Do you have a best friend right now? I’ve had a few best friends over the years.
My first best friend was Cindy. She had red hair and was an only child and made me laugh all the time and introduced me to a huge variety of cookies. Her mother was our school secretary and her father was dying of leukemia. It was spooky going to her house because he was always there in the livingroom, dying. If it hadn’t been for all the cookies, I would have been very reluctant to spend time at Cindy’s house.
Around grade 6 or so, we moved and my new best friend was Shirley. Shirley lived on a big pig farm and had about a dozen siblings including handsome older brothers. It was fun going to sleepovers at Shirley’s.
In high school I met Marg. I don’t know why she was my best friend because we had very little in common. She could never go out and wasn’t interested in doing anything remotely crazy, but we stayed friends. I cheated on her with a lot of other friends who did like to go out and do crazy stuff.
After high school, Marg and I moved in together while we went to college. She was engaged by then so we hardly ever saw each other. I was maid of honour at her wedding. We’ve kept in touch all these years. She’s stayed in our home town while I’ve buzzed around various places, but we still manage to visit with each other a couple of times a year and we talk on the phone occasionally. We have even less in common now, so really our relationship is just based on a shared history – sort of like a sibling.
After university, I met the best friend equivalent of the love of my life, Jena. We both started jobs in the same place at the same time. During our very first conversation she said something so hilarious and so incredibly crude that I fell in best friend love with her instantly. We were inseparable, could talk endlessly about anything and everything. We talked a lot about moving to the big city together and getting great jobs and becoming cosmopolitan women.
And we did.
We rented a fabulous condo right downtown Toronto and had all the fun we’d always hoped and dreamed we’d have. Then she met some crazy man who completely absorbed her and took her away from all her friends and family. I was sad. Very sad.
We recently found each other back on Facebook and have had a few tentative conversations and talked about meeting up sometime. The relationship with the crazy man only lasted a few years. It would be nice to see her, but it probably wouldn’t be the same. Jena was really my last best friend.
Once women get into the whole marriage and children thing, it’s difficult to find new best friends and is often even difficult to maintain old friendships. I don’t know if men get all wrapped up in their families in the same way that women do – leaving time for only casual, occasional relationships with friends?
I think that’s unfortunate. Maybe because I’m single, but I think having best friends is important.And ya, lots of people say their spouse/partner is their best friend and that’s very sweet, but I don’t think it’s the same thing.
Yes, all that intimate stuff you used to share with your best friends is stuff you now share with your spouse/partner but there’s always going to be stuff you can’t share with them. In fact there should be stuff you can’t share with them. Stuff like talking about your spouse/partner or stuff like doing things you like to do that they can’t really get into.
Or stuff like just spending time with someone with whom you are not intimate and opening yourself up to exploring and/or nurturing facets of yourself that you don’t with your spouse or partner. These may be dimensions of yourself long buried and forgotten through the miasma of dating, marriage, children, work, etc. or they may be completely new dimensions of yourself you never knew were part of you.
But then finding best friends is not easy when everyone your age is consumed with work and family and has little time or even interest in starting a whole new relationship. And yet,there are numerous websites with advice for grown-ups on finding a best friend, so I reckon there must be a lot of people looking. The websites tell you all the usual stuff about going out and meeting people, joining clubs, chatting up people you like and cultivating friendships – the same advice they give to people looking for dates. Somehow, I guess you have to make it clear that you’re looking for a friend, not a date. That could get sticky.
In movies and TV people always have best friends – the sidekick to the star who’s their straight man/woman; who engages in zany adventures with the star; who feeds the star alcohol, ice cream and sympathy during bad times and who organizes elaborate celebrations for the good times. The sidekick who is always there – through the beginning and end of bad and good relationships; through work crises and triumphs; through births and deaths; for better or worse; in sickness and health, etc. etc.
Do you have a best friend like that? Is it someone you’ve known forever or someone you met as an adult? How did you meet your best friend? If you don’t have a best friend, is it something you feel the loss of? Do you actively try to find one or is that weird?