Part of searching for a BFF is figuring out what the term actually means. Who qualifies? When I started out I said I was looking for a “last-minute plans” pal. Someone I’d feel comfortable calling on a Sunday morning if I needed a brunch partner or whom I’d invite over for a Friday TV-and-wine night. “To me, that’s what BFFs are,” I wrote in my very first post (and on my About page). “Not just people who know your innermost secrets, but the ones up for grabbing a bite on a whim because they love being with you just that much, and getting together feels easy and natural rather than a chore you need to pencil in.” I still stand by this statement. Sort of.
Here’s the thing: I’ve made some good spontaneous friends. There are people with whom I might be not-awkward enough to invite to a movie on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Would I call them my best friends? Not even close.
When I crown my new BFF (That’s a joke people. I understand there are no women lining up to accept this rose) she will certainly be someone I feel comfortable calling whenever, whether for a spur of the moment invitation or just to say hi. But that’s not enough. That’s only one aspect of close friendship. It would be cool if she knew my innermost secrets, too. And if I could call her crying if Matt and I should have a fight, that would be grand. I’d like her to meet my family (see! It’s dating…) and be someone who could pick me up at the doctor’s office if, I don’t know, something like that were necessary.
This weekend I’m flying back to the East Coast. Friday morning, Sara and I are road tripping to the Maine summer camp where we first met. I need to leave early Sunday because I have an appointment in Boston at noon, so I’m planning on getting a ride from someone headed that way. I’ve been a bit nervous about the timing though, because I really can’t be late to Boston. Knowing this, Sara has offered to drive me if need be. She‘s willing to leave our favorite place on earth early and drive pretty far out of her way just to make sure I get where I need to be. And though to most people I would say “No, I can’t let you do that,” I will probably take her up on it. Because Sara’s my best friend and I know she means it when she offers, and that’s what BFFs do.
I wouldn’t even feel comfortable asking any of my new friends to drive me to the airport.
As my search evolves, so too does the image of what I’m searching for. As it turns out, there’s more to bestfriendship than shared gossip over omelettes.
How do you define a BFF? What makes someone qualify for the title?
14 responses to “Redefining BFF”
Part of being a BFF is being okay with silence together, too. I was driving with a friend of mine, and we were both just listening to the music in the car, and I realized that neither of us was thinking about whether or not it was awkward that we weren’t talking…I guess that just implies a certain comfort and ability to be yourself, not having to analyze any part of the time together (you know, the “does she think what I just said was funny?”, or “if I order this, will she feel pressure to order that?” randomness).
I must say that mwfseekingbff is my BBF (best blog forever). Why? Because I love that every weekday at 6am sharp, I know you’ll be there. 😉
I define a BFF not only by what they’re willing/capable of, but also by how I react to them. It has to be mutual, of course. I’d definitely say, “reliability”. Not reliability in the sense that they’ll be there if I’m about to die– wouldn’t anyone, really? What’s always been important to me is the daily maintenance of life. Like, volunteering to go out of their way, to take me to my scary doctor’s appointment (and going, whether I pretend to be brave or not), or stating that they’ll pick me up from the airport (rather than just half-heartedly offering). Equally important, would be my willingness to do exactly the same for them. That’s a match made in BFF heaven. 🙂
There aren’t many people I’d drive “out of my way” for. The nice person in me would offer favors within convenience. But I think it’s when the “automatic pilot” comes out in us, to want’ to be there for the daily mundane (but important) stuff in life, that makes a BFF.
Oh, you made such a good point, it isn’t just someone willing to do those little favors for you, but someone you’re comfortable asking. I think that sort of thing says a lot about a friendship.
There’s an old expression that goes, “A friend is the family you choose for yourself,” and that’s how I describe my BFF. I’m not even remotely close to my “real” sister, but my BFF is the sister I always wanted/needed. Prime example of what a BFF will do for you: When my son was 14 months old, he developed a serious case of pneumonia and ended up in the Pediatric ICU. I was still living out in Stony Brook, NY at the time, but my BFF, Jennifer, lived in NJ. Knowing I wouldn’t leave my son’s side and that I was probably not taking care of myself, she drove out to the hospital and brought along a fruit basket so that I would eat something of value while taking care of my son. My now ex-husband was of no help (just one reason he’s an ex!), but Jennifer sent me off to the parents’ room where I was able to shower and change and take a short nap while she stood guard over my son. That’s a BFF…
As a single gal who lives alone, I’ve often thought that someone local should have a spare set of keys for my apartment. (In case I lose mine or to make sure I didn’t slip getting out of the tub) I haven’t given anyone keys yet, perhaps it’s because I need a BFF for that responsibility. Who do you trust to come running or check on you? A BFF.
Well, the whole ‘last minute plans’ thing doesn’t come to mind when I think of best friend… Mostly because I am so not a last minute plans type, so I don’t know that my bff’s could count on me for that. Lol. is that bad? Obviously if an emergency came up, I’d make time for them, but I other than that, I live a bit more by a schedule. I realize this makes me a bit of a yawn…
It’s hard to describe what makes someone my best friend. Maybe the fact that they know me well enough to call me on my bullsh*t. They will disagree with me and call me out when I am in the wrong in terms of thinking about boys or work or whatever, really. They are also my cheerleaders at the same time…. So hard to explain, but I am def thankful for the besties in my life. 🙂
It is when I realize that I don’t feel comfortable asking anyone but my fiance or his best friend for a ride to the airport that I feel most alone in Chicago.
And now the best friend is about to leave to go to Grad School very far away. So there goes that one. Yikes.
It is true that reliability is an important element of BFFdom.
The interesting thing I have found is that there are people who are super reliable but I don’t feel that “click” with them, so I don’t reach out to them too often.
Then there are those people I adore who are just too busy to be a spontaneous friend or to even be reliable either. Then there are the people who are unreliable but fun to see when I can.
Finding the combo of reliable, occasionally spontaneous, and genuinely “clicking” is a rarity I think. When you find it, you gotta nurture it. Hopefully we find it again in our adult lives.
You know what I think? Sometimes all it takes is asking for that favor to really move the friendship to something deeper. I think you actually could ask one of your new friends to drive you to the airport, and it could be a great step forward. Maybe they’ve also been wanting to ask a favor, or maybe they feel honored that you would ask for help. (Now, a ride to Boston is a big ask. But a trip to the airport? No problem.)
The thing about BFFs is … they’d offer to drive you to the airport … you’d never even have to ask. Clearly, Sara fits the bill. Hopefully, you’re finding some people in Chicago who would be up to the task if, say, Matt is unable, cabs are hard to come by and the L explodes. =)
I loved this post, just love all the posts. I am looking for a new Bff, and making the hard decision that another friendship will not be a BFF. I think on some basic level, you have to have the same rythems….do you see appropriate times to call the same, do you think talking daily is normal or smothering, do you return all kinds of communications…text, emails, or just if it was important? All these kind of issues must be the same in best friends or you are just prime for misunderstandings.
Maybe the hard part is “asking” the newer friends for help. It is always hard to ask for help. A drive to the airport, stop in and water our plants while we are away, etc. We don’t want to inconvience anyone and there are “services” for these things. Airport shuttle, pet sitting services. Maybe if we just ask for help, we might take the friendship to the next level. We could let them know they could depend on us if they ever need help. I think we all need more people in our lives that we can depend on and surely they need us too. Even if they don’t know it yet!
Good conversation, reliability, trust and help in those last minute pinches is the ultimate BFF.
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