The Best Friend Complex

Far be it from me to tell anyone else how to run their relationship. Experience has taught me that relationships are weird little animals containing details to which only two people are privy. You might think you know what you’re looking at, but there are the small things, the ephemera, the guts of a relationship that no one ever tells or shows you, and this is how divorces happen out of seemingly nowhere after people have been having secret affairs or, more often and at least half of the reason in the case of my own parents, you just didn’t realize no one was talking because you hadn’t bothered to ask.

Because of this, the only time I ever interfere with someone else’s relationship is if they’re obviously unhappy – that is, if they’ve told me about it, or if I’ve seen signs of abuse. If the obviousness I’m looking for is absent, then I figure that the two people who best know about the relationship are the people who are actually in it, and I do my best to mind my own business. With that said, there’s something I’d like to ask of women in relationships:

Stop referring to your boyfriend* as your best friend.

This is a terrible practice and it needs to be stopped. It’s creating a legion of women who not only can’t maintain an actual friendship with their regular best friend, but who also are incapable of understanding friendship as a concept that can exist without romantic affection. This boyfriend-as-best-friend bullshit is insulting to the best friends who get left behind for no legitimate reason other than someone else feels insecure without a man in their life. It’s dishonest, too, because really? You’ve been dating someone for 6 months and automatically they become your best friend? You lying bitch. Spending a few nights a week with someone who is allowed to perform perversities on your body does not mean they suddenly possess the qualities that make a best friend. They might be a great boyfriend and I’m sure you enjoy spending time with them, but calling your boyfriend your best friend says less about them as an amazing person and more about you as having poor social skills.

Graham is not my best friend. I have never had a boyfriend that I would consider to be my best friend. Shit, even when I was married I didn’t call that guy my best friend, and it wasn’t just because he was an asshole. My best friend has been my best friend since kindergarten. I’ve been grounded by her parents. I was there to witness (and mock) her first kiss. My best friend introduced me to Graham, but that doesn’t mean she was replaced by him.

Women, you need to start having best friends and sticking to them. You need to stop expecting dudes to be everything in your life and handle certain things – basic home repair, grilling, forming important friendships with others – on your own. And so help me, if another one of you joins the “My Boyfriend Is My BFF!” group on Facebook, I’m defriending you in a second.

* Obviously I’m referring to straight women here, not because I don’t believe that lesbians exist, but because I am even more out of my depth when it comes to lesbian relationships than I am when it comes to hetero relationships. The point is that I’m not an expert in anything, and I can’t believe you’re even listening to anything I say.


About erineph

I'm Erin. I have tattoos and more than one cat. I am an office drone, a music writer, and an erstwhile bartender. I am a cook in the bedroom and a whore in the kitchen. Things I enjoy include but are not limited to zombies, burritos, Cthulhu, Kurt Vonnegut, Keith Richards, accordions, perfumery, and wearing fat pants in the privacy of my own home.
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2 Responses to The Best Friend Complex

    • erineph says:


      “Which probably explains why so many old couples thank their mutual love of racial slurs and neck-baring haircuts for their long marriages.”

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