uni I made three more close friends, the three people who mean the most to me, and the ones I can fully be myself around. These 6 people are the most important people in my life now excluding family and I am content without having to pick one as my ‘favourite’. After all, you never know who else you might meet. Without a ‘best’ friend I’ll be able to have as many friends around me as I like, without categorising them.