My longest lasting adult relationship hasn’t been with a boyfriend, but with my best friend. All relationships take work in order to keep them together, along with compromise, communication, and forgiveness. The dynamic between a romantic relationship and a plutonic one clearly have differences, but the amount of effort is the same. Here’s why. My relationship with my best friend is far from shallow. She is my person, even being miles away. Throughout the past five years, she's taught me some hard lessons about myself without even realizing it.
What is the first rule in relationships? Communicating! It is the key you know. Everyone believes, to some degree, they are an effective communicator, myself included. However, I’ve learned there is a difference in communicating with people who have similar views and communicating with someone who may not understand where you are coming from. It takes an extraordinary amount of patience and intentional listening before getting to the place where both parties are on the same page, but there’s nothing wrong or strange about the other person's view. Respect each other's opinions and know that just because you’re “best friends” doesn’t mean you have to be clones.
Iron Sharpens Iron
The true test of any relationship is recovery. Can you recover from an argument or do you walk on eggshells keeping things nice and light? I’ve had some difficult conversations with my best friend and we have both hurt each other's feelings (although not intentionally of course). When I keep in mind to not take offense, acknowledge the source, and that the words spoken are coming from a place of love, then I am able to correct my actions and vice versa. Some of the most difficult and uncomfortable conversations I’ve had with my bestie have caused me to reflect and make a change. Sharpening requires friction.
Love without conditions
There are times where we need people to be certain things for us. We wish they could be stronger, more confident, or able to express themselves in the ways we see fit. Yet the greatest lesson my best friend has taught me is to love people right where they’re at. No conditions, no strings attached. Believe me, you’d want them to do the same for you (no one’s perfect). Loving someone this way gives them the space to develop into the greatest version of themselves. Choosing to love someone unselfishly should mean wanting what is best for them and not about finding a reflection of yourself in them.