I used to work with a woman, who also became a great friend, and when we would chat about our lives, she would often share an anecdote about something her best friend did or something that happened to her best friend. It would drive me bananas because I never knew who she was talking about. She would refer to a half a dozen people as her best friend. And I would playfully admonish her that best implied singular and that she should correct the imprecision of her language. She would laugh and carry on as she did and I still never knew who she was talking about, until she said a name.
I’ve changed my mind about the whole scenario, as I’ve gotten older.
Since my teen years, I have probably had a half a dozen people who I could comfortably call my best friend. Besides my closest family. And sometimes extended family, even. But there’s something more to it than that.
That you can feel like someone is your best friend shouldn’t be degraded by the precision of language. I have many best friends. I have been thinking about some of them today. The ones who are celebrating life markers. The ones who are going through tough times. The ones who have shown me great kindness and the ones who have compelled me to show them great kindness.
In more precise language, it should likely be Great Friend, but in less precise language, and perhaps more meaningful language, Best Friend works best. So to my friend all those years ago, I am glad she had ten people whom she considered her best friend. She was lucky. And so were they.