Posted by: Kate | June 30, 2009


I find the catchphrase “BFF” to be greatly intimidating.  Always have, even back in the Dark Ages when we simply referred to someone as our “best friend,” without tagging it with a timeframe or abbreviating it because those extra two syllables were clearly just unreasonably demanding.

First I had to wrap my brain around the idea of friendship, and overcome a nasty, monstrous, pervasive tendency to listen to that constantly looping tape in my head that said, “You don’t have friends.  You like people, but they don’t like you.  They just tolerate you, and that could stop at any given moment. You don’t deserve better.”  It plays with less volume and intensity now, and I’m able to accept that I probably do have a few redeeming characteristics hidden away somewhere because people simply aren’t willing to fake it and tolerate bullshit for all that long, but still.

Once I accepted that, OK, the “friends” part can happen, then I had to struggle with that “best” bit.  How could I choose?  I never had a huge, wide networks of friends, but usually had at least three or four that I spent time with for various reasons.  This one was the most fun to go to Chuck E. Cheese with, that one was the one I liked to giggle with before math class, this other one was just so cool and funny that I so wanted to be more like her except that I could also always see the dangerousness and unhappiness under the surface so I wanted to protect her, too… how could one be “best”?  I was always so grateful that they were willing to spend time with me, seemed to even enjoy it, that the idea of rank-ordering their bestness was horrifying and intimidating.

So I scurried away from that, and worked on enjoying what I had, when I had it.

I never really got around to grappling with the unpleasantness of that new, cool, second F.  “Forever”?  Really?  We can use words like that to describe relationships, casually and not even bothering to say the whole word?

Yeah, no, not for me.  I don’t rely too heavily on the concept of forever, anyway, because it just seems like so much pressure, on both sides.  How do you know that this friendship is still going to be the right thing, ten years from now?  Or, hell, next week?  I’d like to think that good things last, and I don’t put an expiration date on my relationships… but while I am still friendly with several BFF candidates from high school, I wouldn’t consider them to be the people I am now closest to and rely the most on, by any stretch of the imagination.  And, on the flip side, not having known someone forever seems to me to be an unfair reason to take them off the potential BFF list – maybe “forever” is intended to mean, “from this point forward,” but that seems a little shortsighted, somehow.

The moral of the story is, I have friends now.  Real friends, close friends, who will spend their day off from work helping me to clear out the attic or meeting me on a weekday afternoon for lunch just because, without begrudging the four hours in the car with three small children.  But words like “best” and “forever”?  They just make me uncomfortable, because the assignment thereof feels like so much responsibility.

And, you’re right, I’m wayoverthinking this.  It’s my brain’s way of trying not to wallow in the millions of other thoughts in my head right now.


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