I met my best friend in the summer of ‘93. We were assigned roommates in college and had never laid eyes on each other until the day we moved in together. Such a strange concept when you think about it.
Of course, we had no idea how it was going to work out or that we’d become best friends and still know — and love — each other in our mid-forties.
When you are 18 and leave home for the first time, there are so many other things traveling through your brain that you can only take in so many worries at a time. Well, that and you are more concerned about finding, and being accepted by, a new group of friends … and where the party is going to be that night.
She’s been in my life for 27 years despite the fact that we live a few states away from each other, didn’t have kids at the same time, and our lives are very different now. Sometimes we don’t speak at all, for months, other than a few short messages checking in on each other.
How are you?
I miss you.
I just saw the trees were starting to change and thought of you.
Hey! The Hallmark Channel is starting to play Christmas movies on October 23! Can’t wait!
But last week I sent her a message asking her if she could talk. I was in a bad way and she knew it. When you are friends with someone for almost three decades, you are able to translate what they say into what they really mean.
Within seconds my phone rang. She was cleaning out her closet and we sat down and talked and cried for a few hours and I immediately felt better. Just like I knew I would.
I may not have seen her in a year, but she has my back and she knows I have hers.
We’ve both had other friends come and go, but our friendship has stuck for one reason: because we want it to.
A best friend is almost like your children in your unconditional love for each other. For me, my best friend feels like home and there are times when I really need her. But I don’t need her to prove her love to me all the time; it’s just a given.
This kind of friendship isn’t about being perfect, or never saying or doing something that will upset them. It is about taking responsibility when that happens. It is about letting the little shit go. It is about realizing that no matter what happens, the foundation that your friendship is built on is enough to take you through the months when you barely talk. And the knowledge that, no matter what, you will work it out.
That foundation is enough to get you through the times when you shut down because your mental health is compromised and you have to get back to you.
It’s enough to recognize when they text you asking you if you can talk, it’s because you are the one they want when they are hurting.
It’s enough to make you feel incredibly lucky when you just think about how rare it can be to have that kind of friendship.
History with a friend has a way of beating everything else. When we are happy or sad or fucking confused, we want the person who gets us — who really knows us — because they were there when we went through that breakup, that difficult family situation, that death, the birth of our kids, our struggles with the anxiety that can swallow us whole.
Friendships that last through the years are the ones that are honest and strong. My best friend doesn’t let me get away with making excuses for myself or letting myself down. She’s not afraid to tell me when someone is treating me badly or when I’m not living up to my potential. She’s not afraid to call me out for my shitty behavior, and she expects the same from me.
If you’ve been friends with someone for decades, it’s because you want to be in each other’s lives.
You want to be there for each other regardless of the terrain and instead of making excuses to lose touch or dump them, you find reasons to keep loving them and stay in touch.
You know it’s real and true when you can go weeks or months without talking, and you still bring out the best in each other.
Even when it’s just a phone conversation on a Monday, sitting on the floor of your closet.