Why your first-ever best friend is your most important

Even if you’re not BFFs anymore.

By Jessica Chandra
Lizzie McGuire and Miranda

We continue to make friends all through our lives — at school, at work and at random house parties — but there’s one friend who could be the most important of all: your first best friend.

We’re not saying your other friendships aren’t important — not in the least. It’s just that your first proper BFF, whether you met in primary school or even pre-school, has shaped the person you are today more than you can imagine.

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An article on New York Magazine’s The Cut examined ‘The Enduring Influence of Your Middle-School Best Friend.’ It said that the way we are today can be traced back to our childhoods — obvious enough — but that people tend to make the link with our families, and how we were raised.

While that’s still super important, there’s something to be said for the first person we choose to share everything with. In fact, this is the person who you probably confided in way more than your family, especially as you grew older and started ~rebelling~ against your parents.

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“There’s something about the pubertal years when those relationships get far more emotionally intimate, especially for girls,” said Mitch Prinstein, a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina. “They are more likely to tell their friends things rather than parents. They rely on each other for coping.”

These are formative pre-teen years — think of it as the time when you tried on different personalities to work out what suited you best, and had your best friend right there with you, doing the same thing.

Also, as kids and pre-teens, we spent way more time with our friends through school (yay for seeing each other every day) and sleepovers on the weekend. This kind of bonding doesn’t happen when you’re an adult. (Bring back adult sleepovers!)

And here’s another thing to think about: if you had one true BFF who you did everything with, you probably learned to complement each other, rather than compete against one another. The article referenced Carolyn Murnick’s memoir The Hot One, which detailed how Carolyn’s friendship with her best friend shaped her sense of identity. Carolyn’s best friend, Ashley, was “the hot one,” which meant Carolyn assumed the role of “the smart one.” (Unfortunately, this story has a dark ending, as Ashley — who was dating Ashton Kutcher — was murdered when she was 22.)

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If you’re thinking, ‘I don’t even talk to my primary school bestie anymore,’ that’s fine, and you’re not alone. When we’re idealistic 10 year olds, of course we want to believe our friendship with our BFF will last forever, but the reality there’s still a lot of growing and changing to be done at that age!

If you’re not in touch with your first best friend, you can still be thankful they were in your life because they helped make you the person you are today. And if you’re still best friends, you’ve hit the jackpot.