What is a BFF?

Do you have a BFF?  Nicole and Charlotte, of Sweet Salt Air, are that – at least until Charlotte confesses to having wronged Nicole in a totally reprehensible way.

Nicole is devasted.  “I thought you were my BFF,” she cries in the scene I just wrote, and goes on to say, “A BFF is supposed to be loyal.  She’s supposed to be honest and considerate and generous.  She’s supposed to sacrifice something she wants if she knows that getting it will hurt the other.”

BFF is a relatively new term.  The closest I can find to a documented origin is 1997 in the tv show “Friends,” though there are those who claim that they used it themselves well before that.

Me?  Many times in books I’ve referred to a “Friend with a Capital F” versus a “friend with a small f.”  I have always believed that while most of us have many of the latter, we’re lucky to have even a few of the former.  I’m that lucky.  I have several.  One is Jane.

Jane lived down the road from me until sixteen years ago, at which point she moved all the way across the country.  We don’t see each other often.  Nor do we chat on the phone a lot.  She’s busy, I’m busy, you know how that goes.  We see each other two or three time a year, when she’s here visiting family, and when we meet – usually at dawn at a Dunkin Donuts halfway between her grandsons and me – we pick right up where we left off and talk straight for three hours.  Halfway through, I run to the register for a refill of coffee and, on impulse, order an eggwhite flatbread sandwich.  Back at the table, I give her half and we eat without any wasted talk about who wants what or splitting the cost.

So, while I agree with Nicole’s definition of a BFF, I add this.  A BFF is someone you don’t have to see every day to still connect with, someone who loves you whether you talk often or not, someone who would drop everything and catch the next flight if you needed her.  It’s someone who couldn’t care less where or what she eats, as long as she’s with you.

It remains to be seen whether Charlotte can regain her status as a BFF in Sweet Salt Air.  There’s lots of repair work to do. What do you think? Would you forgive a BFF who makes a horrific mistake that she now oh-so-deeply regrets?

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  1. flora whitman on February 29, 2012 at 6:47 am

    like you, i have several best friends. i count them as my blessings

  2. Stacie Morse on February 29, 2012 at 7:50 am

    I don’t know what I would do if anything ever came between my bff and I . She is my rock. Quite often we do not agree but it does not cause conflict. We just accept that we are two different people with two different opinions.

  3. Anne on February 29, 2012 at 8:19 am

    An absolutely wonderful characterization! I’ve been blessed with one such friend. Time is irrelevant — it’s as if the relationship exists outside of it. My sister is also a friend like this, which is a double blessing. And yes, best friends can forgive horrible mistakes but it would take some time (interesting that here time WOULD matter.) For me, it would take years to forgive but I suspect I would eventually be able to do it. I’d WANT to do it earlier, I think, but I’m not wired that way and it would take along time.

  4. Lucia on February 29, 2012 at 11:54 am

    My BFF called Taina, but she doesn’t it the college in town where I do. We talked from time to time. But Charlotte from your book, I think she must regain the trust of Nicole… Which will be very difficult because, trust, once destroyed, will never be the same, even more when it comes to best friends. It’s my opnion.

  5. Lisa on February 29, 2012 at 11:55 am

    My best friend Jen and I have stood up in each others wedding as the only attendant…who needs more than one if you have a true friend? We have been there for births and deaths and all those happily monotonous days in between the big stuff. We both feel like time together is a real treasure, and it doesn’t matter where we are or what we do, we can’t stop chatting like schoolgirls.

    We were both late bloomers. For most of our lives, we rode the same schoolbus, but were both painfully shy. She sat on the second row on the right side with her head down, crocheting. I sat on the left side, second row, with my cornet case used like a knight’s shield against having to make eye contact with anyone. For 9 or 10 years, we were that close, but both too shy to actually speak to each other. It took our parents intervention to get us to meet when we went to college. We both chose the same business school, and her Mom and my Dad thought these two smart, shy girls would do better if they had an ally. They were right. We became college roommates and best friends ever since. Her Mom says, “They never spoke til they met, and they haven’t shut up since!”

    Like Stacie says above, we don’t always agree on everything, but there is never a fight. We respect each other too much. We talk about everyday things, like what’s for dinner, our jobs, our families; and we talk philosophy, religion, and economics. We’ve seen each other through tough times, and shared in the joys of the wonderful times. When I see Jen’s face or hear her voice on the phone, it makes me smile inside and out!

  6. Kathryn in Montreal on February 29, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I am fortunate to have two BFFs… I met Elizabeth when we were two years old and we have been friends for 48 years now. We live in different cities, never went to the same school and had different circles of friends, but there is a tough bond that has always been there. We can go months without talking on the phone, but when we connect it’s like we never left off. I met Laura when I was 19 at a lifeguarding course (where we both met our husbands too) and we have been friends for 31 years. We talk weekly, we live 1000 km apart but the friendship is a strong, true one… I am so very lucky to have these two women in my life.

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