When I was in kindergarten, my very first best friend and I had birthdays a day apart, which was like the 5-year-old version of ~destiny~. We did everything together: shared crayons, rode bikes, split those legendary two-stick popsicles on the jungle gym. I'm not actually sure who brought up the topic of marriage first, but to us, it must have seemed totally logical to have the next 20 to 30 years of our lives planned out. I have a very distinct memory of telling my kindergarten teacher that we were going to get married but that my BFF was not as big a fan of Sailor Moon as I was, so we were still working it out. Kid relationships have real problems.
Alas, years passed and I moved away and I only ever see that BFF on her Facebook feed from 3,000 miles away, but now that I have entered the "real adult" world of dating (one that mostly involves putting way too much thought into mindless texts, spending too much money, and overthinking everything), it seems to me like my childhood BFF and I should have taken each other up on that marriage offer. It would have been way more convenient on all accounts, a theory that I later tested and proved by almost exclusively dating people I had been best friends with for awhile. (I'm one of those people who probably would turn down even Ryan Gosling if I hadn't known him for a full six months first, because yes, in this fantasy world, Ryan Gosling is coming after me with a burning passion. Don't ask questions.) Dating can often be so murky, but with BFFs your relationship has always been more than clear—here are the signs that you should definitely ditch the dating pool and just date your best friend:
They have already seen you get as gross and weird as you possibly can and are unfazed
Your best friend already knows your ugly cry face, knows what you smell like on your third day of not showering, knows what your drunk-puke looks like on the sidewalk. There would never be that awkward, humiliating milestone of "being gross in front of them for the first time," because you have already taken several cross country flights to Yucksville and back.
Your family loves them, possibly more than they love you
Honestly, I suspect over the years that my parents have liked my best friends more than they like me. All new significant others are generally met with insta-suspicion by your family, but when you bring a best friend over, your mom's all like, "Awww, what So-And-So up to?" with thinly-veiled parental obsession.
You're stealing all their clothes anyway
Might as well make it slightly more socially acceptable for you to pilfer their comfy shirts without asking.
You never have to act fake-pleased with presents they give you
Look, I have a half a theater degree and even I do a terrible job at faking excitement for the weird, totally nonsensical gifts that significant others have given me in the past, including and not limited to a sparkly pink booty shirt with the name of school I didn't even go to ("Because you love pink!"). My best friends, on the other hand, get me things like cheese knives and soap that smells like roses (the flower I am most obsessed with smelling) because they know what's up.
You feel totally fine turning down their restaurant ideas
Look, going out to eat is fun, but there are only so many times I can lie about liking spicy food before my weaksauce tastebuds finally explode. With your significant other, you feel an obligation to suck it up to be "down" and "cool" or whatever, but with you're BFF you're like, "Ugh, please no, anything but that," and nobody even blinks.
They know your hangry face from your angry face
Ordinary significant others take it totally personally when you get snippy. Best friends know that they need to root through their glove compartment for the emergency Nutri-Grain bar, stat.
They know all your dirty secrets
Mostly because they were there for the origins of most of them.
You have no problem rooting through their fridge
If most of my reasons for dating your BFF sound like they have to do with food, it's because it's the most important thing and I'm not sorry.
You're already watching all the same shows on Netflix
I guess this isn't necessarily a requirement to date someone, but it sure does help. You are so much more likely to have your Netflix queue synced up with a best friend than any other human in your life, and say what you will, but even the most well-intentioned of us inevitably spend weekday nights cooped up on the couch cuddling to the glow of our lord and master, Netflix. People I have dated in the past have tolerated my 30 Rock obsession, for instance, but my best friends are nursing one just as bad as mine.
You are each other's biggest cheerleaders
Best friends know just what to say to get your head back in the game. I mean, seriously, look at every rom-com ever. Half of the time, the main character has an "aha!" moment, it's because their witty sidekick best friend bitch-slapped them back into reality, not the dashing object of their affection. Same goes for real life. Best friends say what you need to hear, plain and simple.
You are content in total silence together
There is something magical about being able to sit on your asses in each other's company while you're both working on separate things, but still preferring to have them sit quietly next to you than not be there at all.
Your bounce back from disagreements easily and often
Why is it that we take fights with significant others way more personally than the ones we have with BFFs? The ones with people we're dating escalate with alarming speed, but with your best friend, you can just be like, "Ugh, we disagree about this thing and it's annoying, but the fro yo place is closing in a half hour so get your ass off the couch so we can get some noms."
You never get sick of each other
Everybody has their limits before they need some alone time, but what's special about best friends is that even though you've talked about anything and everything there possibly is to talk about on the planet, you still look forward to talking to them way more than anybody else in your life.
Images: NBC; Giphy (7)