I know this is a polyamory blog, and you would think that headline isn’t a revolutionary idea. Or even remotely controversial. But I’m here to tell you that it’s weirdly controversial.
Yes, even among polyamorous people occasionally. (Which is extra weird.) But especially out in the broader public.
“You can’t have multiple best friends,” people will say. “If there are multiple, they aren’t very good friends. Maybe they aren’t even real friends.”
Real friends. Isn’t it funny how some folks are so eager to gatekeep connection? Not just romantic or sexual connection but platonic connection?
To stipulate stringent requirements that renders almost any important connection in your life somehow not a “real” WHATEVER. As though you can will other people’s realities away by changing the definition. There’s this process called reification — its definition is “treating an abstraction, concept, or formulation as though it were a real object or material thing.”
In layman’s terms, it’s making something a Thing. Capital T thing.
Folks are quick to go, “That’s not a real thing! Don’t try to make that a thing!” And when they do that, they’re essentially saying, “Stop reifying.”
But I see the opposite happening all the time… people attempting to gatekeep other’s realities to the point where they try to strip Things of their Thinghood. Anti-reifying, if you will.
Anyway, the bottom line is this: I’ve always had multiple best friends. And I always will. Multiple people in my life where we are inseparable in different ways and for different reasons. The idea of ranking one over the other globally in some objective sense is completely bizarre… and why? My closest, dearest friends don’t make me choose arbitrarily. And if a choice must be made, they typically want me to choose myself (and I, them).
“Best friend isn’t a person, Danny. It’s a tier,” Mindy Lahiri said on The Mindy Project. And she was so, so right.