Your Best Friend

When you first meet your best friend, it’s like the answer to a prayer. Maybe you’re two, four, ten, thirteen. But when you meet them, things start to make sense to you. You are no longer forced to sit alone in the cafeteria or bounce through friend groups faster than you can learn your times tables. You know that when you’re having a bad day, your best friend is there to make you feel better. When you’re bored, you can pick up the phone and she’ll be there as fast as she possibly can. You go on adventures, conquering imaginary beasts and braving dark, scary forests. You can tell her anything at all and she’ll listen. She throws you surprise parties and bakes you an elaborate cake on your birthday. Eventually, people start to mix up your names or roll their eyes when you say things simultaneously.

When your best friend has big secrets to tell, you’re the first person she runs to. Even when it’s hard, she knows she can trust you. So you trust her too. You are the only person who understands her, who doesn’t judge her for being the way she is. You aren’t afraid to be yourself around her, to express the most embarrassing thoughts or emotions. You are each other’s better half; neither of you fully exist unless you are together. When she goes through the darkest times of her life, you are there to listen and to beg her to keep going; that it’s worth it. You give her confidence; she returns the favor.

It seems perfect when you’re young. It makes sense. But you change. Sometimes you find out that when she told you the biggest secrets, she was lying. Sometimes the trust that you thought you had turns out to be false. Sometimes you get angry. It’s not perfect because she’s not perfect, you think. You hold a grudge for as long as you possibly can. You don’t tell her how you really feel because you don’t want to ruin the friendship, so you pretend that nothing happened. Then other things start to bother you. The way she acts, the person she’s become. But you never say anything. Maybe you start to take it out on her because you’re so angry with yourself for keeping it all in. You wait years, always apologizing after fights because you just want to get it over with, even though it compromises your true opinions. You wait so long that maybe it’s too late. She’s made a lot of mistakes that she’s never apologized for, and then you realize that you’ve made a lot of mistakes too, and two imperfect and stubborn people don’t compromise easily. So maybe you stop trying because it’s easier that way, because that way you don’t have to fight. So that way it doesn’t hurt all the time. And maybe that’s not fair to her. But you don’t know if you could try without losing yourself in the process.

When you lose your best friend, it’s the most painful feeling in the world. There are pieces of you that never recover from that; the awkward interactions wound you every time. And those wounds are where she lives. You never forget or stop caring, just pretend that you do. You watch her live her life from the sidelines as she takes center stage. You know that even though things have changed, you are with her just as much as she is with you. You are still proud when she succeeds and disappointed when she fails. Maybe someday you will be able to work things out. Maybe you won’t. Maybe she can never again be your best friend. But for a long time, she was. She saved you when you were falling apart. She was your best friend, and she matters.

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25 comments

  1. I know exactly how this feels. When my best friend decided that she was in agreement with the Catholic Church’s views on being gay, our friendship slowly splintered until we just stopped talking altogether. It was the worst heartbreak. I sort of want to send this post to her.

    1. I’m so sorry that happened to you. I can only imagine how difficult that must have been. There are very few things in this life worse than losing someone who meant the world to you.

  2. It’s tough to watch a relationship deteriorate, no matter what type of relationship it is. Sadly, people change and sometimes they grow apart because of those changes. It’s good that you recall the positives with such clarity.

    1. I just have to keep reminding myself that no matter what happens in the future, every relationship I’ve had is a part of my past and I wouldn’t change it for anything…even though it’s near impossible sometimes.

  3. As I’m getting older I am starting to grow apart with my best friend who also happens to be my roommate. We’re at two different places in life and I notice that he is not available to me, he doesn’t listen when I’m hurting or when I’m done, but is always looking for help (money, an ear, etc). It makes me sad that we don’t really contribute to each other anymore, but maybe that’s the way life works. Your post made me reflect on some things. Thank you for writing.

    1. You’re welcome. Sometimes it isn’t anything in particular that drives you apart, it’s just the way things go. Guess we both have to move on and make some new friends, eh? I’m not sure I remember how to do that…

      1. I guess so. I’ve just recently befriended a group of intellectuals and it’s nice, they’re very welcoming and just interesting people. We play trivia on tuesdays and drink beer haha… so I know I remember how to make friends… just be that weird guy in the room and someone will feel bad enough for you to talk to you lol

  4. You are so skilled at writing words and laying out emotions that readers can relate to. This was very well done. Losing friends hurts like hell. Even when it’s just time and distance that pulls you apart, you know when it’s over and it’s such a loss.

  5. Hmmm…reading this has made me question myself as to why I have not really ever felt this way before. I’ve had friends whom I considered good friends..and yes, maybe best friends…but not really…

    Nice post..it’s got me thinking and wondering…to dig around to see if there may be something to resolve.. 😉

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