Am I a BFFL?


I mean, you’ve got your BFs, then your BFFs, then your BFFLs… but what does it all mean?!


Ah the language of a noughties teenage girl. The other night, when I was four cocktails in and didn’t care enough to keep these childlike thoughts to myself, I began to speak in 2007 text language and asked my friend, “am I your BBF? Or your BFFL? Or just a BF?” However, I held my tongue on the fourth option, the one I dare not mutter… am I just an F?

When I say BF, I don’t mean boyfriend. When I say BF I mean best friend. Hang on, let me decode for any of you guys who aren’t down with the MSN abbreviations. This is the pyramid of best friend-ship. You’ve got your ‘best friends’, your ‘best friend forever’s and your ‘best friend for life’s. I meeeaaannn, looking at it now, forever is longer than a lifetime but y’know. Don’t fight the teen-dom logic, ok? Just roll with it.

However, it dawned on me just recently that I’m not sure if anyone considers me gold standard in the BF olympics, so to speak. I am so very close to people, but there is always someone one step in front of me that will, from time to time, make me think,”huh, maybe they don’t need me around after all.” I feel like one of those seat fillers at the Oscars. I’m just around for when the BF vacates their spot and the others need someone to fill it momentarily, incase a spotlight is shone on them, so they don’t look like a loner.

Now, I am not saying all this because I’m petty or immature, or even insecure. It’s just a thought that was spinning around in my mind, like a kid on a sugar high who found a wheely chair. It seemed so important as a teen to identify your ‘best friend’ and be someone else’s in return. That’s when the ‘friend stealing’ comes into play.  That old chestnut. When some monster decides your BF is their BF and you can do one. Yet, as kids we forget, everyone can have other friends, it doesn’t mean they like you any less. That’s something you learn as you get older. Your friendship group shrinks; the toxic ones get expelled, the ones who don’t care leave and the flaky ones flake a little too far from the pastry to grab back on, if you catch my drift there (achievement unlocked: pants metaphors.) Then you’re left with your “best friends.” The ones who have your back when the world around you falls to shit.

It’s an odd concept, to be surrounded by people, people who do care and who you care for, but not feel deeply connected to any of them. Yet, being someone’s “BFFL” isn’t the be all and end all of the social cycle. It’s nice to feel wanted and relied on. To have someone who gets it, who will listen to the crap little things and understands the in-jokes. Yet, those people don’t need to be there all the time, to talk to you every day or live in your pocket. It’s ok to be your own best friend, it’s ok to not have one. It’s ok to not be someone else’s, even if you are so very close to them.

What is important is that you are there when they need you and they are there for you. You are comfortable, confident and reliable. What matters is not how many times you text someone in a day, how long you’ve known each other or how many nights out you’ve been on, but that you respect each other’s feelings and boundaries. That you can survive together and apart. That you give as much as you take and have a balance. You don’t need to be someone’s BF, someone’s BFF or indeed a BFFL, you just need to be the best friend to that person, and yourself, that you can be, regardless of others.

Who wants to be called a BFFL anyway? It’s bloody weird.



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