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Besties, BFF’s, partners in crime—whatever you want to call them, best friends rock.
They celebrate our happy moments, hold our hands through the darkness, and let us know in a thousand ways that we are not alone. Best friends make us laugh and they keep us sane. Besties offer comfort when we’re hurting and an oasis of calm when storms are rocking our lives. Best friends are our emotional safe places of love, caring, and acceptance.
I’m not talking about being best friends with your parents, siblings, or your grown children in this article. Nor am I addressing best friend spouses, partners, or friends “with benefits.” If these people are also your best friends, you are doubly lucky, but for now, I’m talking about the platonic intimacy of non-sexual and non-familial best friends—the brother or sister you never had, the bromance, the soulmate friend, the friends you hold dearest above all others.
I have been blessed with friends. Most of them are people I see a few times a year at best, but I would say I have at least 30 close friends that I see regularly or could call on for anything. But only about a dozen of them are best friends–those with whom I have particularly close personal relationships. The ones that I share the deepest soul-baring secrets with can be counted on one hand.
What makes these relationships so special?
Chemistry and good energy seem to come first— Similarities in culture, lifestyle, age, etc. are irrelevant. We might have exchanged a brief greeting or ended up talking due to the situation. For whatever reason, we made an impression on each other, a connection that was strong enough to get each other’s attention. We felt we could trust one another almost immediately. We were drawn to one another by something indescribable, and as I’ve said in numerous presentations, that feeling is absolutely mutual 99% of the time. It’s the love at first sight of the friendship world.
You just click and you discover that you’ve had similar experiences on many levels, even if the circumstances have been very different. You find you like a lot of the same things—music, movies, or interests. Maybe the same places are on your travel bucket list. Conversation is easy because you gravitate toward similar topics. You can have fun together anywhere, anytime. It’s as if you’ve known each other forever. It’s effortless. And it sometimes seems the universe put you in the right place at the right time to meet.
I’ve made friendship connections that waited patiently for the opportunity to grow.
You both recognize the potential, and at some point, things finally come together and a best friend relationship blossoms. I still have a few of those connections hanging out there and they’re like beautiful presents waiting to be unwrapped.
Coincidences are not something I believe in; I just know that every friend who crosses my path in a meaningful way is supposed to be part of my life story, and I a part of theirs. The saying is that some people come into your life for a moment, some for a day, and some for a lifetime, but there’s no doubt that best friends change your life.
I have a deep connection with a few of my closest friends, and we share an uncanny ability to sense the other regardless of distance or time apart. We manage to call or text each other at exactly the same time, or right when the other most needs to hear from us.
Don’t you just love it when you are thinking of a friend and the phone rings, and it’s them? Or when they answer your call with, “I was hoping you’d call, I needed to talk to you.”
It thrills me when I get ready to text a friend I don’t interact with on a daily basis and I see “typing” at the top of the screen, indicating they’re texting me at that very moment. Or they say, “how funny, I was just thinking about you!”
How do we do this?! Connection! I’ve sent a “hello, are you okay?” message because I just felt something was wrong, and gotten a “having a hard day, how did you know?” reply. It’s a rare and wondrous gift to have this bond with someone.
There is openness and the confidence of not being judged at any level with best friends.
We respect each other and safeguard each other’s secrets. We can be imperfect and human and vulnerable with each other. With friends, we can reveal ourselves—say whatever we want. We can honestly let it all hang out, laughing together at our ridiculousness, but never feeling ridiculed. Tears shed over a movie or a broken heart are met with comforting hugs and tissues. We can convey a complete thought with just one exchanged look, and sometimes it feels like we’re reading each other’s minds.
Best friends tell you when you’re being stupid and defend you when you’re under attack. When they offer advice, you know they truly have your best interests at heart. They’ll save us from ourselves, if we let them, and they’ll nurse our wounds when we come limping back after ignoring their wisdom. Friends love us no matter what.
They cheer us on when life is good, pick us up when we’re down, and make us laugh until our cheeks are sore and our voice is gone. They make us feel rejuvenated and energized. Your closest best friend is the first person you want to talk to when something wonderful happens. Happiness is theirs, and theirs is yours—it’s joy multiplied!
Your best friend is also the one whose voice you need to hear when the news isn’t good.
An hour after learning of my mother’s terminal illness, I showed up at a friend’s house just to sit and cry until I could pull myself together enough to return to my mother’s side. My closest friends were guardian angels who held me together after she died as my world continued to fall apart for months on end. New friends appeared like magic, each contributing their own gifts of support and caring.
Ten years ago, in the span of a couple of weeks, two amazing women became the Hispanic sisters I never had. But just months later, both had to move away to different countries. I was like, no! I just found you! We walked around those last days with our arms around each other fighting back tears. If you’ve experienced this kind of deep connection, you’ll understand the loss we were anticipating.
We miss each other. A lot.
The English language lacks the vocabulary to express this deeply enough; a reflection of cultural differences. In new world Spanish we say, me haces falta, you are a missing part of me. The Galician Spanish/Portuguese morriña and Portuguese/Brazilian saudade are difficult to adequately translate as they encompass an emotional longing, sincere sadness, or nostalgia for a person or place. For example, if you can imagine how a long satisfying hug with someone you love feels, morriña or saudade is the deeply heartfelt, and sad longing for that person you care so much for.
Last year it was me moving away. And I can tell you, the goodbyes aren’t any easier when you’re the one that’s leaving. Thankfully, returning to Costa Rica reconnected me to a couple of best friends I’ve had for decades, it brought me new best friends and a soulmate friend I never would have met otherwise. It doesn’t get much more golden than that.
My best friends are scattered all over the world, and we do our best to stay in touch.
Even though with busy schedules and 2-7-time zones between us, it isn’t always easy. Facebook allows us to keep a toe in the water of each other’s lives. Texting helps, phone calls are good, and face to face chatting is better, but uninterrupted real visits are the whipped cream on my cappuccino!
As I’ve said about my chats with my grandsons, I’m thankful for Facetime, but you can’t give hugs or tickles through a hand-held device. Nothing is better than a real visit. Making the special effort to drive across town, across the state, or even across the country to spend time with a friend is appreciated. A friend who’s willing to hop a plane or two to cross a continent or an ocean to see you is priceless. I’m blessed with some priceless friends.
I relish those afternoon-into-evening-into-wee-hours conversations that leave no stone unturned.
Those treasured sessions that end reluctantly because we absolutely have to get some sleep. There are never enough hours, and the visits always end too soon, but on some level, this also helps you appreciate and make the most of the time you do have.
I don’t like goodbyes. I know from experience that it can be the last one. So I get in as many hugs and kisses as I possibly can, and I do my best to tell them how much they mean to me every chance I get.
I dream of having an epic weekend beach party bash to bring them all together in a single place.
I can’t help but think how when our family gets together, our little dog prances around happily with his tail going 90 miles an hour, looking at everybody with a doggie smile on his face as if to say, “All my people are here! Awesome!”
I was recently asked about my specific life goals for the next couple of years, and for the first time maybe ever, I couldn’t really think of one—I’m kind of in a holding pattern right now. But later I realized I do have an important goal. It’s to find a way to travel more so I can see my loved ones much more often. I need more adventures with my family and my best friends—more laughter, more hugs, more of everything! When you live alone, having best friends makes all the difference. Without them, my life isn’t quite as bright, and it’s definitely not as much fun.
My life has been enriched beyond measure by the gift of a loving family and the best of best friends. I hope you can say the same.