A lot of people, me included, have convinced ourselves that relationship labels have long passed their sell-by date. We shrug friendship titles off our shoulders and stick them onto hangers of the past, yet another relic of the yesteryear. But in our most humbling moments, we still often find ourselves craving and scrabbling for a different kind of comfort to pour oil over our troubled waters. A kind of safe place that cannot be reached via a friendly family hug or even with a listening ear from the most patient of partners. That safe place can only be reached with the warmth and company of your best friend.
I know. I can almost feel my eyeballs inching towards my skull, tempted to do a whole hundred eighty roll at the mushiness of where this is going. But there’s really no escaping the fact that there are times where all you need is a hearty, chatty meal with your best friend and some down time to get rid of the weariness and negative vibes weighing you down. Sage for the soul, if you will. Personally, I’ve always had a fantasy of my friendships growing old with me, à la Absolutely Fabulous complete with the grit and humour of Edina and Patsy. It struck a loud chord in me when I was watching Bridget Jones’ Baby over the weekend and seeing how disconnected Bridget was with her best friends and how different their worlds were compared to when it all began made me twang with nostalgia.
It’s funny thinking that you go through life meeting so many different people fleetingly and you never realize when someone is going to mean something more to you eventually. Sometimes I think it would be so much easier and faster if there was a tiny ping every time we met someone who was going to make a significant impact on our lives. My ping moment with my best friend was the moment she pluckily came charging to my defense in the face of a misogynistic bully and showed all the menace of a seasoned brute. Eleven year old me was left in awe as eleven year old her schooled this saucy little boy, arms pinned to her sides, school uniform flailing and everything. Ping. Another friend claims he met his best friend on their very first day of kindergarten at the tender age of five. Mustering up his courage to introduce himself to someone, he picked the little girl closest to him only to be rewarded with a sly pinch to the arm and a kick in the shin because “no boys allowed”. Ping.
No man is an island; even the grumpiest, most standoffish individual in the world would be a better person tenfold with someone by their side. That’s not to say that it’s all rainbows and fairy cupcake exchanges all year round even with the presence of a best friend. The saddest thing is that “We hurt the ones we love the most” and without realizing it, when we go through bad patches sometimes we subconsciously drag our loved ones into the eye of the storm with us. Whether it’s projecting those insecurities unto them, or underestimating their capabilities to empathize and as a result pulling away from them, it’s safe to say the life of a best friend is not always a comfortable one. But sometimes, that’s the whole idea of being a best chum; you strap yourself into a seat and allow yourself to be taken on for a ride that will either exhilarate your senses or wear you out inside and out.
Having a best friend is like having a mother who doesn’t nag at you but still nurtures you. A best friend is a boyfriend you don’t have to doll up for because they’ve already seen you at your ugliest and you never have to worry about them leaving you for someone with a thigh gap. They’re the sibling that you actually don’t mind sharing your favourite candies with, minus the rough wrestling matches. Regardless if you’re jiving through a blazing inferno or slow dancing among happy balloons, to me, a best friend is someone whose soul dances with yours no matter what.