Just typing this headline makes me all warm and fuzzy. It also makes me wonder: why isn't National Best Friends Day a proper bank holiday? It should be. All best friends should get to take the day off work, have a bottomless brunch and hold hands and skip through the day together. At night all the best friends should get to go to a non-denominational service where a wise speaker reads ancient texts about friendship. And then the speaker's best friend gets up to talk about kindness and the value of friendship and then everyone gets to go up to the podium and say a few words about their friends.
Because no matter how many times I sign off from a conversation with a "k luh u, bai", or end a night of drinking with a grand statement of love and appreciation, or call early in the morning after a dream in which I was mean (to apologize), I never really feel like I've had enough of an opportunity to thank my friends for completing me and making me a better person.
I feel very lucky to remain close with my childhood friends. Even on the playground of our elementary school, we were very different. Athletic, dainty, extroverted, shy, hilarious, contemplative, crude. And yet we all gravitated towards each other. Something told us that we'd learn from each other. Even now, as I look across the table from them, during our monthly dinner date, I realize how completely different we are and yet how perfectly we mesh.
"What do you girls do?" An over-friendly and very New York waitress asked, filling the awkward lull brought in by her presence as she poured the wine. We've been asked this before. A big group of girls, looking very comfortable with each other. They want to know if we're co-workers or family.
"Lawyer, teacher, ad sales director, author, fashion designer, graphic designer, start-up manager, baker," we answered.
"Wow! You're all so different!" The waitress exclaimed. She didn't even know the half of it.
There are moments when I wonder how we get along so well. On a large scale, we each exist and participate in the world so differently. The way we react to conflict, the way we handle sadness, the way we express joy, the way we make decisions, the way we treat ourselves, the way we show love to others. And on a smaller scale, our tastes are far from similar. Food, music, entertainment, political views, religious orientation, sexual identity. All different. It's not what's the same that holds us together, it's our chemistry. In the same way that lovers look for partners with DNA compatibility to increase success rates for their offspring, I believe individuals seek squads with varied qualities to enhance each other. Here are six ways your best friends make you a better person:
They teach you to be open-minded
Because you come from such different households, you each carry a different sense of "normal". And because your tastes are so varied, open-mindedness becomes a necessary attribute.
They give you confidence
True friends support and encourage you endlessly. You trust their opinions and because they see value in you, you can see it too.
They allow you to make mistakes
They allow you to mess up. They don't judge you by what you do wrong, they remind you that it's how you fix things that defines your character.
They lend you their problem solving skills
They remind you to breathe and take a step back before stressing out. They all have such different sensibilities, so you're subject to their varied suggestions.
They show you kindness
Because you value different things, you're inspired to take on their values, increasing your overall reach. Their love helps you love, better.
They inspire you to be strong
They've all endured so much, you're constantly inspired to show power and grace. And knowing that your friends are always there for you gives you strength.