The difference between having a best friend and being one

So many times throughout our lives we claim to be best friends with somebody. From the time we are small and meet our first playmates through day care, preschool, family, or family friends, we latch on to other people. That click, whether it either evolves and develops or is just instantaneous, brings something special to our lives. We feel like we are understood by somebody. We feel as if a part of ourselves evolves with it.

Whether we show a side of ourselves that we didn’t know we had, or maybe its just something that you feel you can’t show to anyone else, that click brings a happiness and a security to our lives in the form of friends. Friendship is a bond that you hope to keep forever but often enough, friendships are short lived.

Maybe this is because we grow and we change. Opinions mature just like we as people do. Our tastes change in everything from food to morals, religion and people. More than that though, too often those friendships are taken advantage of. Do we become so reliant on our friends that we forget to be their friend as well?

Dependency is natural to an extent. We become comfortable, we find ourselves latching even tighter whenever anything goes amiss in our lives. It is human nature to want to call somebody. It’s human nature to want at least one person that we can tell anything. It could be a phone call sharing good news, a gossip fest, or heart ache. But what if all you have to share is heartache? What if you only call to share bad news? You only want to hang out because something is wrong and you need a friend. Yes those people have proved themselves to be there time and time again. But are you returning the favor? Do you forget to ask how the other party is doing? Do you even bother to call your friend in times that are other than troubled? What if you see on facebook they have a new job or relationship? Do you congratulate them? What if you see that they are going through troubled times as well? Do you even call to see if they’re ok?

I have been called a best friend too many times to really and truly live up to. But often I find that I can’t say it in return. The other side of that for me is that I have called others best friends only to be disappointed down the road. Maybe because I took advantage of them, maybe because they took too much advantage of me.

So what does it mean to be a best friend to somebody? Besides calling, besides checking in, besides good conversation and just drinking buddies.

True friendships are very much the same as relationships. They have to be equal. Just as you would your partner, you have to be there for each other. You lift each other up, you celebrate each other’s successes. You have just as many good times as bad. You understand each other on a different level than you thought possible.

I find that I sometimes latch on to people who will push and push and push me away just to see how often I will return. That is not friendship to me. That is selfish. That is a true example of the toxicity that we let others bring into our lives. True friendship means never having to prove yourself just for the sake of the test. People will always be insecure, but those insecurities should be fought in the form of positive attention, not negative, and we have no place fighting other people’s battles for them. It’s one thing to fight with somebody, to support and stand by somebody. It’s an entirely different thing to be put in charge of somebody’s else’s struggle. We are ringleaders of our own circus, nobody else’s. Especially if that somebody else is determined to perpetuate their own down fall.

I also find that I have had very good friends who seemingly latched on to me for the sake of rebuilding something they were missing or something that had been broken. They were there all the time the same as I was for them. But, once whatever void they had was filled, they were never to be seen or heard from again.  I’ve heard often that people come into your lives for reasons, seasons, and lifetimes. I suppose that I was just a season to those people and maybe that’s ok. Maybe they were only meant to be seasons for me as well.

I am very fortunate though that I do have a couple of friends that I know are for life. I count myself blessed to even have one, much less a few. Those are friendships where I find more understanding, honesty, and acceptance than I sometimes feel I deserve. But I also know that they would say the same about the friendship and perhaps that’s why it is equal. Perhaps that is why they have lasted and will continue to.

Next time you refer to somebody as your best friend, make sure you aren’t taking them for granted. Cherish who they are and the ways they enrich your life. Make sure they can call you the same.

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