This Is What It Means To Be A Best Friend

This Is What It Means To Be A Best Friend

KATIE BINGHAM-SMITH

I met my best friend in the summer of ’93; we were besties at first sight. She was sipping a Diet Coke, and she had red hair and a big smile. I liked the way she smelled and things with us were just easy from the start. She was my assigned roommate our freshman year in college. I called her one Sunday afternoon as soon as her information came to me in the mail. I told her how I like to dress up and get up early to workout.

She told me she liked to wear hats and sleep in.

After a few months of friendship, she told me she’d had reservations about living with me. She hadn’t been sure we would work well together after we first talked, but I never gave it a second thought. I just knew.

As soon as I walked into our room and met her, there was an instant comfort — I felt like I was home. That night we stayed up all night talking. We did the same the next night and the next. Four years later when we graduated, I almost got physically sick from crying so hard because I knew how much I would miss not seeing her everyday. Life was good when I saw her every day.

My best friend is my best friend because she’s been a constant in my life since I met her. She’s seen me through breakups, stood next to my on my wedding day, traveled over 5 hours to see all of my kids when they were first born, and talked me though hours of pain during my divorce.

KATIE BINGHAM-SMITH

My best friend is my best friend because she doesn’t get mad if I cancel plans when I’m drowning in my own shit. She knows I’m a better person when I get my stuff in order. She doesn’t take it personally; she knows this is who I am and it’s not about her.

My best friend is my best friend because she gets just as excited about a purse sale as I do and will talk me into buying a second or third item because, “You are saving so much money on the first, it’s like you’re getting the second one for free.”

Yeah, ya are.

I talked to quite a few people about why they chose their person. What made them decide this particular human, out of all the people in the world, earned the spot as their best friend? While the answers were different in their words, they were all the same in their meaning.

What makes a best friend is someone who sticks around through the hard shit and doesn’t expect you to morph into someone you are not to please them. Because really, we all just want to be seen, accepted, and validated for who we are. We want to be comfortable being our whole selves.

We want best friends who realize a long time might go between visits or conversations, but we can pick up where we left off without any hard feelings.

We want best friends who will listen, really listen, without judgment.

We want best friends who call us out on our bullshit, and aren’t afraid to be honest with us when we are making shitty, harmful decisions.

We want best friends who will see us at our worst and still want us in their lives.

We want best friends who ask for our help instead of trying to tackle something alone.

We want best friends who will come over and clean our bathroom and see us sans bra.

We want best friends who will pick us up off the floor after something traumatic has happened, and remind us we can get up again, even if we don’t think we can.

We want best friends who push us to be a better person.

And the thing about a best friend, a true best friend, is when you find them, it’s just easy. They are your soft place to land and you both know there’s nothing your friendship won’t survive. They are your person, your ride or die, your soulmate. And you just know your life would not be the same if they weren’t in it.