If someone asked me who my best friend was, I wouldn’t be able to give an answer. I do have friends that I like more than others. Everyone does.
People don’t like to tier their friends. I do. It helps me keep my priorities straight. If a lower tier friend asks me to hang out, I may say no. I need to keep myself open in case a high tier friend decides to spend the day with me.
People don’t like to admit that there’s different levels of friends. There’s those friends that you only hang out with because your other friends like them. They’re not bad people. They’re just on a different level than the others. They’ll never ask you and them to just hang out. That’s fine. It’s just the nature of the relationship.
I had this all figured when I was a wee lad in elementary school. Not all friends are created equal. There would always be one friend to stand above the rest, the best friend. They were the funniest. They were the coolest. They were the person you liked being around the most.
I met my best friend for many years in first grade. There was a coloring project of sort. The class was to separate into two groups, rainbow and red. I picked red because I loved Power Rangers and the red one was my favorite. Only one other kid picked red with me. He told me that he liked Power Rangers. That was it. We were best buddies. I went to his birthday party later that year. I made a huge mess. I left all his Power Ranger stuff all over the floor.
Those early years it’s easy to be best friends. As a kid, there’s never any real conflict. Our friendship went on until things changed. He wasn’t interested in Power Rangers anymore. I remember talking to him about in one of the later elementary school years. He told me he gave away all his power ranger stuff because he was too old for it. But still we continued on as best buddies.
It wasn’t until sixth grade that everything changed. Puberty hits and the whole dynamic for everything in school changed. Children were a lot meaner and petty. There were more fights in the school. The drugs that seemed like a boogeyman in a closet were soon entering our world. We didn’t talk as much anymore. We were separated in different home rooms. He made new friends. He even got himself a girlfriend. I remember in sixth grade, he and I had this conversation. He told me that I should get a girlfriend. I didn’t quite understand what he meant. I had friends that were girls, wasn’t that good enough? He lost interest in talking to me soon after that.
I remember being teased during cafeteria lunch one day. I told them who my best friend was. They all said that he had a new best friend now and it wasn’t me.
I didn’t think that sort of thing stopped. I thought best friends were forever. But I was wrong. I was usually wrong back then about things.
In high school, we had a class together and it was pretty fun. It was nostalgic for both of us but that was it. Just nostalgia.
I don’t think we’ll ever really talk again. Maybe we’ll run into each other and make small talk. Talk about our college experiences and what we’ve done since high school. Then it’ll be “Nice seeing you.” and we’ll go our separate ways.