best friends and soul mates

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Why My Best Friend Is My Soulmate

Through college, marriage, childbirth, divorce and lots of therapy, my relationship with my bestie is still the best thing going.

In the year 360 B.C., Plato conceived the concept of the soulmate. According to the Greek philosopher’s Symposium, the soulmate is the missing half we spend our lives searching for so that we can be whole. It’s the idea that made, “You complete me,” such a big deal in Jerry Maguire. And it was the motivation behind my first kiss in the second grade, the reason I spent my 20s dipping and diving into and out of more relationships than I can count and the reason I later chose divorce over staying in a not great marriage.

I have spent decades looking for “the one,” the person who truly gets me, who understands why I need sour candy to survive, is always ready to hold my coat while I run to the bathroom right quick, knows exactly which memes to DM me and tells me I’m loved every time we part. And I’d bet all the purple lipsticks in my makeup bag (I have so many purple lippies), that you have, too.

But what if I told you that you’ve probably already found your soulmate?

Picture it, Washington, D.C., 2002: I was interested in a certain sorority, and in a fit of helpfulness, one of the members suggested that I connect with another prospective member who lived a couple of floors up. That’s how I came to spend a Friday evening doing high kicks in the tiny, poorly lit dorm room of a girl I’d just met while a sweaty Billy Blanks instructed us on the finer points of Tae Bo. On VHS.

Awkward? Maybe a little. But it wasn’t long before that boisterous St. Louis chick and this ostensibly quiet Cleveland girl were inseparable. We pledged together and graduated together. Took shots and danced on tables all over Manhattan together. Stood and cheered each other on when we finished grad school. She was the maid of honor at my courthouse wedding and saw my newborn — her goddaughter — before I did.

And that’s just the good stuff. We’ve also supported each other through the loss of parents and of jobs. Miscarriages and abortions. Bad marriages and freeing divorces. Parenting challenges and therapy shenanigans. She, quite simply, is the half I didn’t know I needed back when I knocked on her dorm room door.

I don’t really buy into the idea that I require a romantic partner to make me feel complete. I adore a smart romcom, but the trope of not being able to fully function as an adult without someone who makes your legs and lips quiver (shout out to Olivia Pope) strikes me as outmoded and simplistic. I like to think the sum of my parts is much more than who I am when I’m joined at the hip with a man.

But my reality is this: I truly don’t know where I’d be without my best friend. To me, “the one” is someone who is able to not only love you just the way you are, but who can love you the way you need to be loved. They revel in maintaining a healthy, reciprocal relationship with strong boundaries. They make it easy to be vulnerable, to shrug off your defenses and fully sit in each moment, even the tough ones. They never disrespect you, they tolerate all your quirks and remind you that you’re a bad bitch when you need to hear it most. They encourage you to be your full self. They believe in you even when you’re having trouble believing in yourself. They grow with you, not away from you. They bring you your favorite seasonal candy. They write your dating app profile. They buy you purple lipstick.

My bestie Erica checks the soulmate boxes more fully than anyone, including my blood family members and old boyfriends, ever has. She’s my person, and our friendship gives me life and a realistic model for romantic partnerships. It doesn’t get much better than that.

So who is your soulmate?