I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about all of the different friends I’ve had throughout the years, specifically my “best friends”, and how they have changed as my life has changed. Some have stayed through several stages of my life, I’ve lost some to unfortunate fall outs, and some friendships have just simply faded over time due to distance or differing lifestyles. Whatever the case, I fully believe that these people were placed in my life for me at that time because I needed them to help me grow, teach me a lesson, or provide support to me when I needed it.
Like everyone else, I had my first best friends. These are the people you meet in kindergarten that you’re friends with because your moms know each other and you’re allowed to go play at their house. They were people that I considered friends up until I graduated from high school, and even now I would consider them friends although we no longer keep in touch. Our lives just simply drifted apart. These friends were important because they helped me learn how to socialize so I didn’t become a weirdo and gave me someone to discuss my first crushes with so I could make sure they were cute enough to “like”.
My second best friends were those I made when I began playing sports. These girls shared my humor and my hobbies so it makes sense they were my besties all through high school. They stuck with me through that awkward stage in middle school where everyone is pimply, has boyfriends they never speak to (I lived in the pre-cell phone middle school era), and has serious FOMO. A few of these girls remained my best friends even into college (my current stage in life). These friends taught me how to be comfortable being my weird, often awkward self, were my constant therapists when I was acting emotionally unstable (don’t act like you’ve never been there), and helped me become a better friend and person. It’s impossible to even begin describing how important these girls were in my life.
Also throughout high school, I had several different “best” friends, my “ride or die”, if you will. What I am describing here is the person I spent almost all of my time with. We needed to talk every single day, likely throughout the entire day; we knew everything about each other. There was never a weekend I didn’t see them or a social event I went to without them. These friends changed somewhat often for me depending on sports, class associations in school, if our boyfriends hung out often, etc. This was the person I would attend Friday night football games with, call Saturday afternoon to see what we were doing that night, and spend Sundays laying in bed watching marathons of TV shows/napping with because we were both too hungover to do anything else. No matter what the case for our best-friendship, these girls provided me with a confidant, allowed me to be one for them, and provided me with a house to hang out at to avoid my own family when they were annoying.
When I got to college, the criteria for friendship changed some. It was harder to find people with similar interests, so those in close proximity became my go-to friends. After settling into my new home, getting a job, and becoming involved in my actual major, I was eventually able to find friends that suited me better. I have found that as I grow and mature, my friendships are formed with people who, while having similar personalities to mine, are also completely different. That is a hard concept to explain, but we balance each other out and ultimately share the same core values. I am drawn to people who can tell me like it is and truly understand where I’m coming from. And while I knew that some of my best friends in high school would not remain my best friends forever, I know these girls will.
I have seen many things on social media lately (memes mostly) about people becoming territorial when someone refers to their best friend as theirs too. I also know of people who get upset if their best friend has another best friend. To me, this is ridiculous. The friendships I have with all of the women I refer to as my “best friend” are very different, and each friendship provides me with a quality that benefits my individual growth (and mental health if I’m being completely honest). I think it’s okay to have as many best friends as you want, for as long or short of a time period as you want, because you need different people for different things.
I would like to say thank you to all of my best friends throughout the years: Hannah, Kelsey, Jaime, Crystal, Amanda, Carly, Mallory, Mackenzie, Sarah, Sam, Courtney, Annalisa, Chelsea, Bree, Lori, Tess, and Elle. I wouldn’t be the same without any of you.