“Who’s your best friend,” my mother asked my nephew who had come to visit us for the summer. The kid had just started his pre-school and had a vocabulary as you’d expect a 4-year-old to have. Turns out the word “best friend” was yet to be introduced to him so he was pretty confused and just gave my mother the blankest look he could manage. “Who do you spend the most time with?” my mother said in an attempt to hint on the probable features of a best friend. ‘Ryan!’ screamed my nephew as his eyes lit up with eagerness on this new finding. I was just smiling at his innocent reaction when it dawned on me. WE ARE TEACHING OUR KIDS THE WRONG MEANING OF THE WORD FRIENDS!!
As a child, all of us were asked a similar question by different adults and our limited vocabulary led us to name the person who we hang out with the most. While the definition has evolved and modified into something much more meaningful for some of us, others are still of the belief (knowingly or unknowingly) that your best friend is the person you spend the most time with.
Are you one of them? Let’s find out!
Answer these 5 questions in your head-
Who is my best friend at the moment?
How much time do I spend with this person and how long have I known him/her? Is spending a great deal of time with them or knowing them for a long time the only reason you consider them your best friend?
Does this person care about me? (think of any 5 instances which prove that they do)
How much do they know about me? (your likes/dislikes, what’s going on in your life)
If in a difficult situation, will this person be the first I’d reach out to? If so, would they be there for me?
Now let’s take up the possible answers-
1)The name part isn’t something I can help with, honestly. It’s okay to have multiple names and it is also okay to have no name at all. In the latter case just pick a close friend or a regular friend or a sibling maybe. If there is no one it is still understandable, just drop a comment with some kind of contact and I’d love to be of service. Not to toot my own horn or anything (fucking toot toot) but I am sure I can be a good friend ;).
2)So, moving on to the second and a very crucial question….is it? Like I said a lot of us have messed our definition of a best friend very early in life and it shows. Give it a moment and think. If the person in question moves away and you stop seeing each other as much as you do now, will you still be this close?
As someone who just moved from school to college, I have a very recent and personal experience in this field. The people I lived each moment with for the past 7-8 years are not even doing a cameo in my life now. Hard as it is, one thing I learned from this was that it is very easy to be ‘best friends’ with people you see daily but the real bond is put to test when you are distanced and only the bonds that get through this test are the ones worth keeping.
3)If you call your BFF and you’re going hysterical over something, what would be their reaction? Will they be understanding and do whatever they can to help you through this time or will they cut you off by making an excuse or maybe not even respond timely, I don’t even know which is worse honestly but what I do know that both of them are hurtful. Understanding and supporting somebody does not always mean that you agree with their perspective or agree to their actions every time. There may be times when your friend decided to call you out on your shit (let’s face it, none of us are complete and utter angles), does that mean they are not good to you? DEFINITELY NOT. It is their duty and right to call you out on your bs and get you to do the right things so don’t think you have the wrong person if they have been upfront about your ‘not-so-likable’ qualities with you, you should rather be thankful.
4)Naturally how much they know about you is not exactly a measure of how much you like to be with them but it is the human tendency to start reading into the habits and moods of our loved ones. Barney didn’t need Ted to spell out his needs for him to understand. One look at Ted and he knew. Now, this is no hard and fast rule about friendships or any relationship for that matter but it sure shows your understanding and concern with each other.
5)The last and the most mattering on the list is this one. CAN YOU COUNT UPON THE PERSON IN QUESTION? If yes, then great! You are one lucky person and god bless you but if not, then I am sorry my friend I think you need to rethink your choices from the very start.
What conclusion have you arrived at? Do you think you might have messed your or maybe your kid’s view of the word friendship? I think you should take some time and think it over. For now, we have a greater level of clarity of our friendships, at least more than what we had at the beginning of this article. I’d soon post another article talking more about my personal experiences on the same. Till then take care and stay safe.