I’m sure that we have all had a best friend or two at some point. Personally, I have had several, partly from constantly moving throughout my life and partly because, in the words of Mindy Kaling (as said in her show, The Mindy Project), “‘Best friend’ isn’t a person, it’s a tier.” Either way, there is a sort of knack to getting along with someone and being able to do that for long periods of time. Most often, it has been the time that has been my downfall. At some point, I get lazy. I stop being the best friend that I can be and have been.
I think the most important thing to remember about friends is that no matter how in sync or similar you are, you are actually two different people with different thoughts, opinions, and worldviews. You think differently; even if you usually come to the same conclusions, the processes of how you got there probably vary. It’s easy for wires to get crossed and messages to be taken differently than intended. This is what makes communication so crucial. In an open dialogue, you can clear up any misunderstandings and fully discuss anything that might be bothering you.
This brings us to those times when your best friend starts bothering you, which will happen. When you find someone who gets you like no one else has, you just want to spend time with them. You want to share with them because you might not have felt like you could in a long time. Eventually, though, this can get wearing on both of you. This tends to be my own biggest weakness. For everyone I know, I have a sort of meter that determines how much I can take of each person at a time. The more time I spend with you, the faster it fills up (this coming from my loner-type persona).
This persona of mine becomes a problem for me when I constantly decline offers to hang-out with best friends because I feel as though I still need a little more me-time. There’s nothing wrong with needing my alone time, though, and with a little communication, my best friend should, hopefully, be understanding and should respect my need for some quiet. At some point, though, I have to consciously make an effort to climb out of my hole. I need to respect my friend’s need to spend time together. After all, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and when that’s over, you can be all ready to become attached at the hip once again.
It is important to understand that each person has a different way of giving and receiving love. Generally, the way you show love is how you feel it. What you may not realize, though, is that your method of giving love is not necessarily the best way to show your best friend how much they mean to you.
When I was in high school, my best friend would always come home from trips with some kind of nice souvenir for me. It was always something thoughtful that showed me she was thinking about me while she was away. While I greatly appreciated my lovely little gift, it never meant as much to me as simply having her back. I am terrible about buying things for my friends when I’m away. It always becomes this huge ordeal to find just the right thing, and I usually just end up frustrated on my own vacation.
Rather, on trips I always think about recounting my new stories and sharing pictures with my friends. I love imagining their faces and their laughter when I tell them about my ridiculous encounters. But, in high school, because I noticed my friend was always buying me things, I always made sure to find her something; I knew that was how she would know for sure that I had thought about her and that I loved her. Then, I would tell her my stories, and her listening to them and reacting to them was her way of showing me that she loved me just as much, whether or not she knew that was what she was doing.
Bottom line: Take some time to figure out your best friend. Learn how they show love to you, and, therefore, how you can accurately show love to them. Also, make things a little easier on them by communicating openly and freely. Make them feel comfortable, and make sure you feel comfortable. This is by no means fool-proof or guaranteed, but if you agree to work together, it’ll be a pretty good stepping stone in your relationship.