Best friends are the best.  No matter whether it’s a numero uno, a crowd of three or a whole gang of pals, everyone has people they can call best friends. 

According to philosopher Alain de Botton, friendships are something that we as humans have needed throughout the millenia.

Thousands of years ago, friendships were crucial to a tribe’s survival and ability to thrive.  Nowadays, while our friends might jump in front of a bullet for us, the need to is a lot less prominent.  So if we don’t need friends to keep us safe, what do we need them for?

Famous friendships have been documented through time.  Recent duos of note include Ben Affleck & Matt Damon, Jennifer Aniston & Courteney Cox, and earlier in the last century we have Helen Keller & Mark Twain, and JRR Tolkien & CS Lewis, then going way way back to (potentially) the most famous friends: Jesus & his disciples. 

What we can learn from these varied friendships, is that however different the individuals are in the pair/group, they are able to support and raise each other through good and bad times.

I guess we could ask: why? 

If we’re talking from an evolutionary standpoint, we don’t gain anything from having pals.  Way back when our needs were to survive and reproduce then being part of a group was essential.  In our modern world it’s arguably easier to survive, and having babies isn’t always a friend’s responsibility!

However, in our lives, so completely removed from our thousands of year old ancestors, our needs seem more complex but are ultimately the same.

We need friends because, even though we live in separate houses and miles away from some of our besties, we are still a tribal animal at heart.  We need comfort, security, and acceptance, without the fear of conditions.  That is what we get from our best friends. 

We can often feel lonely or unseen, but a good friend helps us conquer those feelings.  We really do need them to survive, but instead of diving in front of a mammoth for us, our friends are stalking our crushes on Instagram for us, or holding our hand when a loved one passes, or texting you funny pictures when you’re having a bad day.

This week hosts National Best Friends Day.  We get a lot of hype over Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day etc, but there’s not much press about celebrating a day with our best mates!

Since the Industrial Revolution, people moved away from their families more and more, and relied on friendships for a new kind of family.  Nowadays there is a real emphasis on a person’s ‘chosen family’; people who support them when their families can’t or won’t.

So, whether your bestie is your roommate, work colleague, furry friend, long distance, oldest friend in the world, or new mum/dad friend, let them know how important they are to you with a little token of your appreciation. 

Hooray for friends!

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