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Best Friends Forever

posted at 10:06 pm
on Dec. 13, 2010

Comments: 1 so far

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Who is your best friend?

In my own life, I have been lucky to have a number of amazing best friends, and to regret not spending more time and energy on people who should or could have been.  Here’s the list of those folks.

Alan Renaud
Cody McLean
Debbie Nathanson
Degan Beley
George Stankow
Grady Galvin
Guru Gunaratnam
Jason House
Jason whose last name I forget
Judd Palmer
Kevin Walsh
Laura Mason
Liz Empett
Matt Pape
Monique Trottier
Ryan Yeo
Signe Ensign
Stacy Batgirl
Steve Brown
Susannah Gardner
Thijs Spoor
Toni Sciacqua
Virginia Smith
Zak Greant

Addendum: January 2011

I wanted to add these important omissions, and to clarify that this whole list, isn’t just a list of best friends, it’s also of people who, as I say in the preceeding paragraph, could have or should have been:

Ashley Bristowe
Justin Oppelaar
Marcie Giroux
My mom

Now, you answer the question: Who is your best friend?

Do you have an answer at the tip of your tongue?

If you’re fairly young, you do.

If you’re fairly old, you might, too.

If you’re in the middle, though, I think it’s likely to be hazier—or answerless.

Susie asked me this question recently, and I didn’t have a ready answer. Instead, it unlocked a huge avalanche of questions in my head about this simple thing we call “best-friend-ness”. And, during a recent quick visit back to Calgary, I had ample opportunity and incentive to ponder those (these) questions:

What is a best friend? Is it just the best of your current friends? Or is it something more than that?

I think it’s something more… it’s someone you can rely on, not just someone you get along with. It’s someone who you trust with the important facts and feelings in your life. There can definitely be times in your life when you don’t have a best friend—when you lose your best friend, even—though you still have general friends.

It’s not just enough to have a #1 ranking amongst a weak field of candidates.

Can you have more than one best friend?

Interestingly: I didn’t used to think so.  I used to think you could have friends who fulfilled different roles in your life, and who were very good and close, but that you had to have one best friend (or none), by virtue of the name itself.

But in answering the question above, I realized that if a best friend is more a quality, a type, of friendship, more like a Medal of Valour or being picked to the Hall of Fame—then there’s no numerical limit. So, yes, you can have more than one at a time, if you are blessed.

How long do you have to know someone before they can be your best friend?

Not at all long, in fact, it can be close to instantaneous.  But a best friend gets far better with age.  A new best friend is like a new pair of jeans; wonderful if they fit perfectly, but still not yet as wonderful as they will be when broken in.

Should you have a best girl friend and a best guy friend, or are best friends gender-separated like tennis or the Academy Awards for actor and actress?

Should your best friend be someone of the same sex?

I think that, as a thought exercise, you can designate a best friend of each gender, even if you believe you can only have one best friend; you then just have to decide which one is the BESTEST best friend. But I think it’s more likely that you will have a best friend of one gender, and a series of relationships with someone of the other gender, just because of the way relationships evolve. And also, as I said above, you might believe you can have more than one best friend, so then, no problem.

Can your spouse be your best friend?

Can your spouse NOT be your best friend?

The answer is yes to each, and this can change too, of course, over time.

But, should your spouse be your best friend, or must they be? That’s tougher.

I say: the two roles are independent, and can be the filled by the same person, but also may not be, and that’s OK, too.

Can your best friend, think you’re NOT his or her best friend? Does bestfriendity have to be reciprocated?

Since different people need different things from a best friend, and because often, relationships develop at unequal rates in different people, I think this can definitely happen. In fact, it is probably happens for a stretch of time in the development of almost every best friend relationship.

But in the long run, I think relationships need to find balance and stability—which is not the same thing as equality.  So yes, you can have a best friend, and that person can have a different best friend, and it’s more important to have stability.

Most importantly: How do you be a best friend, and how do you keep a best friend?

That’s like asking: what’s the best way to make a salad? In both, there are too many ways to consider, but adding bacon never hurts.

Ahem.  In any case, there are some good ways and plenty of wrong ways,  so here are some points to consider:
* be there in times of crisis
* be reliable
* be a good listener
* be fun and positive and creative
* be an inspiration
* be loyal

But most importantly:
* be your best you, and
* put time into the relationship

Everything else flows from that.



 
 

 

Previous entry:
Small Claims Court Addendum

Next entry:
Stop One: Las Vegas

Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

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“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

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“I play with variables constantly.”

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“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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Travis, what a beautiful set of meditations on friendship. Thank you for writing this.

 

Posted by nan
  at 9:03 pm on Dec. 14, 2010

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