She was the one to say it first.
The three-letter word I’ve been hesitant to speak aloud to anyone since my last gut-wrenching breakup.
We met organically. Years ago, I saw her in her workplace and always felt at ease in her presence—at home.
The bold personality in me latched onto the bold personality in her.
I listened to her big dreams, and she listened to mine. It was a connection we didn’t give any effort or thought into, but felt so right to be in.
We weren’t ready to fall in love, but our hearts had other plans for us.
I feel we were drawn together for a lot of things, but the biggest is this: We’re both women other women look up to and expect attention from. I say this in the most humble, genuine, and real way. I find myself in relationships where I am the cup others drink to satiate from, which can leave me empty, depleted, and bitter. She feels the weight of that reality in her life, too.
Years pass and we continued to play, run, and dance in the same circles; we kept eyes on each other, but neither of us took the first bold step to ask the other out.
As fate has it, I move into the town where she’s working to open her business—during a pandemic nonetheless.
We timidly begin to connect, both hesitant to open ourselves up to full-blown love—we go for it anyway.
A few river trips here, hang out sessions there, and we begin to court each other with no “bigger picture” in sight.
Until one day, we speak honestly.
We share the pain and vulnerability—we both feel—being without another. I slowly begin to let her in, she does too.
On a solo trip to the river, we speak of our fears. We speak of how we throw everything we have into a relationship and are left empty. How we’ve been so burned before we’re unsure we’ll ever have the strength to do it again.
Here are two people—with matching tattoos to other lovers—so desperately ready to love one another, but apprehensive because neither can handle another heartbreak, not again.
We dive into each other anyway.
What unfolds over the next few months is something I’ll hold with me forever. We do something completely foreign and new—we let each other be individual. We let it happen without force or expectation.
See the thing with friendships is there’s an invisible expectation woven in—of having to be something to the other.
But not me and her.
We’ve managed to be each other’s cheerleaders without needing anything in return.
We’re not perfect, but we’ve both taken with us lessons from our last friendships.
We check each other when one is out of balance with their heart’s highest vibration.
We let each other cancel on the other when life gets too tough—and right now it’s f*cking tough.
We cry. We laugh. We sweat. We work. We do it all together. But for the first time, we are both doing it in a healthy grown-up way. A way that doesn’t require the other to be anything but themselves.
Five days ago, I asked her to be mine: my Valentine. And five days ago she spoke the three-letter words I’ve been terrified to speak.
She’s my BFF, and I’m hers. It’s new. It’s scary. It’s exhilarating. And it’s real.
I don’t know if I’ll always be the person she calls her best friend, but I can promise her I’ll be the best one she’s ever had for as long as she’ll let me (or I’m meant to).
I promise to not pour myself into her the way I have with past BFFs. I vow to hold her to her words and give her grace when she needs space to break those vows.
I promise to listen to everything she has to say and never dim who I am to see her shine. I promise to show up fully never expecting her to fill me up in any way.
The vows and promises are all I have—she gets to have it all.
My trust and heart are now in the hands of another, in a new way, in a non-codependent way, in a “big girl friendship” kind of way.
I’ve spent 30-plus years losing myself in friendships and have learned some damn hard lessons.
Today, I’m taking everything I’ve learned and showing up better for my new BFF and for me.
So, what do you do when you fall in friendship love with a new person?
You close your eyes, take a deep breath, and trust the fall.
You trust that every fall before has led you to this one.
To my new love, I’m honored you spoke that three-letter word first, and I vow to uphold them to the best of my ability.
I vow to be the best version of myself so we can heal, grow, learn, and explore together.
Thank you for choosing me.
Your new BFF