Being best friends forever

Best friends forever in the making.
Best friends forever in the making. Contributed

TWO young girls sit playing games and planning chapters of their lives that are yet to be written.

They plan getting married together, having a family at the same time, and living their lives entwined by a life of being Best Friends Forever.

But how many people actually stay in contact with their childhood friends?

Does the dream fairytale actually come true for the two young girls who dream of a fairytale life together?

Leea Gilmour is one of the lucky few who can still call her friend from school, Michelle Hulcombe, a BFF.

The two girls met when they were in high school, linked by their mutual dislike of a certain few, and their shared love of music and drama.

Since leaving school 13 years ago, the pair has kept in contact, maintaining a friendship which began when they were in Year 11, and has continued through some of their biggest milestones.

"Michelle was bridesmaid at my wedding, and I was maid of honour at hers," Leea said.

Despite keeping in contact, it has not always been regular.

They sometimes go months at a time without talking, but it is something that Leea said makes true friendship.

"I think that's the difference between real friends and passing acquaintances, if you can go a long time not talking to them, but still be exactly the same the next time you speak to them," she said.

"When we see each other, it's like no time has passed."

So what are the benefits of having someone in your life who has seen you at your worst?

Little research has been conducted on the benefits of having a life-long friend, but it is easy to see that having constant moral support has its benefits.

Dixie Statham, Clinical Psychology professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast, says that having a friend is an important social support, which can benefit people on both a psychological and a physical level.

"Friendships facilitate feelings of attachment and belonging, so it would stand to reason that strong friendships would enhance those feelings," Statham said.

Kay Pozzebon, also a Psychology lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast, says social support is an important element for people.

"If we consider friendships as 'social support' there is significant evidence to support that social support is important for our well-being," Pozzebon said.

But what makes us have a strong connection with certain friends, and not others?

Pozzebon said common characteristics were usually what people look for in best friends.

"There need to be key characteristics people would look for, such as trust, respect, honesty, communication, personal disclosure, sense of humour, similarity in attitudes and values, and so forth," she said.

"The difference between a good friend and best friend may be the degree of each of these characteristics."

But this doesn't mean that all friends are similar.

Leea said that she and Michelle are polar opposites.

Michelle is now married with two kids, is a pastor and has settled down.

Despite this they have maintained their friendship, knowing the best and worst of each other and this is something that Leea said has made their friendship stronger.

And as the old adage goes, a best friend is someone who knows you're a good egg, even if sometimes you're a little bit cracked.


Benefits of having a BFF

Constant companionship: When you're going through a rough patch, there's always someone to talk to

Secret sharing: You can tell your best friend anything and everything-sometimes you just need to spill whatever is eating at you.

Mind reading: We can't read each other's minds yet, but sometimes your best friends just get you, and how you are feeling.

Inside jokes: You never get bored, you'll spend hours laughing, and catching up, drinking wine, having fun, and laughing about the old days.

Topics:  childhood friends friendship

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