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I had a friend tell me the other day: “People need to know you first before they ‘get’ you.” This was in response to me wondering why I had a hard time getting along in normal social groups. I wondered the rest of the day whether I should feel insulted or not.
I spent hours thinking what she meant. Was I rude? Did I not listen enough? Did I dress funny? Act weird? What was it that people needed to “get”?
My answers were: No I am not rude and didn’t think I acted weird. Okay maybe I tell jokes that might be odd and perhaps I don’t always bend to social protocol. But I never insult people or deliberately make them feel uncomfortable. After all this introspection, I came to the conclusion that I am hanging around the wrong people. In the past I have always changed myself to fit in. After my decision to be true to myself, I seem to make others uncomfortable. Whenever this happens, I am polite, get through the night, then go home and think of who else I can “hang out” with.
Because the truth is, I don’t know anyone personally that is similar to me. I had one person that I could be myself with, say and do what I want and our friendship never wavered. My best friend.
What is the difference between a good friend and a best friend? We always see the funny stuff (a good friend will bail you out of jail but a best friend will be there saying “Damn that was fun!”) but never the serious stuff. Like how a best friend will always listen even if they are running out the door to do errands. If you call to hang out because you are bored, she will say either “hell, yeah” or “I can’t but let’s chat” or “So wish I could. What about tomorrow?” A good friend will say “Sounds fun but busy. Talk to you later.” See the difference? Subtle, but there it is.
A best friend will never hear what you say as a negative. I can’t count how many times I would say something, think about it later and realize it could have been taken the wrong way. When I apologized to my best friend, she would say “Huh, that never occurred to me. No need to apologize.” And she would often call me to apologize in the same way and I had no clue what she felt she had to apologize for. A “not” best friend would say, “Well, I didn’t think you meant it that way. Apology accepted.” Which really means they did think that but were too polite to admit it.
A best friend will not pull punches, tell you truths even if you don’t want to hear it, lie for you, keep secrets without being asked, trust you with all her secrets, listen without judging, give without asking, understand how you feel without needing an explanation, cry when you are unhappy. Most of all, they don’t just accept you for who you are but LOVE you for it.
Everyone needs someone like this in their life. They balance our dark side, encourage our dreams and smack us upside the head when we are being stupid. Just a text from them can make your day.
Due to busy lives and more emphasis on groups and fitting in, very few people these days have best friends. The luckiest have their spouses as best friends, the next luckiest have one close by and available. Yes they have their flaws but you love them unconditionally because, without any effort whatsoever, you “get” each other.
So if you don’t have a best friend, remember, you are not the only one. I understand. I had one but now she is gone and can never be replaced. If you are one of the lucky ones to have a best friend, tell him or her how much they mean to you and that you are grateful and fortunate to have them in your life.
TELL THEM! SHOW THEM! DO IT!