Whether we’d admit it or not, we all have someone in our lives that we consider a best friend. A best friend is someone who you enjoy spending time with, trust with your deepest secrets and talk openly and honestly with when something is troubling you.
For some, this may be a childhood friend with whom they had endured the hardships of life together. For others, it may be their parents, sibling or significant other. In some cases, a person who was a stranger to you less than a year ago may quickly develop in to your most valuable friend. Many of us will even have multiple “best friends” who we can call upon in times of need, or if we just need to rant over a drink.
These friendships do not happen without effort. Sure, it requires basic chemistry and connection. But to build a great friendship, it requires both parties to invest time, care and empathy. Loyalty is built on acts of kindness. You need to actively listen to delve deeper into the emotions and thoughts that drive your friend’s worries. We improve each other over time by calling out bad behaviours, while offering endless support and love when the other person feels worthless or unattractive. We take for granted the sheer amount of emotional energy invested in cultivating a true friendship.
When we forget this fact, we become terrible friends. We can be selfish, becoming angry with our friend that they aren’t giving us the support that we need. If this ever happens, consider the fact that your friend is also human and that they might be in exactly the same position as you. To parody John F. Kennedy:
“Ask not what your friend can do for you – ask what you can do for your friend”.
There is also one other friendship we must discuss – the friendship between you and yourself. This sounds strange, but you should be your own best friend. You are the person that has truly lived your life with you. You know of all the dramas, thoughts and feelings you have experienced. Yet when we are in a time of need, we neglect to support ourselves as a friend. Instead of support and love, we criticise ourselves, neglect ourselves and drive ourselves to stress and fatigue.
Be generous with your kindness to yourself and don’t forget to treat yourself. If you are having a bad day, take a break so that you can be there for yourself. Watch a movie, go for a walk, introspect and have a deep and meaningful chat with yourself. If you feel like a failure, remind yourself that you are being stupid and remind yourself of how amazing you are.
No matter how many great friends we have, we cannot truly be happy if we treat ourselves like an enemy.