So you meet this girl. She’s got a sense of humor that makes you laugh so hard you snort, her list of favorite movies makes you throw your hands up and yell, “Amen!” and she totally has the same thoughts on life, people, and fish as pets (doesn’t get the whole point. What do you pet?). Sounds pretty sweet. You hang out all the time and begin to trust one another more and–you don’t wanna rush anything–but she could be the one. She could be the boo to end all boos. The one boo to rule them all. Your boomate.
But before you go giving your heart (and your innermost secrets) away, consult this list to see if she’s got what it takes to be a true friend or if she’s just passing through.
1) She has your back no matter what–even when you’re wrong
Ok, you fucked up. No seriously, what did you do that for? You know it, she knows it, the guy you punched at the grocery store knows it–you did wrong. Your best friend might be disappointed or she might be shocked, but no matter what, she’s not going to abandon you. Why? Because you’re like family. Because she knows you’re a human being like anyone else and you’re capable of making mistakes. Because she trusts that you don’t do wrong from a bad place but from a place of hurt or misunderstanding. Because she knows who you really are.
2) She’s honest even when it hurts
Ok, so the grocery store incident wasn’t your best moment. It’s ok, we’ll move on (just as soon as the charges are dropped). You didn’t want to hear it, but your best friend acted as your conscience. She said, “Listen boo, that was messed up. You need to apologize.” You were mad, defensive, fuming silently with your arms crossed while she gave you the honest truth–you did something that sucked. But that’s exactly what you need in life: a person who’ll love you enough to tell you the things you don’t want to hear. Think of it this way: this was the equivalent of stepping on a piece of toilet paper and walking around with it on the sole of your shoe. Would you rather keep walking around with that paper dangling from your shoe or meet a friend who alerts you to it, and might cause you momentary embarrassment, but who ultimately helps you clear it up?
Yes, she needs to tell you the truth and be the bad guy for a moment, but as an equally good friend, you need to listen.
3) She doesn’t confine you to her expectations
We’ve all got our habits and our passions and our style, but as we grow and develop, our tastes can change–and that’s awesome. It means we’re moving foward instead of stagnating in routine. The question is: will your best friend accept these changes? Or will she get defensive about them? Will she feel threatened by them and make you feel like you’re doing something wrong (unless you really are doing something wrong. Seriously, you should stop that)? A true friend may feel threatened by any changes, especially major ones, but the test lies in whether she can accept them as part of who you are without attacking you.
Jayne and I have known each other for over 10 years (whoo! tin/aluminum anniversary! Wait, what does that even mean?). In that time, we’ve each had our phases (some we don’t care to remember, *ahem* blue eyeshadow phase) but each one helped us figure out and fine-tune the aspects of our personalities to better define who we are now. And if your best friend won’t join you for that ride (and then laugh about it over milkshakes a decade later), then who will?
4) She respects you despite your differences and sees you as an equal
Everyone’s going to disagree–it’s how you handle it that matters. Is she patronizing if you tell her you don’t like something she likes? Does she say something insulting if you disagree politically? Does she roll her eyes at your beliefs and values? Then we have a problem. A best friend should respect you enough to realize that your beliefs/ideas/musical preferences/taste in Snuggies are informed by experiences unique only to you, that you’re smart enough to make up your own mind on how you interpret life, and that you’re allowed an opinion of your own.
Your boo should respect you as much as she (hopefully) respects herself. And that means not just not looking down on you but listening to you earnestly and evaluating your ideas with all the interest she’d give herself. That means hearing you out and trying to understand your point of view and where you’re coming from. She doesn’t have to come to agree, she just has to respect your right to disagree.
5) She celebrates your victories, even if they’re not her own
A best friend should never make you feel uncomfortable with your successes. If you tell her you’re winning the Nobel Prize, you should do so without even an inkling of unease in your soul (also, way to go, dude!). You should feel that the smile on her face and the cheer on her lips are absolutely genuine. Of course, other feelings might come into play (maybe she was nominated for the same Nobel Prize. What a power couple!), but a true friend won’t let them cloud the joy she feels for you. Your goals and dreams are just as sacred to her as her own, even if your victories aren’t hers.
Everyone deserves an amazing best friend. Don’t settle for anything less.
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