The innate drive for a best friend begins very early. Over a decade has passed since my own time in grammar school, when classmates would tentatively approach one another and ask their friends if they’d like to take their relationship to the next step: “Will you be my best friend?”
In my case, I was the obnoxious toddler who already had one. I’d tug on my pigtails anxiously, as if preparing to turn down a marriage proposal. “My twin sister is already my best friend. But if you want you can be my second to best friend.” A slap in the face. I can see the cruelty now. The irony is, my classmates would smile and agree to this. After all, Second to Best Friend is a prized role. It doesn’t fit nicely on a business card and you won’t become the maid-of-honor, but it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
There’s a reason why we take this leap of faith as early as first grade; everyone needs a best friend. If you find yourself unable to take my word for it, here’s why being a best friend is my favorite job.
I get to practice long-term relationships
My best friend and I have been going steady since ‘98. This is the longest relationship I’m ever going to have. I think there’s something beautiful about knowing someone better than you know yourself. You get to have all those “old married couple moments,” from finishing each other’s sentences to picking fights over the placement of the TV clicker. My best friend knows when I’m feeling like I’ve just been hit by a truck or when I’m deliriously excite and can respond appropriately to either scenario. She knows when I’m feeling hangry and always graciously offers me part of her snack. She’s been there for everything.
There’s always someone in my corner
When it feels like the world is stacked against you, there’s always one person who isn’t. When you have a best friend, you can count on them through thick and thin. There’s no reason needed for a four o’clock in the morning call, no apologies when you scream at your friend without a reason other than that you feel downright rotten. Unconditional support is rare, but always present with a best friend.
I laugh more
Anyone who’s been in a committed best friendship has experienced those moments when you and your friend laugh at a joke that doesn’t make sense. During some of my deliriously tired late night adventures with my sister we’ve danced to “What Does the Fox Say” and tried to knock out each other’s teeth to summon the tooth fairy. On one particularly regrettable night, we even decided to be a dog and a fire hydrant for Halloween when we could find no satisfactory pair costumes.
I’m always ready for a photo op
There’s always that moment, be it planned or spontaneous, when you and your best friend show up wearing the same outfit. And while it’s humiliating in the moment, it makes for a photo that will spend a lifetime hanging on your wall.
I’m a better person
Everyday it’s easy to get caught up in my own personal struggles. Through no conscious decision, I seem to think only of myself. But when you have a best friend that needs you, you’d drop everything else in a heartbeat. Loving someone more than you love yourself is a redeeming quality, one that everyone should have.
Attention, Slopers! Set down your textbooks and pick up your phone. Before you have the chance to think twice, send out a text to that one person who’s been there through it all. (If it’s your mom, so be it.) After all, everyone needs a best friend.