I will be the first to admit I’m spoiled. I was lucky enough to meet my closest friend, Jennifer, at five years old and to have maintained that relationship for the past twenty five years. I have always known she was my best friend, and never had to wonder if we were close enough for me to share my TMI stories, if I would be bothering her if I asked for a favor or if I could trust her with my deepest darkest secrets. There’s never been any question in my mind about our sisters by choice status, but it’s rare to have one, nevermind multiple lifelong close friends. We all eventually find ourselves making new friends, cultivating those relationships and then wondering are we BFFs yet? And more importantly, will we be in a month, year or decade from now? There is currently no app for that, so I figured I would lay out the three signs you’ll be best friends for life as decided by me.
You can be yourself.
No one likes to admit it, but in the early stages of a friendship we’re all a bit fake. Before you say “No, I’m not!” hear me out. Just like in dating, we court our new friends by being on our best behavior. We try not complain too much, seem too clingy or even pretend to be more interested in their interests than we actually are. It’s some freaky thing bred into us as human beings. We’re desperate to gain social acceptance, and sometimes it’s not even a conscious choice. Once we’re sure we’re in, that the other person isn’t going to run screaming for the hills when you relax and let loose, we start behaving more like our everyday selves. If your friend still wants to be around you once you’re acting like your awesomely unique, weird and true self, you may have found a lifer.
Time and distance don’t matter.
It can be difficult to maintain a friendship when your work keeps you busy, you move away or you have a major life change like a new romantic relationship or baby. A good friendship takes work, just like a good romantic partnership, but even when we have the best intentions sometimes things fall through the cracks. You know you’ve made a best friend for life, when you both make the effort to reconnect after those times and no one has hard feelings. If you can go a week, month, or many months, without speaking and then pick up where you left off like nothing has changed, there’s a pretty good chance your best friendship is going to last.
You know you can trust them with anything.
If you’re anything like me you have different trust levels for different friends in your life, and it takes them a long time to level up. There are the friends you wouldn’t trust with anything- your secrets, your car, your significant other. Maybe it’s because they’re too new, they’re just down to party, or maybe it’s because they’ve already burned you once. Either way you’re applying the term friend loosely, and you’re not ready to give them the benefit of the doubt. Then there are the friends who you trust with some things, but not others. You would let them borrow your car, and you know they wouldn’t hit on your partner, but you still would not tell them your most embarrassing thoughts, self doubts, and fears. They’re trustworthy enough for the word friend to truly apply, but you’re not ready for the emotional vulnerability. But, if you’re lucky enough to have a friend that you do not feel any hesitation sharing your belongings with, having your boyfriend/girlfriend get close to and you can tell them about that dream you keep having about your boss that you’re pretty sure means you have some severe issues, AND they treat you the same- then you most likely have found a best friend for life.
No one thing (or list of three) can give you a foolproof answer on whether or not your friendship will stand the test of time, but these three factors will hopefully give you a good place to start.