One of the common threads between people of all walks of life is that of having one or more best friends. It is quite possible to maintain this type of connection throughout one's life, even as other types of relationships come and go. Most of the outstanding marriages I have seen are between best friends.
With most people, their first bestie comes along very young, possibly in Kindergarten or first grade. Life is difficult, as are older siblings, if any, and sharing good and bad times with a friend is as natural as breathing. I'm no psychologist, but I imagine that the tendency to seek out a best friend is hardwired into our collective psyche.
Life happens, and sometimes very young friends are separated by moving, a falling out or simply growing apart. This happens with grade school friends, too, even with high school friends, but the older they get, the more best friends are apt to stay in contact. College or adult life, work, recreation and other natural gathering places may supply multiple very good friends and the ones that stick it out through bad times often become your favorites.
The one prerequisite "best friends" seem to have is to support one another despite the circumstances -- always having each other's back. You don't owe one another any favors. In fact, you don't even keep count. Fair weather friends just can't compete for your time and attention. When a best friend calls, you drop everything. Maybe this is why best friends make such good married couples.
My first best friend was Kenny Hakida when I was five years old. He lived next door to my grandparents, which was a long walk from my house. We moved 40 miles away when I was ten and I never saw Kenny again. I later learned that his parents were interned in World War II after Pearl Harbor, and I was never able to talk to them about it.
I had a few other best friends in my adolescence and in high school in Southern California, but many of them went to out-of-state colleges while I got married and had kids, then moving a thousand miles away meant the end of any of those relationships. In Washington State, my younger brother filled that role, through bowling, karaoke, camping, fishing and other activities we both enjoyed. He's the taller one in my karaoke photo below. After a few years I moved across the country to be close to, and eventually marry, my present and last best friend.
I envy the friends of today, with all of that technology available to help stay in touch. In my younger days, even long distance phone calls were very expensive, let alone seeing one another. If we had had the Internet, free long distance, Facebook, Skype, GroupMe or any other of the seemingly magical communications they have now, maybe my old friends wouldn't be strangers today.
Thankfully, my wife and I have each other to lean on in close quarters during the pandemic lockdown. If it weren't for that relationship, who knows how well we would survive it.
I had some interesting comments to share this week, and many seem to have also married their best bud. Here are a few of those comments (and I've edited or paraphrased some):
Nancy & Jonathan- My best friend is Sue. We met in the eighth grade at a private school in Massachusetts; she lived in New Hampshire at the time. Her mom had died when she was eight and my mother became like a second mom to her. We shared many joys and sorrows, many ups and downs, and many laughs and tears over the years. Considering that I am an Air Force brat, that we lived in different states, only went to school together for two years, went to different states after high school (my family moved to Germany; I went to college in New Jersey; she was in Connecticut for awhile), it is amazing that we managed to keep in touch over the years. We still write real letters to each other and try to see each other several times a year. It's easier now that we both live in New Hampshire about an hour apart. In 2018 we celebrated fifty years of friendship by taking a river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam.
Dennis & Lorece H.- My best friend is Lorece. She had a crush on me in high school and I didn't even know. I fell in love with her 41 years ago and we are now growing old together. We are still in love and she is still my best friend.
Mark & Anneliese- My best friend is my husband. We were friends before we got married and still are. We have gone through thick and thin. Mark is my prayer-partner -- we have been praying together since before we got married. We are totally silly, like teenagers, and don't mind showing our goofy side to one another. When I have troubles I can always text/call him to ask for help or pray for me, and he faithfully does.
TheClearyClan- I met my wife while we both worked for the same company and in the same department in 1972. We became best of friends and got married in the 70's. We have four daughters and seven grandkids (so far). I remember many things my grandparents and my parents did with me and my four siblings. I am the oldest and I have been doing my best to create memories for my kids and grandkids. This includes things like trips to zoos and camping trips.
John And Debbie M.- My closest best friend is my husband. I have three best friends from elementary school and one current best friend in Texas. We are all blessed if we can count our best friends on one hand.
Traveling Doberman’s- My best friend is Wanda. We met the first day of kindergarten and have been friends for 57 years. No matter what or how far away, we are always there for each other.
Nadyne H.- We all have best friends at different stages of our lives and they come to mean different things to us at those times. In the 7th grade in Tucson AZ, I met a few girls in band. We all played the clarinet and we became very close. To this day, 54 years later, these ladies are still very dear friends - family really. A s an adult, I've met friends over the years. Some are still so close to me that we can talk as if no time has passed even after a few years! I consider these friends "family" as well. "Friends become our chosen family," it is said. That is so true! I love all these family members of mine and I don't mind telling them so!
My ending quote comes from an Israeli psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, who said, "Friends are sometimes a big help when they share your feelings. In the context of decisions, the friends who will serve you best are those who understand your feelings but are not overly impressed by them."
Jack Huber is a writer, blogger, poet and photographer. Like many, he is concerned about the psyche of our planet's inhabitants and wants to try to improve his little corner of it.