A best friend.

 I miss the days when it was acceptable to ask someone to be best friends. Nobody would give it a second thought. Playing with someone at recess would be grounds for soulmateship (that’s not a word, but I’m making it one).  Somewhere along the line, however, something changed. Social groups and hierarchies formed, friendships shifted, and people drifted apart. Suddenly, asking to be someone’s best friend just wasn’t cool anymore.

When the switch happened, I stopped having such close friends. Actually, it’s not that I lost friends at all. A close friend to a first-grader is very different from a close friend for a sixth-grader. While my peers began to form closer and closer bonds, I remained with simple acquaintances, no matter how much I desired the proverbial “BFF.”

Throughout my life, I’ve struggled with this. I’d meet someone new and get butterflies in my stomach–friend butterflies, that is. This could be it, I’d think. This could be the friendship I’ve been waiting for! It never was, though. The other person would eventually pop the “best friend” phrase. “My best friend and I were at the mall the other day” or “When my best friend was little,” etc. It was then that I’d realize that the other person already had a best friend, and I obviously wouldn’t get the friendship I’d thought was possible. I realized that to this person, I’d never be first, only second. Only second-best. No matter how hard I tried, I’d never make it to the best friend rank.

Those moments were crushing.

Why couldn’t I be “BFF” material? Was there something wrong with me? In an effort to become everything to everybody, I became no one at all.

I don’t honestly know what to make of the best friend thing anymore. I’ve stopped expecting it, really. Sure, I have really close friends, but they certainly wouldn’t consider me “best,” would they? I wonder. Maybe, somewhere in my life, I’ll experience it. I don’t know. I’m so confused.

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