Duchess of Sussex and generally cool girl Meghan Markle once said, "If we treated ourselves as well as we treat our best friend, can you imagine?"
And she's got a point! When you stop to think about it, a best friendship is among the most sacred and treasured relationships that exists. That's why —despite not being romantically or sexually involved with them — we're always ready to roll out the red carpet for our besties and treat them with all the love they deserve.
So let's talk about best friendship! This article is all about the signs of a true friend, and why platonic relationships are just as important (if not more so) than romantic relationships.
What Makes A True Friend?
Now, I'm not here to impose a hierarchy of friendship, but we all know that the title of best friend holds extra special value. A best friend is someone you trust completely, love unconditionally, and support through thick and thin. A best friend is someone you can't imagine living without! Is this starting to sound familiar?
If you're now thinking, "Hey, that sounds an awful lot like a soul mate," well, you're right. That's the beauty of true friendship — it's just as powerful and everlasting as romantic love. That said, let's look at some specific examples things that separate the best of your friends from the rest of your friends.
A best friend is someone who:
Makes you feel good. This one seems obvious, but a best friend should make you feel good. Sure, you're bound to get into disagreements every so often, but overall, your bestie should make you feel happy and loved.
Loves you for who you are. You and your best friend chose each other out of everybody in the world! That means your bestie accepts you for exactly who you are, and expects the same in return. There's no pressure to be richer, better looking, more popular, or anything other than your wonderful self.
Is honest and trustworthy. A best friend is someone you trust without hesitation. You know they would never do anything to hurt you, and you've got each other's backs! Basically, your best friend is the person you tell everything to.
Cares about accountability. When you argue, you work toward a resolution. It may take some time, but you get there eventually. Why? Because you share a bond that's worth fighting for. This means saying sorry, and holding yourselves (and each other) accountable.
Doesn't judge. Even when you make mistakes or do something you're not proud of, a best friend doesn't take joy in passing judgement. They might encourage you to make the right decision, and they definitely care about your wellbeing, but a best friend never tries to make you feel guilty or judged.
Starting to get the picture? Simply put: best friends are, well, the best! That said, you might be thinking, "Hey, I've got several friends who meet this description! Can a person have more than one best friend?" And to that I answer with an unequivocal YES. If you're lucky enough to have more than one best friendship, that's fantastic.
There's absolutely no rule that limits the number of best friends you can have. However, it's common for folks to keep a tight-knit, small inner circle of best friends. Why? Because true friendship and compatibility is a rare and beautiful thing that can be tough to find. Not to mention, nurturing a best friendship can be just as time consuming and require as much effort and attention as with a romantic partnership.
Speaking of which, let's take a moment to talk about why platonic love matters just as much as romantic love!
Why Platonic Love Matters and How to Nurture It
We live in a society where romantic love is put on a pedestal and friends are often considered ancillary characters. That's why searching for "best love stories" on Netflix will typically yield dozens of rom-coms and heartwarming dramas that feature romantic love — but friendships, not so much (unless, of course, it's a movie about friends who become lovers).
The truth is, the kind of love between best friends is priceless, and deserves as much recognition as romantic love! A best friend is a soul mate in their own way, and it's important to nurture your friendships to keep them strong and long lasting. Below, we'll look at some examples of how to keep your best friendships healthy.
To build platonic intimacy and nurture best friendships, you should...
Be open and honest. This applies to all relationships, but remember that honesty is the best policy. I know it sounds cliché, but a best friendship can't work if you keep harmful secrets or lie to each other. Remember: a BFF is someone you should be able to trust with your most intimate and vulnerable feelings.
Make time for each other. The older we get, the more responsibilities we have. The more responsibilities we have, the quicker we are to raincheck our best-friend-brunch dates and catch-up-coffee times. And while it is important to be careful with your time and energy, it's also important to make time for your best friends when you can. Otherwise, you might realize that too much time has gone by, and your bestie feels a little distant.
Grow together. With any luck, your best friendships will last many years, and you'll all grow old together. That said, keep in mind that you will be growing together... which means changing together too. As your best friend evolves and changes through life's many phases, remind them that you're there through thick and thin, and support the person they want to become.
Communicate openly. There will come a time when your best friend does something that doesn't feel loving or friendly at all because — hey — they're human. When that happens, it's important to address the issue in an effective and open way. Tell them how you feel, and if they're a true friend, they'll listen. By staying quiet in order to avoid conflict, you risk letting resentment build, which is detrimental to the health and wellbeing of a best friendship.
Celebrate each other. Yes, we're all used to celebrating wedding anniversaries and engagements... but what about platonic love? If you've been friends with your bestie for 10 years, you deserve to celebrate! If you've recently befriended someone who is so obviously your person, that's cause for celebration too! Remember: just because it's not romantic or sexual doesn't mean it's not valid and worth recognition.
Top 20 Best Friendship Quotes
What do you say — should we finish this article with some spot-on best friendship quotes? Take a look below and decide which ones you relate to the most!
- "I don't know what I would have done so many times in my life if I hadn't had my girlfriends." - Reese Witherspoon
- "There’s not a word yet for old friends who’ve just met." - Jim Henson
- "The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart." - Elisabeth Foley
- "A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails." - Donna Roberts
- "Rare as is true love, true friendship is rarer." - Jean de la Fontaine
- "A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out." - Walter Winchell
- "You find out who your real friends are when you're involved in a scandal." - Elizabeth Taylor
- "There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship." - Thomas Aquinas
- "The real test of friendship is: can you literally do nothing with the other person? Can you enjoy those moments of life that are utterly simple?" - Eugene Kennedy
- "Friendship is a sheltering tree." - Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- "A friend can tell you things you don't want to tell yourself." Frances Ward Weller
- "If you live to be a hundred, I hope I live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you." - Winnie the Pooh
- "Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love." - Jane Austen
- "The love that comes from friendship is the underlying facet of a happy life." Chelsea Handler
- "Anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you." - Misty Copeland
- "It's not that diamonds are a girl's best friend, but it's your best friends who are your diamonds." - Gina Barreca
- "There's nothing like a really loyal, dependable, good friend. Nothing." - Jennifer Aniston
- "It's the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter." - Marlene Dietrich
- "She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.” - Toni Morrison
- “Life is an awful, ugly place to not have a best friend.” - Sarah Dessen
I hope you've learned a thing or two about friendship today. Now you're ready to go forth and text your bestie, FaceTime your friends, and generally share your love with your platonic life partners!