We leave each other on read
We don’t wish each other happy birthdays,
We haven’t met in 3 years,
We leave each other on read.
Yet we’re best friends. A lot of you reading this must be thinking I sound like a complete nutcase. And no, I’m not typing this while on shrooms or some whacky psychedelic. Hear me out and let me explain how we got into this state of ‘Nirvana’.
I met him 8 years ago, he was my high school friend. I never thought he’d end up being my best friend. Well, I’m gay af and he’s straight. I was just beginning to explore my sexuality and I needed a safe space to articulate all my ‘weird’ thoughts without being judged. I needed someone to be there for all the small things and all the major things. We ended up being that grounding element for each other.
So much so that there was absolutely no need for us to hide the truth from each other. And I think that was and continued to be the most beautiful thing about our relationship. To be able to voice our darkest thoughts, our most shameful moments, our deepest fears, and to be loved in spite of all of that.
We spent our teenage hood in an era where the primary use of social media was to document memories
We developed our friendship over the years and we would meet nearly every day when we were still in school. Back then there weren’t as many social media apps on our phones. And even if they were, the primary use of social media was to document your memories and share them to the world. There weren’t fast-moving trends or self-obsessed dance challenges: so social media was simply an extension of our time spent together. I curated all our memories.
As life progressed, I guess we naturally just ‘distanced’. When I say distanced I don’t mean emotionally but more of a consequence of needs: I had University to go to and he had to go overseas for a long-term career opportunity. It wasn’t bittersweet, sad, or tumultuous.
We were so secure and comfortable with the depth of our relationship that we eased into our separation as friends
It’s been years and people still get shocked when I tell them my best friend is ‘R’. Part of them was probably disappointed that they weren’t on the list despite being physically present in my life for all my most recent milestones.
But it’s really not about that — I think what defines the authenticity of a relationship is the depth of it.
You could spend years with someone and only know a part of them.
F*** Small Talk. We developed ‘calculated telepathy’
For us, we were so open with each other over a short period that we could more or less extrapolate what was happening in each other’s lives without updating each other directly. Like some sort of calculated ‘telepathy’. I’d see an Instagram story of him with his new car and would immediately know his emotions towards it, why he bought it, and what he was feeling. There was no need for me to comment ‘Wow nice car!’ or drop him a text to reignite small talk.
We established between us that we would text each other if we really needed to unpack something intimate or complicated and we would reply immediately. When I broke up, I dropped him a long text after a year and he immediately replied — not just in his usual self, but with his typical depth and character.
Meanwhile the past few times he did come back from his overseas stint for vacations, we did not meet-up. We did not even schedule time for it. I know it sounds unorthodox: How could you not bother planning for a meet after so long especially if you are truly best friends? My answer: We’re just secure and comfortable. I understand his priorities and needs and vice versa. With the one week break he has here, he has to spend time with family and other friends – friends who would genuinely be disappointed if he did not set time aside for them.
He sets apart so much of his emotional capacity for me that I can live with this compromise
I’m not going to love him or value him less because he did not meet me. We’re at the mutual level of friendship that we’ve transcended beyond that. Besides, nothing will take away from all the moments he was present for me in my youth.
The least I can do is to be selfless in my presence for him despite of what happens in life. To R, thank you for blessing me with the opportunity to learn the meaning of true friendship. You’re my ride or die and I know nothing will ever change that. I love that neither of kicks up a fuss or throws passive aggressive tantrums when we’re left on read.
Do you have a best friend? How did you guys meet?