I find it interesting that we assign varying degrees of meaning to our friends. I think the vast majority of our western society, if asked individually will say that they have one best friend, or a small group of several best friends. I totally subscribe to this. I always have, in my head, had one or a few “best friends”. There’s a line in a song from a band I really like. It goes: “Best friends means: best friends to me”. Maybe you think that means absolutely nothing, to me it doesn’t, I’m gonna come back to this.
I want to be a certain kind of person. I know I fail at being that person, a lot. But I still try, and I will always try to learn how I can be better at being that person. Near the top of the list of attributes of that person is being a good friend. Being a good friend to more than one person is incredibly hard because being a good friend isn’t about what you want, it’s about what your friends want/need. Being a good friend isn’t about changing yourself into something your friends want to be, that’s probably the opposite. But it does include doing things you don’t want to, putting up with small annoying things, being in places you don’t want to be, changing your own plans to accommodate someone else.
My point of this isn’t to say that I’m a great friend and I do all those things I said above, that’s not for me to decide. These are things that people have done for me. I know that I wouldn’t be here without my friends. I am so grateful to the people who have sacrificed something for my benefit, for whatever reason or for no reason at all.
“Best friends means: best friends to me”. What I take from this lyric is that a ‘best friend’ is someone that is going to do the hard things no matter what. They are going to do what they don’t want to do if that means it’s what’s best for you. They are going to do it consistently and for as long as you need it. Becoming friends is far from the difficult process of staying friends. Becoming friends is more about sharing a similar worldview, or having similar interests, or sharing the same type of humour. Once you get to know a friend on a deeper level, you almost have an obligation or responsibility to be there for them, even to do something that make them upset, sometimes that’s what people need. To me, a ‘best friend’ will just always be the person that’s the best at being there.
For me personally, I’ve had lots of best friends. Some know it because I’ve told them, some don’t because I didn’t even realize it myself until I started thinking about this topic a month or so ago. At different points in my life, different people have ignored the pleasantries of their own life to do something for or with me, because they thought I needed it. I don’t want to leave things unnoticed, I want to tell people when I recognize that they’ve done something for me. The past year has been crazy for me. I’ve been in a lot of situations where someone else stepped up for me and I am so grateful to my friends for doing it. For stuff that’s happened in the last year and in all the years before as well.
I want to personalize this and specifically say thank-you to the friends that I know have been there for me over the years. All of the people who have been my best friend for as little as a minute (whether you knew it or not) or as much as a decade or more. The order of this list is mostly chronological.
To all these people I owe a debt I cannot repay but please don’t be afraid to ask me to. I love you all. Thank you very much:
And finally and most of all, Melissa. Thanks for seeing my darkest sides and still loving me. Thanks for being there for me and thanks for understanding a very complicated and high maintenance little boy.