i’ve been wondering lately if the notion of a “best friend” endures into adulthood. if you’d asked me this question a year ago, i would have answered with a resounding,
“uh-huh!”
however, the person who filled that role in my life since i was about 17 and i haven’t even spoken in almost a year, and so now i am no longer sure.

the common wisdom tells us it becomes more difficult to make substantial social connections as we age. that intimacy becomes harder to establish, new friendships less likely to endure.

the way we forge connections changes radically as life goes on. our life circumstances, personalities, ethics, preferences, and degree of emotional competency take on distinct texture and permanence as we age. proximity is, then, no longer the defining characteristic of friendship. the accessibility of a playmate, once the cardinal trait of friendship, becomes largely irrelevant. our sensibilities evolve with our interests and we learn to make alliances based on hobbies, political leanings, fondness for drink, and countless other considerations.

and though these might seem to be a more sound and enduring basis upon which to form a lasting social connection, there are constraints presented by our maturity which can hamper the evolution of the emotional connection of the intensity and scope inherent to the “best friend” role. no longer can we hope to be as unaffected or vulnerable as when we were children. our actions are moderated and mitigated by our experience and politesse. the fear of revealing too much, or pressing upon the tolerance of another. we no longer possess the glorious insensitivity to the effect of our unbridled self upon others.

to my mind at least, it is in many ways the drama of our adolescence that makes the profound and enduring emotional and cognitive impressions upon us that allow us to feel as though we really, really know someone, deep down at their core. it is unusual to encounter a relationship, not romantic in nature, that can (or should) generate this same type of intensity once we are out of those tumultuous formative years. and perhaps if we don’t emerge from this time with a person who has run this gauntlet beside us, they cannot really know us; cannot appreciate our evolution and our constancy.

not to forget the logistical and practical constraints of adulthood. we don’t have time on our hands to devote to just being around to discover or communicate every damn thing.

and all of this being said, i have to admit, the conclusion i come to is that while it may be possible to have a best friend as an adult, it might not be possible to acquire one if you wrecked or lost the one you already had. and this makes me sad and lonesome and wistful. because that’s what seems to have happened. and there doesn’t seem to be anything i can do about it.