By Jen Fine, Regular ContributorOctober 4, 2015
I’ve been the good friend, the best friend, the mean friend, the funny friend, the jealous friend, the ridiculous friend, and everything in between. The truth is, from the minute we’re able to interact even in the slightest, we’re making friendships. If I were to ask half the people I know if they remember hanging out with someone even as a little tyke, they would most likely say yes. Play dates weren’t only designed for kids to stay out of their parent’s hair for a little while; friendships are necessary for functioning, no matter how little or how many you have and whether you want them or not.
We’re programmed to be friends, and, even if we don’t know it, we all have the power to be good ones.
Being friendly, though, definitely has its drawbacks. Ever since I was little, I’ve had a lot of friends. “Staple friends” is what my mom used to call the girls I went to preschool with and would always care about and know about, but who wouldn’t always necessarily be the ones I hung out with or instant messaged all night long. Best friends, however, are far and few between.
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Guys and girls who would walk to the ends of the earth for you are definitely not easy to come by, but they’re worth keeping around once you’ve found them. When I actually think about my BEST friends, a very small selection of names pops into my mind. I know who these people are. I know they would do anything for me, but for some reason I find myself constantly describing any friend I am close with as “my best friend from home” or “my best friend from camp” or “my best friend from New York.”
However, in reality, just because I consider myself to be close friends with a lot of people, doesn’t mean that they are worthy of that title. But learning to separate these people can be tricky.
Sometimes being friends with everyone, and getting close to these people, comes at a cost. There have been times that my friendships have led me to go against my morals and make decisions I wouldn’t otherwise make; there have been times that I have lied to another friend because someone else asked me to; there have been times that I’ve been a good friend to someone and they haven’t returned the favor; and there have been times that I have had to take on more than I could handle, because a person I considered a friend needed me to.
With that being said, all of these situations, as different as they may be, have made me a stronger, more sociable person with great bonds and great respect for the friends that I’ve made. Although it isn’t always easy to be that friend for someone, it’s something that we all have to embrace at one point or another. If anyone ever thinks that your willingness to befriend and get close to a multitude of individuals resembles something fake or disingenuous, then maybe they just don’t understand where you’re coming from.
Whether we thrive by having six friends or sixty, as long as we are being true to ourselves and attempting to make this world a more manageable and peaceful place, there’s really not much more that we can do and we certainly don’t have to justify that to others.
Wanting to be close with people isn’t taboo. It’s something that we as human beings crave. The ability to make others feel comfortable enough around you to open up and confide, despite the complications that may come along with it, is something beautiful and unique. Hold on to that, no matter what anybody says.
How do you differ between a best friend and a friend? How can you determine if a friendship is healthy for you? Tell us below!
Jen is currently a junior majoring in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She enjoys all things sarcastic, obsessing over the New York Rangers, and is a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee fanatic. When she’s not singing in the shower, writing her feelings, or dishing out life advice to her friends, you can catch her lying around watching One Tree Hill for the third time. Feel free to check out her personal blog at jenfine.wordpress.com for more!
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