Is She Really My Best Friend or just an Acquaintance?

Me with my BFF, my husband, Tom

Me and Tom celebrating at our youngest son's wedding
Me and Tom celebrating at our youngest son's wedding | Source

A BFF Means Exactly That: Best Friend FOREVER

"You know, you’ve always been my best friend!” That’s what she said to me after 40 years of never hearing from her, never getting together, and no contact. I was dumbfounded. I knew this all stemmed from her desire to be included in the limelight and my filmmaking endeavors. I never heard from this “best friend” until my first film was announced on Facebook a couple years ago. It’s funny how that works.

In the dictionary a best friend is described as: Someone who is trustworthy…you can tell secrets to. The one friend who is closest to you, a person you know well and can regard with affection and trust, rely on day and night and never face judgment regardless of the situation. The definition for an acquaintance is this: Knowledge of a person acquired by a relationship less intimate than a friendship. The best comparison comes from the Merriam-Webster dictionary: An acquaintance is a person one knows, though not intimately: a casual acquaintance at school. A friend is a person with whom one is on intimate terms and for whom one feels a warm affection: a trusted friend.

This simplified the distinction for me and should make it pretty clear as to who are my best friends and who are acquaintances. My list of friends and best friends is very limited: my husband, Carolyn, Mary, my two male film partners, my mother, my mother-in-law, my children, and all remaining family. Few have come to my rescue in moments of need or have always been there for me with unconditional love and forgiveness. I consider everyone else I’ve ever met or known as an acquaintance. That would definitely include my latest acquaintance who claimed I’ve always been her best friend, because quite frankly I have not visited or maintained a relationship with her either, so we are equally guilty of not expanding on a long dead relationship that never really developed beyond being acquainted.

In the past 38 years I’ve suffered vast ordeals that few have been able to support me on, but the limited friends I have were always there for me with unconditional love and a shoulder to cry on. They are my true nearest and dearest best friends and for anyone to make it onto my list, they, too, would have to earn that privilege.

My point is I’m not saying someone else cannot be one of my best friends. There’s plenty of time to reignite a past relationship if the effort is sincere and unselfish. On the other hand, nothing irks me more than someone who abuses my trust and takes advantage of my feelings by declaring they are close to me only to use me as their temporary stepstool to acquire their own spotlight. Sadly, I encounter those individuals on a daily basis.

To sum it up, those that make it onto my best friend’s list are truly unique individuals—people I will always love and share my life with unconditionally. I will make time for them in their hour of need and place them high on my ladder of priorities. Acquaintances, on the other hand, it was nice meeting you and I wish you well on your future endeavors. Just don’t count on me to include you in my special celebrations or come running at your beck and call. You haven’t earned that dedication from me and likely never will. But hey, don’t take it personally!

So, to that best friend who recently claimed her affectionate status with me…sorry. It’s not that easy to come back into my life and enjoy who I really am and my many successes. She didn’t earn it 40 years ago when we were in school together and she hasn’t earned it now. I’ll give it some time, but it’s unlikely I will change my mind. But it was nice knowing her the whole couple of years we were acquainted.

In the meantime, I hope she achieves a dozen more BFF’s in her quest to make the center of attention and garnish the biggest accumulation of friends on Facebook. It is, after all, about the numbers and being popular, right?

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