There are a lot of ladies out there who have a friend(s) that they grew up with. Their parents were friends, so they were raised as friends. Or they met in the Kindergarten and have been best buds ever since. I used to be envious of those people because I didn’t find my best friend for life at infancy. As a matter of fact, I was the odd girl who just really loved her mom, which apparently wasn’t “in” (especially in middle school).
I wanted to be friends with someone who grew up with me and knew me from early childhood like some of the other girls. I wanted to have a lot of friends. I wanted people to call me (not on my cellphone, because we didn’t have those… I grew up in the “have your own phone line” era), or page me (oh yes, I did have a beeper). Side note, how many middle school aged children even know what a beeper is these days? I wanted to be someone’s number one, go to person. Instead my adolescent friendship story went a little like this:
When I was Kindergarten to second grade age, I attended a private school. There were literally about 8 kids in each of my classes, three of which were girls (including me). During my time at this school, I had a hard time making friends with the girls. There was so much drama. I remember coming home crying, not able to understand why they were so mean. I have always been an extremely friendly and outgoing person, a social butterfly if you will. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I am a pretty awesome person to to be around – God just made me that way (not my most humble moment). So I didn’t understand, and I always took personal offense when people didn’t like me (I think I grew out of that in college – sorta). On the plus side, I did have friends in my neighborhood, but eventually we moved, and long distance friendships are hard to maintain when you’re eight.
The private school that I was attending only went up to the second grade, so my third grade year, I started going to public school. Making friends there was much easier (maybe because there were more than 2 girls to choose friends from). Once I got enrolled, I stayed in same school district with the same friends from third grade through my senior year in high school. My elementary friends were great, middle school friends (do we even want to go there), same friends, a bloody NIGHTMARE (second grade drama magnified by one million). High school – pretty stellar (mostly because of band, yes I was/am a nerd – great memories). Then there is college. By the time college arrives, the drama stages are over (for most of us). You gravitate toward people who are like you and BAM! Friends! Just like that! It’s not complicated, it’s perfect.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a friend as a person who you like and enjoy being with. I like that definition. It is so simple. However, Merriam-Webster does NOT have a definition for a best friend. I did find one, but I do not consider Urban Dictionary a credible source of information.
So what is the difference between friend and best friend? There are several people in my life who I consider a friend, and I only pick good ones. I do not want to, in any way, diminish the value of a friend. I do however, want to recognize that there are some friends who move past good and become best.
These are the friends who have become apart of your family, who understands the drama and everyone’s personality, the only person other than you who can talk about how crazy they are. These are the friends who hurt with you, cry with you, and drop everything to be with you in your time of need no matter where they live. These are the friends you can go months without seeing and pick up right where you left off. These are the friends that if you randomly knock on their door in the middle of the day, they’ll open it, and be happy to see you. These are the friends who will tell you when you’re wrong, when you’re too loud, when your attitude is bad, when you need to apologize, and when you need to mind your own business. These are the friends who you’ll have a great time with whether your schedule is jammed packed with “girls day” activities or you’re just sitting around in your pajamas all day watching TV and movies. These are the people who the word friend just isn’t enough.
Although I didn’t find these friends at the ripe age of 2 or 3, I did find them, and they are such a blessing to my life.
As I’ve gotten older, I have recognized that the amount of time you’ve known someone doesn’t factor into the meaningfulness of the relationship. I have also learned that it isn’t the quantity of friends that you have that add value to your life, but the quality. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that friendships sometimes have rough patches (just like all other relationships) and to overcome them brings you closer. Looking back, I’ve realized that in addition to the people who God sent me to be my unbiological sisters, I’ve had what I thought I wanted all those years ago, which is a person to be friends with from infancy, and her name is Mom.
“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” ~Proverbs 18:24