There are things you share with your best friend, and then there are the things you never even have to utter because they’re understood. Whether you see each other every day or go for months without hanging out, there are some same-wavelength BFF relationship rules that always seem to be in place. Mutual understandings and expectations that we know—but maybe don’t say. It’s time we laid them all out on the line. Here are some unspoken rules that define the bestie relationship.
1. No judgement, only unconditional love. This one’s a biggie. When we feel judged, we don’t feel safe. We want to feel full acceptance when we turn to a BFF for support, advice or a shoulder to cry on—flaws and all. While we can’t expect our friends to agree with every single one of our decisions, we do expect their friendship to be unconditional.
2. Always tell the truth, even when it’s tough. It can be hard telling your best friend she’s drinking a little too much or not taking her job seriously enough—but it’s these times when our BFFs need us the most. When everyone else is just trying to keep the peace or take the path of least resistance, it’s important to tell your friend the truth. You’d want her to do the same for you. (Quick footnote: Telling the truth is particularly important in the dressing room!)
3. It’s not a competition. This can be hard but it’s important. Once you start comparing houses, cars, jobs, boyfriends—resentment and jealousy can creep into the relationship. Be psyched your friend just landed that amazing job. Help her celebrate if she gets engaged. It’s camaraderie we all want, not competition.
4. Don’t belittle boyfriends, husbands or children. You might not like her husband and she may think your son is incredibly annoying—but those thoughts just don’t need to be shared. While BFFs have an incredible bond, married couples do too. Bashing a friend’s husband, even if she’s mad at him too, never ends well. And no matter how irritating a friend’s child is, she’ll never forget a passing comment about his “unseemly behavior.’
5. Just be there. No matter how crazy life gets with jobs, marriages, break-ups, kids, health scares and everything else, it’s nice to know our BFFs will step up when times get tough. Even if she’s swamped at work or juggling four crying kids, if a BFF needs her, she is THERE. (And vice versa.)