We have a lot of friends in our lives. Hell, nowadays, if someone isn't our mortal enemy, then they're our friend. And there's a lot of types of friends.
Friends with benefits.
More than friends.
The list goes on. On one hand I can list the number of best friends I've had over my lifetime. It seems like, as time passed on, one would appear just as another was in the process of disappearing.
That's the funny thing bout friends: They have a habit of disappearing.
I remember one of my first ever friends in elementary school. Kindergarten, to be exact. I think her name was Kayla and she used to live next to our school, which was only down the road from my house. We hung out just about everyday and we sat next to one another in our afternoon class.
Then one day, we were playing at the school's playground with her older brother, and she looks over at me and says "I don't want to be your friend anymore". I was 5. I was heartbroken because Kayla had been my best friend. Luckily, my dad had just pulled up to pick me up, and so I ran crying to his car.
I didn't go to afternoon class after that.
Then when I was 8, I was upset after my best friend cheated at Uno. At least 8 year old me thought she'd cheated. We'd been friends forever, but that didn't stop me from drawing a mean picture of her, which I immediately tore up and threw away. But she found it, told my teacher, and suddenly my entire school hated me and I lost my best friend.
The same year I met the girl I've been best friends with for 11 years. We went through everything together, from transferring schools, to theatre, to Disneyland to high school, to our lives changing forever. We've been through thick and thin together.
But in the past year or so, I've noticed us distancing ourselves from one another. Hell, homegirl didn't even tell me she was engaged. We hardly talk and best friend seems to be routine, but something that neither of us is really making an effort to maintain. And it scares me because I don't know what I'd do without her in my life forever. But I'm afraid that's the way it's beginning to look.
Then my current best friend now, a boy I haven't even met living on the other side of the country. Without him, I wouldn't have survived much of the past few years. He'll get a big head reading this, but it's true. We've got plans to take over the world together. Literally. But I've seen what's happened between me and friends before, and I don't want that to happen here.
Lots of things about the word "friend" annoy me. It doesn't seem like it can truly convey everything that a person is.
I remember being with the first guy I was ever romantically involved with before we were anything official (which we never were) and him being on the phone and saying he was "hanging out with a friend". It killed me a little bit to hear, especially because I regarded him as so much more than a friend.
Friend. Friend. Friend. Friend. Friend.
It's a 6 letter word with 600 connotations. It's a dangerous word because it can imply so many things, and one usage of the word can mean different things to different people because of their own experiences.
I've been friend zoned.
I've friend zoned.
But there's a lot of different ways in which to do it, either for your protection or for theirs.
What is a friend?
Why do I care? If friends are a thing constantly changing, constantly moving forward, adding and multiplying...then why do I care what it is?
There is no one singular meaning to the word "friend".
A friend is just something that happens. And we don't always understand why.
To be a friend, is to know that you will be a piece of someone for the rest of their lives.