The three of us walked together in hallways during pass periods, played together on monkey bars at recess, whispered together about super hard spelling tests, rode the bus together after school every day.
Together. We did everything together.
Until one day, my one friend murmured to my other friend, “You’re my best friend forever! You’re my BFF!”
And just like that, I became lesser and peripheral and secondary.
Just like that, my friendship with both girls stalled out and stagnated.
To be fair, I was in fourth grade at the time and hardly knew my way around any relationship, let alone the complicated web of a three-friend triangle of girls. But my-oh-my… the sting of that young exclusion resonates even today.
Because if that girl was the best friend, where did that leave me, the other friend?
I’m older, now, and hopefully wiser. But if I’m completely honest, the idea of BFFs still rubs me raw.
Now before you tar and feather me in your comments below, please don’t misunderstand me. I am FOR friendship. I am 100% certain that God wants us to have friends, people with whom we can “do life” and grow spiritually.
But while I’m all about friendship, I just don’t get the idea of best friends forever. To single out any one girlfriend as my “bestie” means, by definition, to (unwittingly) exclude many beautiful women who speak (or may speak) volumes into my world.
Some may reject my angst as a petty argument about semantics saying that to call someone a “BFF” is merely a term of endearment indicating the existence of a special relationship. In fact, some people might contend that they have many BFFs, and therefore no one person is exclusive (or excluded).
But I would argue that bearing the title BFF means not only that you have a special relationship with a person, but also that you hold the best (i.e. finest, unparalleled, matchless, highest-quality, ideal) position of friendship to that person.
At least that’s the perception.
So when I hear another woman tell me about her BFF, it immediately makes me question my relationship with her. It makes me feel like that fourth-grader all over again wondering… if that other woman is the best friend, where does that leave me?
I am not saying that we shouldn’t have close friends with whom we share the more intimate details of our journeys. I am not saying that some friendships aren’t naturally “deeper” than others.
I am saying that I don’t think it’s particularly healthy to single out one other woman as a best friend and then broadcast her “special status” to the world.
Instead, could we affirm our dear friends with descriptions that don’t make others feel alienated?
Could we say she is one of my closest friends or she is a gift from God who has spoken truth to my heart or I thank God for her because she has walked with me through hard times?
To those of you who have BFFs (some of whom I count as close friends): please know that I hold no ill will toward you. As a lover of words, my hope is merely to suggest that the term “BFF” may not emanate an entirely positive perception for everyone and may (innocently) ostracize other women.
Perhaps this post could be a friendly discussion starter? Maybe together we could be the picture of Proverbs 27:17?
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. (NLT)
Learning along with you,