I was thinking today ....about the people we treat best in our lives...the most consistently, with the most respect, with the most kindness and tolerance...the ones we are loyal to in the most trying of circumstances, the ones we take phone calls from at odd hours, make endless cups of coffee for when we have far more pressing issues to attend to, that we ignore the foibles and habits of.
How odd it is that these people are not our family - our kids, our sibling our parents. They are not our employers. They are not even our spouses . That group - family, significant others, employers - we make public promises to, even sign contracts with!
Don't you think it's strange, that the ones to whom we make no promises, that we don't have an ''official'' lifelong commitment to, that we don't have to provide a service to, or have a contract with....these people are 'just' our friends and no more - or no less, depending on your perspective.
I get that no one wants to lose a friend. Especially a close one. Extra especially your ''best friend''. I suppose that is why we treat those friendships with care, for years and years and years. Others come and go, but the best friend is there for ever and those friendships somehow endure everything.
Is it because we give our ''best selves'' to those friendships? We only ever show our best side, because the risk of warts and all might be too much for the friendship to bear? Or is is that we give everything and bare everything, and trust that the best friend will stick around anyway? I know my best friends have seen the best and worst of me and they are still there, decades later.
Why then, do we not afford the people we profess to love the most (sometimes have publicly and legally professed it even!) the same? Does familiarity breed contempt? Or do we have some weird subconscious belief that a spouse will stick around regardless of our behaviours, where a friend would not? Is it because we feel so safe with our spouse/family member that we can, for a time, abandon kindness or respect, sometimes in the name of honesty - or even untruth?
Shouldn't we be treating that person with even more (insert quality here) than anyone else in our lives?
I think so. But we don't. Not all the time anyway. And when a friend does betray us in some way, or act unkindly or inconsistently, its SO hard not to hurt, and hurt deeply. Somehow it is a wound that takes a long time to heal. Weirdly, to be abandoned by a friend seems to hurt as much, if not more, than to endure a failed relationship.
I love the idea of my SO being my best friend, and have had the joy and privilege of this in the past. (and yes I know that friendship alone is of course not enough to any more than romantic love is, or any other single part of - I know that what works is being in a whole, sustainable relationship). And I think in the early times of relationship we do apply those same standards. But I'm talking about long term mature relationships here - the ones that we all want (or at least most people do). The ones that get past crazy stupid love and into the deep trusting place of commitment and enduring love. The ones that could get so easily and dangerously close to the 'taking for granted'' place, the ''I don't really feel that friendly right now'' space. The ''I think I need a new hobby'' place! The 'I wish she'd just get out of my face'' space!
So...imagine if we treated our most significant others, and our relationships with them, with the same care and attention that we do a close friend - for ever! The fierce loyalty, 'drop anything for you' generous kind and 'best selves forward' kind of friendship we have with our best friends. What different relationships they might be.