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April 24, 2014

The Definition of Friendship

I identify Dudehead as my best friend all the time. To this day, he’s still confused as to why I call him that. Sometimes I don’t even remember. We met in eighth grade, and we bonded over science, a love of technology, and mischief. That was a fun year. Sixteen years later, there’s nobody who knows me like he does.

But in an age when the letters “BFF” are tossed around more than a caesar salad (ok, internet, I served that one to you on a silver platter), has the term been cheapened?

How do you define or gauge friendship?

Is it even possible to do that?

Yes.

The other day, I pulled something out of my pocket to give to Dudehead. My arm was bent weirdly, and it looked like I was going to shake his hand. He gave me a funny look that said, “What the hell am I supposed to do with that?” It was an awkward moment. Probably the first awkward moment between us in over a decade.

The Dudehead

Don’t ask about the coat hangar. Nobody seems to know.

Dudehead and I are best friends, so we don’t shake hands. I don’t even remember ever shaking his hand. A handshake is too formal. A handshake is for a single-serving friend, or when you’re greeting someone you don’t know very well. We were past handshakes years ago.

With my other close friends, it’s sometimes a bro-hug (among the males) or a proper hug (with the females). Sometimes it’s a fist bump.

There’s almost always a greeting to start things off. “Hey man/dude.” “How’s it going?” “Sup, jackass?”

But with my best friend? We’re past handshakes. We’re past fist bumps. We’re even past bro-hugs. Hell, we don’t even say hi to each other.

When I meet up with the Dudehead somewhere, he’s walking east, I’m walking west, we meet in the middle, and we just start a conversation. We often just don’t shut up. Sometimes we even have a few different conversations at once.

When you walk into a room full of close friends that you’ve known for years, you might have a different combination of greetings for each of them. After all, your greeting with a close friend is three parts shared experience, one part past conversation, and two parts inside joke. But the friend who needs only a moment of eye contact to know that you have their back – that’s the friend who you call your best.

Now Relax

I’m not telling you to start categorising your friends. I’m just thinking out loud. I do that sometimes. Just like I sometimes find myself in the odd position of having a coat hangar around my neck. It’s my prerogative.

They say blood is thicker than water. But some things are even thicker than blood. And when the zombie apocalypse begins and you’re not sure what to do next, just come to my place. We’ve been ready since eighth grade.

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