Remember your best friend in elementary? Remember how you use to have sleepovers with Barbie in tow? Or play cowboys and Indians in the front yard with the toy guns and bows made from sticks and your mother’s thread? How many of you are still friends with that person? Probably not many. My best friend from Girl Scouts and I made it about eleven years before we called it quits. By college, we realized we both had different ideas about friendship and basically exhausted all we had for each other. To be honest, it was all for the best.
Throughout my school years, I’ve had many friends achieve the “best friend” level and for some of them, they ended in their due time. I used to wonder why friendships had to end. While in the midst of it all, I remember we would always fantasize how grown-up life would be with each other living next door, swapping kids to allow for date nights.
As I grew older, I started seeing the reality of the junior high claim to be Best Friends Forever (BFFs) is only the result of our basic need for companionship. Males are a bit different but girl best friends are nearly like relationships, sans the sexual aspects. We pour our hearts and souls into the individuals because that is the person we believe we can trust. The truth is, people change.
I’ve been through “breakups” over distance, over life changes, and over friends that allow their personal issues to deter them from being a real friend. In my last year of undergrad work, I have learned to not sweat the things that were not meant to be. Most importantly, I realized that good friendships cannot be based on time alone. I know now that I was mistaking time for experience. It is not just the daily lunches, the midnight Wal-Mart runs or even the plethora of inside jokes. True best friends get mad, they fight and can even hurt each other, but it is the way they come out of it that proves the vitality of the friendship. It separates the bad from the good, the leaves from the roots, the weak from the strong. It is when the dark times do not deter you from being there for that person. It is when neither of you will give up even when giving up may seem easier. It is when in your heart you know that the skinned knees will be worth it.
I truly love all of my friends, but I have to say that of the collection of friends in my life, past and present, one friend stands out. I know that no matter what, he’s got my back and I have his. We have both proven it time and time again. He calls it “showing his love.” I call it being a true friend.