At this point in my life, I feel like I have a relative grasp on how I know somebody is my best friend and when I know I can call them that. I, like everybody else, have had many best friends, those who left and never looked back, some who have returned, and others who have stood the test of time. I’m in a place in my life where I can accept the idea that people come and go in life — they are what they are. You can’t plan for the future, you can’t make promises, you can’t have promises made, and you just can’t know. I know that this sounds really pessimistic, but what other way is there to look at it? Being let down hurts, and unreciprocated feelings and/or attitudes suck. All you have left are failed relationships, which ultimately mold you into the person you are. I’ve departed friendships with one too many should’ve’s and could’ve’s, with a sense of wasted energy and time, with guilt and regret. I’m extremely sensitive, and so I end up asking myself, Is this what I get for trying?

This isn’t going to be another blog post about codependency.

This is, however, a blog post about what I think it means to be best friends with somebody. Not this, I’ll tell you that much. For me, it’s pretty easy for me to get close to somebody. I am, as they say, an open book. I prefer to be as straightforward as I can get, and I prefer to express myself in a way that other people can attempt to understand. I can talk about my feelings, and self-disclosure oftentimes trumps vulnerability. I allow my thoughts and feelings to have their deserved validity, and I am just the kind of person who processes best this way. I am a very emotional being, but I am more so an honest one. So, it’s easy for me to tell you about my past and show you my present and help you imagine my future. And I find that the best listeners aren’t necessarily the best at reciprocating self-disclosure.

Is it wrong of me to feel slightly hurt that the people I feel closest to don’t feel the same way about me? Is it wrong of me to wonder if my best friend is mutually a best friend? People are all different, and I accept that many of my friends prefer to keep their personal worlds sealed-shut from the rest of the world, or at the very least, only open just a crack at a few specific times and in a few specific places. But it irks me, more often than not, to feel like somebody close to me possibly doesn’t trust me or doesn’t regard me as somebody they’d go to without any question or doubt. I make clear to the people I cherish that I am there for them, as tired as that saying is, and that I want to be there for them, listen to them, and share with them whatever burdens (or joys) they carry. It makes me feel happy that another human trusts me with anything under the surface because I acknowledge the fact that it is a vulnerable action, that opening up is potentially scary or painful.

Maybe I am ignorant and cannot truly fathom just how difficult it is to open up to somebody. And sometimes, it’s simply too much to ask. So I don’t.

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