You just had lunch at Chick-fil-a and now you’re off to spend your parent’s money at the jewelry store with your really good friend. Linked at the arm you pass under the big purple letters of the Claire’s sign and you head straight for your favorite rack, the rings. You scan through the silver ones with the rhinestones, the colorful gaudy ones, and then the stretchy beaded ones, when all of a sudden you hear your friend’s call from the back of the store. Her call leads you to where she is standing in front of the rack filled with “best friend” necklaces and bracelets. You excitedly look through the two piece-sets to find the perfect one. Agreeing on the neon green puzzle piece necklaces, you run to the cashier. However when leaving the store, arms linked again, your smile quickly fades. You remember that you had other friends who are just as good as friend as her. I believe in sharing best friends.
Having only one best friend is most prevalent in grade school. I’m not sure why this is? One day way back in my fourth grade days, I was walking down to lunch when I saw one of my really good friends sitting on the end of the table. Being that she was alone, I walked over to her, put my lunch pail down, and sat next to her. This was a mistake that I had no idea I had just made. We started causally talking about recess and about the story we were just read before lunch, when her “best friend” walked into the cafeteria. I received the ugliest look from her. She then told me to scoot down, as she plopped right down in between us. Besides the ugly look, I didn’t think much about it until recess. After I lost in four-square, the “best friend” waltzed up to me with my really good friend closely behind.
“You cannot sit by her at lunch! She is my best friend, not yours!” she exclaimed.
She then thrust her necklace out showing the engraved word “Best” and then she pointed to my friend with the matching “Friend” necklace. After this she pivoted and ran away in the other direction, leaving my friend to reluctantly follow her. By calling each other “best friends”, they left me alone and wondering if I could ever be near my friend again without her best friend throwing a fit. So again I ask why elementary kids pair off into “best friends”? I think it is because the girl was unsure of herself and as a result she wanted someone to always be by her side. She wanted someone, one person who would always be there for her, even if it meant I would be left out.
When we get to high school however, things begin to change for the better. While we want to be in the same classes with our best friends, this is not so easy in high school when there are so many different courses. You stroll into you new AP history class, hoping to see your best friend, when all you see is strangers in the seats before you. Sheepishly, you stalk to a chair in the back of the room, returning a head nod to the girl who happily says “hi”. She starts to talk to you and all of sudden after a few weeks you have a new friend. Through the activities and classes we are involved in, we become friends with people who share similar interests with us. If you go out for the basketball team, you will meet people who like to play basketball like you. Taking difficult AP math classes will surround you with people who work hard like you and enjoy math. When you realize these commonalities, you and that person will become friends. Throughout our whole high school career we develop friends from all ranges of backgrounds. You’ll have your sporty friends, your fun friends, and your smart friends. If you remained attached to one person, you would not have the variety of friends that high school provides to you.
Suffering is a big part of our world today. And when we sink into these pits of despair and sorrow, we look to our friends. In the midst of your anguish you depend on the friends you have around you to build you back up. However there are many types of hurt in the world today. You were cut from the soccer team, you just failed that big AP Calculus test, or you just broke up with your boyfriend. All of these examples are very different, that probably just one friend cannot understand. When you are cut from the Varsity soccer team, your AP math buddies cannot fully understand what you are going through. Only your fellow soccer buddies completely feel your pain. No matter the obstacle, a multitude of is very helpful when trying to overcome the pain. If you had only chosen one friend, them fully understanding your situation might be difficult. By surrounding ourselves with our own group of friends instead of having one best friend, we have more people to rely on.
Friends are the best people to help you get through those valleys in life. They are there to comfort and to understand. While we develop many friendships throughout our life, we need to be careful not to become exclusive. So the next time you are browsing through the two-piece “best friend” necklaces with your really awesome friend in Claire’s, just remember all the other friends you are excluding.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.