When I was a kid, too many years ago, I learned everyone only has one best friend. My best friend in elementary school was Melanie Smith. We’ve kept in touch throughout the years, and had supper together in Russellville back in April. All the time I kept telling myself, “Isn’t this amazing? My best friend from so long ago is sitting right here, just across a table from me? I love how life is so fantastic.”
In elementary school I had one best friend, then she moved. But I gained another best friend for middle school, then another for junior high. In high school I switched around a few times, always having a best friend.
College came and of course I followed the same pattern. A best friend meant the best person of all my friends, right? The most dear, most wonderful person who truly got me. There can be only one. (Cue the “Highlander” movie fans.)
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve revisited my original ideals. Why can I only have one best friend? Why do I have to rank my friendships, comparing and contrasting them, to find the superior friend? What if my friendships had levels, with the highest level bearing the name Best Friend?
What is a best friend? Merriam-Webster defines a best friend as “a person’s closet and dearest friend.” See? Even the dictionary says I have to limit my best friend to one person. Since when have I ever followed a dictionary?
I’ve always believed there are levels of friendship. Some friends I like and comment posts on social media. Some friends I sit by in church, or wave to in town. Some friendships go deeper, and I have coffee or lunch to learn more about their lives and make connections. But I’m starting to think several friends can level up, reach that highest rank of “best friend”. Why does there just have to be one?
Can’t I have a best friend to share silly memes and sweet photos? Can’t I have a best friend to vent about my life? Can’t I have a best friend to swing by and pick up for some ice cream and an hour’s worth of chatting? And why not a best friend to keep me accountable with my exercise program? All these women are in my life, and I connect with each of them on a regular basis and hold them dear to my heart. We’ve shared various stories and admitted our faults and failures. Why can’t I call them all best friends?
In fact, I think I will. They’ve all put up with my issues and my weirdness. And they love me anyway. Yes, every one of them has mastered the level of Best Friend in my game. And I can’t imagine my life without them.
My next question becomes: by achieving the level of Best Friend, do I need to award some sort of prize? Maybe a badge of honor? Or a gift card, perhaps? I’d better jump on Amazon and see what I can find.
Jann Goar Franklin graduated Russellville High School in 1985 and lives in Grand Cane, Louisiana. She also writes books, which are for sale at www.jannfranklin.com. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org