If finding a friend is the platonic version of dating, than declaring BFFship is like saying those three little words.
I’ve often wondered what I’ll do if and when I find The One. Or, even, The Ones. Is there a not-awkward way of telling someone that she’s your BFF?
A couple of weeks ago I got an email from a reader with this same question. It read: “At what point do you tell someone that you consider them a BFF (or the BFF)? What signs do you look for that indicate it’s the right time? Do you wait for it to come up in conversation, or do you make a point to talk about it? And what do you do if something heartbreaking happens: you tell them they’re your BFF and instead of them saying ‘Oh, I feel the same way too!’ they just smile sweetly and say something horrifying like ‘Oh, thank you!'”
Perhaps, at this point, you are chuckling in your head at how date-y this seems. These are, clearly, the same concerns when we want to tell a romantic partner that we’re in love. But let me be clear—this reader is not alone. I’ve been wondering the same thing and, in fact, her timing was impeccable. It seemed as if she might have been reading my mind.
Reader went on to tell me about her relationship with a new pal. “I really want to tell this ‘close local’ friend that I consider her a BFF, but I feel awkward doing so because [I know she has other local best friends]. I’m pretty sure she would say she considers me a BFF too, but there’s a chance she won’t. I tend to wear my heart of my sleeve, so NOT telling her she’s a BFF is quite painful for me.”
I’m the same way. You know how when you’re in love you want to shout it from the rooftops? That’s how I feel about new friends. As our relationships evolve, it’s all I can do not to give my friends a Best Friends Forever card. Or necklace. On top of that—and I’m totally serious here—when we go out and get drinks, if I get buzzed enough I get that giggly “I want to tell you how much you mean to me” bug that plenty of us get when we’re out with a boyfriend. Anyone who’s made a slightly drunk profession of love knows this is not the best idea.
As I told this reader in an email, most of my potential best friends in Chicago already have a best friend of their own. So announcing that they hold the title could be end up, well, with a “thank you.” (Like Emily to Ross!) Yikes.
The good news is that this isn’t romantic dating. Declaring BFFship isn’t a necessity in taking a relationship to the next level. No one (well, except me and this reader, apparently) is waiting for those three little words:”You’re my BFF.” So saying it isn’t a necessity. You don’t have to wait until the time is right. My advice, to her and to myself, was to wait it out. Making a pronouncement could be awkward, but letting it come up naturally in conversation—in a joke, or a fun toast—is, in the words of another Friend, Monica, breezy.
If you’re in a friendship that’s working for you, the rational answer to this reader question is that the label shouldn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you are the official BFF or not, you’re still getting the same social satisfaction. Of course, my rational side doesn’t always win. Whose does?
So, what do you think? When is the right time to tell her
you love her she’s your BFF?