I’ve been thinking about the importance of friendships a lot lately. I think that companionship is an extremely important thing to be good at in life, and maybe that’s because I’m terrible at being alone. When people ask me what my worst fear is or what I think Hell is, I always respond with “being alone for the rest of my life.”
That used to be in regards to romance. Some days, it still is, but it’s expanded way beyond that recently.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had this terrible habit of making my entire life about The Boy. Whatever boy I was in love with at that point in my life, he was all that mattered. I used to think that was something really wonderful about me. I was kind of an idiot. I still can be, but that’s not the point.
The thing is, though, that at the end of the day, the most important person in my life thus far has been my best friend, “John Hamm.” I met her under really odd circumstances in my basement when I was 14 and we’ve been through and survived everything life has thrown at us up to this point together. There have been amazing years where we have talked every single day. There was a good year and a half when we didn’t talk at all. I still referred to her as my best friend throughout that whole time, and I wish I could say that it was because I knew we would be okay, but I think it was more that I refused to accept that we might not be. (That’s an entirely different self-reflection point.) Luckily, we made it through that, too.
Yup. That happened.
Our friendship survived – even thrived – throughout college, and when we both lived in Europe. It survived us living together (just barely) and now, it’s surviving as we’re both settling into our lives in different states. Granted, we’re only a few hours away from one another, but she lives a busy city life full of law school, and I live a quiet country life full of bookshops and small town crowds. Our scenes aren’t exactly the same anymore.
By many standards, John Hamm and I should have faded away a long time ago. We should have graduated college, found boyfriends or husbands, moved to new places, started new lives, and referred to each other as “My best friend when I was in college.” I mean, that’s how these things usually go, right?
But we haven’t.
See, the thing is that while I was always making my life about The Boy, and when John Hamm was feeling hurt about the fact that I couldn’t seem to understand that, she never abandoned me. She put up with my bullshit and even pointed it out to me, because she knows she’s the one person who can say that to me, and I’ll listen.
Boys have come and gone. Boys will keep coming and going. One day, maybe, a boy might even stick around, and that will be a wonderful day. I still want that, because I’m human and a Jane Austen fan who loves romantic comedies. I’m never going to stop wanting that.
To be honest, though, I’m at a point where now my biggest fear is being without my best friend. Not having a best friend at all.
And John Hamm and I will continue to go through our own hills and valleys with one another. Some months, we’ll talk every day and it will be great, but let’s face it: We’re at the beginning of our adult lives and things will only keep getting more and more insane and busy and full of other people, and maybe one day one of us will get married and have children (human or non-) and things will become even more packed with chaos. Our lives will be all about schedules and deadlines and sticky little fingers covered in mystery substances.
I hope to still call her my best friend throughout all of that. After all, we all need someone to turn to when the boys are driving us nuts and even when they’re making us feel wonderful. We need that person to tell us “Hey, look at your priorities. Hit the brakes for a second and just check your route before you make a really wrong turn down a one-way street.” I’m actually lucky enough to say that I’ve got a few of those in my life, which might mean that I’m a little more screwed up than I should be.
I guess what all of this rambling is supposed to say is that friends are important and I hope you all have a “John Hamm.” I hope you all have that person in your life to talk to and go through it all with. Romance is really important, and it is a wonderful thing to be cherished and sought after. Best friends, though, are a whole different type of relationship and they take just as much care and passion as romance does.
That’s why John Hamm and I make a point to meet for lunch one Sunday a month halfway between our respective cities and spend a whole day together with one another. This past time around, we got to talking about this very subject, and when I got home, I texted her to tell her how much I appreciate her:
Me: <insert long heartfelt speech here about how much I love her>
JH: Haha, thank you. I know we’re good. I love you too.
Me: Call me whenever, okay?
JH: Ok. Same goes for you.
Me: Thanks. We’re forever.
JH: I know. We’re GUIs.
JH: Autocorrect win…
Me: I was about to ask what that meant.
JH: No. I mean it, Emelie. We are graphic user interfaces.
Me: Until the end of time.
And I really mean that, Duckies. I really, really mean that.