If you think back to the best and worst parts of your life, you’ll probably realize that one thing was consistent through them all: your best friend was there.
People think that life is a popularity contest in which the more friends you have, the more followers you get, or the more people you can convince to like you equates to the amount of love and connection that you receive.
This is not how it works.
In fact, real, deep connection is often fostered within smaller groups of friends, and more particularly, between you and your one “best” friend.
There’s a psychological and developmental reason for this.
One part of human attachment theory explains the reason that human beings pair up in romantic partnerships is similar to the reason why we often select and bond with one closest friend.
Despite being social animals, when in a state of distress, human beings don’t tend to rely on the strength and support of their entire “tribe” to get them through. In fact, most people turn to their one closest friend or significant other in times of stress or change.
This mirrors the relationship that you had with the one parent you were closest to growing up.
When you needed something as a child, you didn’t rely on your family as an entire entity to help you. You turned to your one most trusted person — usually a parent, guardian or sibling — to get you through.
It was with this person that you could be your most authentic self. It was with them that you were able to express the entirety of your feelings and struggles.
The reality is that people do not often turn to a large social circle when they need emotional support. Lots of friends don’t come in handy when what you really need is one close one to trust.
This is because, as we are tribal by nature, revealing your “weaknesses” to the group — being publicly shamed — is an adverse experience. It intensifies your stress because on top of having a problem, you now also have the potential for others to turn their back on you and rescind their approval because you are unworthy.
This is why we often “keep up appearances” in front of others: it comes down to a need for survival.
And this is also why your one closest friend matters more than all the fans and followers and acquaintances and admirers in the world.
Because when you really need someone with whom you want to share your life — the good and bad — what you’re going to reach for is the person you can trust to see you through the situation.
The same concept also applies to marriage.
In fact, the happiest, most long-lasting relationships are always the ones in which you are best friends as well as romantic partners.
When you’re best friends with your significant other, they become the person you vent to, not the person you vent about. They become the person you are real in front of, not the person you want to impress by any means. They become the person you can turn to when you feel the worst, not the person you want to avoid when you’re at your lowest.
Because when you’re in a state of distress, you’re vulnerable. And when you’re vulnerable, you need someone in your life that you know is going to help you get through the tough patch, not the person who is going to stop loving you because of it.
And whether that comes in the form of a partner, family or friend, the concept is the same: your one best friend is truly the most important thing in your life, and you should never, ever forget that.