I had this friend once. A good friend. A great friend, actually. I considered him my best friend, and that was after I swore off the label of “best friend.”

I didn’t have many guy friends growing up. It wasn’t until college that I really developed any close guy friends. It was all so new that I immediately considered any guy I knew to be my “best friend.”

You know what happens when you do that? You get hurt. A lot. And not always unintentionally.

I later determined, toward the end of college, not to use the term “best friend” anymore. It didn’t seem realistic.

No guy would ever want to be that close to me.

Then I met him. Let’s call him John.

John was not someone I thought I’d get along with originally. He was a jock that worked with youth at a church. He was a few years younger than myself and seemed to be that outgoing “popular” guy who garnered attention everywhere he went. However, I learned he was much deeper than that.

At his core, John loves people and loves serving them. He truly has a heart for ministry and desires to help people however he can. When we met, I needed help. A lot of it too.

I had yet to come out to anyone, still wasn’t officially diagnosed as bipolar, and I had little clue what to do with my life. I needed someone, and John became that person.

We never intended to become close friends. Truthfully! Our connection began as a mentoring relationship that never intended to have friendship as its goal. John and I didn’t have enough similar interests. I would struggle, he would help, and we would go our separate ways. That was it.

Well, about two years later he and I started working at a church together. Even outside of work, we were meeting at least once a week to talk and hang out together. Just us. It was our time to download and celebrate, complain and vent, and ultimately pray and grow together.

It was amazing! I had never experienced such an authentic and healthy relationship with a guy before. It was most definitely a blessing from God! I remember spending a weekend with him that was so much fun and such a great time!

And then the next time — well, we were both wondering how to keep ourselves from being bored around the other person.

Looking back, I still wonder: what happened that caused John to go from “best friend” to “somebody that I used to know”?

It seemed instantaneous. I used to spend over three-quarters of my time with this guy! What happened? Why am I now incapable of holding a conversation for more than a half-hour every other month with someone I used to spend hours talking with weekly?

Who is to blame? Who failed whom? And why did I let myself fall into this?

To think — I had a best friend once.

Have you ever had a best friend? Has the friendship fallen apart, or is it still going strong to this day?

* Photo courtesy shoa, Creative Commons.

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