Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Best Friends...Forever???

So, where was I??

In the age of initials, shortcuts, memes, and the like a few stick out like LOL, BRB, IMO and BFF. Now the last one, BFF, tends to be geared more towards young girls (but not exclusively) and stands for Best Friends Forever. Common use would be (on Facebook or the like) "Chillllliiiinnnn wit my BFF". Ahem. Now, the first 2 words are words we all used growing up and still do today. Best Friends. But forever? Well, more times then not, it doesn't happen. Assuming you're over the age of 25 (maybe younger) who was your best friend in 2nd grade? Are they still your best friend now? Do you even speak to them? If no then does that mean that friendship at THAT point in time meant anything less in retrospect? Does it mean that former best friend is now an enemy (or frenemy as the young ones like to say)? Not in most cases. The bottom line is most friendships formed at a young age are born of location, school, or like activities and not out of actual friendship. Real friendship may or may not happen. If it does then maybe you are going to be BFF's if not then maybe you'll just be F's

Let's get one thing straight first. Proclaiming someone a "best friend" is a lot of pressure. You're starting a relationship by qualifying it. What about your other friends who have no been designated something other then best? Or what if this "best friend" doesn't see you in the same way? Wow, awkward. For the rest of this pointless blather I will stick to best friend but I don't agree with it. Nope, no sir I don't

What is a best friend? To me it's that person outside your family that you spend the most time with, trust the most, confide in the most, and just plain enjoy being around. So, by that definition your best friend is unlikely to be your best friend from kindergarten to retirement as your life changes and to be someones "best friend" isn't always as easy as just saying it. I had a best friend from Kindergarten to 9th grade. We did everything together but we started moving different directions. Him towards a more popular group and me to several diverse groups. There was no bitter, seminal moment and there was no dislike we just stopped being friends. Shit happens. The guy I still to this call my best friend I didn't meet until I was 16 but is still my guy when the chips are down. Unfortunately he lives hundreds of miles away and we rarely see each other (and if you've been reading you know my disdain for phone calls). The 3 people I spend the most time with I've been friends with for 27 years, 25 years (we knew each other in high school but we ever really "hung out" etc) and about 7-8 years. Not to mention I'm lucky enough to still see friends occasionally that I've known for decades. While all extraordinary amounts of time most of us didn't meet until long after the formative years but I'd trust all of the guys I just mentioned with my life. Seriously. And how do I refer to each and every one of them? As ONE of my BEST friends

The problem now days tends to be the total immersion of entire families and groups of friends into best friendship. Parents of kids who are friends tend to become friends which is awesome until the kids stop being friends. Then you learn if it was only the kids you had in common. I had a lot of friends growing up my parents loved and their parents loved me back. All that said they never meddled, never stopped liking those kids, and certainly never become, um, BFF's with those kids parents. The stress and pressure this causes kids is unnecessary. When you're in grade school you go with the flow, no need to rock the boat. But when things open up in middle school and high school kids are now developing their own personality, opinions, likes and dislikes which may now be the complete opposite of your BFF. It happens. The thing is growing up is tough enough on kids and they don't need their parents, siblings, or peers pressuring them over who their best friend is. If there is no animosity, let nature take it's course. If there is animosity, relax, it will likely work itself out if they were really friends to start with. If they're never friendly again no big deal they will both have friends aplenty as the years roll on

I guess my best advice is don't worry so much about labels. Friends are friends, best or otherwise. These days you can have friends you never see but communicate with constantly, friends you make through chats, video games or social media, work friends, church friends, bar friends...see what I mean? Labels. Friends are friends. Every real friend I've ever had has left some kind of impression on my life and I don't regret a single one of those friendships. It's unlikely your best friend from 2nd grade will be your best friend in high school, post college, middle age, etc. But they may still be friends. And even if they're not they were at one point and that can never be taken away