“Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends.”
I’ve never had an issue making friends. I really enjoy talking with people and discovering new connections.
In school, I understood that social interactions and connections with peers was just as meaningful as what was learned from a book.
However, I also quickly learned that growing and maintaining friendships was equally as difficult as solving for x, or reciting the 50 states in alphabetical order.
I can remember back in elementary school, the term best friend was something to be taken seriously. It was a title bestowed upon one another after determining some inseparable bond and deep commitment towards one another.
Often matching bracelets, necklaces or key chains were involved.
That was, of course, until there was a falling out with your bestie. Then you became public enemy number one and found yourself quickly replaced the very next day. It was brutal. I struggled with the typical drama-laden, catty behaviors that some girls chose.
By the time I reached college, I could count at least a dozen girls whom I had referred to at one point as a best friend for life. Want to know how many of those girls I even talk to today? Two.
There is something different about my relationships with these two. My connection with them is so profound and unshakeable that I knew these women would be woven throughout my life. I refer to them as my soul sisters. I’ve since connected with other women with whom I share a similar bond and title.
I consider myself lucky for the friends in my life, but I consider myself blessed for the tribe of women that I can bare my soul to.
This is why I’d prefer a soul sister over a best friend any day:
1. There’s no competition.
There was nothing more crushing back in school than hearing another girl refer to your best friend as her best friend. Or even worse, was when your best friend referred to another girl as her best friend. I remember one girl who had a ranking system for all of her best friends. It changed daily and was pretty cut throat. Petty, I know.
But for a developing adolescent, it was painful to be ranked based on someone’s bogus standards of friendship.
There’s no jealousy with souls sisters. There is an understanding that our souls may have an infinite number of connections. These connections can occur without threatening other bonds. I connect with each of my soul sisters on different levels—they each bring out different aspects of my personality when I am with them. I value the special and unique connection we share.
2. Total honesty and authenticity.
I’ve had best friends in the past that have flat out lied to me. As a sensitive Cancer, there isn’t much that hurts worse than the betrayal of someone you love or admire. My soul sisters tell me the brutally honest truth—usually when I don’t want to hear it, but when I need to hear it the most. They know how to speak in a way that is constructive and supportive. The understanding is that we are here to help each other become better people. A little honesty really goes a long way on the journey of personal growth.
The other struggle I’ve experienced in the past with friends is this sort of inauthentic behavior. It was as if they were a chameleon, changing who they were based on the crowd or the environment—even altering their own opinions or attitudes to better fit the situation. That was exhausting to keep up with. I thought, “If they could change personalities as easily as they changed their clothes, which version was I getting?”
Sure, there are multiple facets to each of our personalities. Yet with my soul sisters, I feel the most authentic and at ease. There is no masking true thoughts and feelings. I can open my heart fully to them without any fear of judgement or criticism. Similarly, I feel their authentic selves are fully present when we are together. There is no greater feeling than being in the presence of people who accept me—fully and completely—with all of my quirks and scars.
3. Time and distance don’t threaten the bond.
I met one of my soul sisters in kindergarten. After sixth grade graduation, my family moved away. We tried arranging play dates when we could, but eventually fell out of touch. Years later, when we found ourselves in the same gym class in junior college, it reignited a bond that felt as comfortable as the days of grade school.
Another soul sister moved out of state and it has had zero impact on our ability to be there for one another. Physical connections are nice, but just picking up the phone and having someone listen when you need it most is priceless.
If the bond is deep and strong enough, nothing can sabotage it.
I still have casual friendships in my life and I value those as well. Yet when it comes to crossing paths with another human that reveals parts of yourself that you didn’t know existed, it’s quite remarkable.
Author: Heather Kleiman
Editor: Renee Jahnke
Image: Hian Oliveira/Unsplash