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My girlfriend confided that she considers no one else her best friend but her sister. To her, being a best friend is a huge role to fill, and it takes a huge amount of trust just to carry that title. We could have hundreds of friends but since "best" is superlative, it should be given careful consideration. The qualification should be stringent.
Her principle is backed up with a story. She was disappointed when an elementary classmate called her best friend but when the new school year came, it was as if they no longer know each other. So when a person approaches her with the intent of being her "best" friend, she takes it with a grain of salt.
I am fortunate to have several friends. Two-three of them consider me their best friend. I feel elated, of course. It is not every time when someone considers you more special than all his or her acquaintances and grants you the privilege of being called the "best." But what makes a friend, a best friend? When are we supposed to escalate the label?
Last year, I was privileged to be asked to be the best man for one of my friends. What an invitation! To be requested a special place in a person's memorable day speaks volumes. I wonder what I have done to his life to be given such an invitation.
Assessing our friendship, I learned that we have known each other for decades. We have gone through several camps together, mission and ministry trips, biking, hiking, swimming other fun stuff! So I guess this is one key to being considered a best friend: knowing each other for a long time, and spending considerable time together. Because you will know more about a person when you intentionally spend time together.
Also, I learned that our friendship has gone through several phases. We have laughed together, shared meals together, and also cried together. Our friendship has witnessed our respective vulnerabilities. I remember a time when I openly expressed my insecurities, cried like a child in front of my friend, and expressed how envious I am of him. It was liberating. Funny thing is, I didn't feel any embarrassment, rather I felt empowered knowing that I found someone who accepts you no matter what. So second consideration is the opportunity to be vulnerable with one another.
Lastly, I realized that our physical meet-ups waned when we reached a certain age. Hiking and biking went less frequent, group chats turned a little bit quiet, and our respective schedules went packed and difficult to catch up. Adulthood made us busier and preoccupied with many things. But this doesn't mean we are no longer friends. A lasting friendship understands that life hits different for each other. Some have it easy, some have it a bit challenging, but nevertheless, true friends commit to the friendship come hell or high water.
Over the years, I can say my friendships have taught me that I am not made to go through life alone. Same with my girlfriend. Her relationship with her sister is an example that we are wired differently, and we look for certain things from certain people so we can trust them and approve them as our best friends. And whoever fits into our criteria, we value them as a significant part of our life, often as someone who "sticks closer than a brother."
Do you have a best friend? What makes you consider them the "best" and most qualified to be called as such? Whoever that person is, I'm pretty sure you have a lot of stories to tell about your wonderful friendship.