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The 14 Life Lessons Only Your Best Friends Can Teach You

There are life lessons we learn on our own, lessons our parents teach us, lessons our breakups and makeups teach us, lessons we learn the hard way and some we learn the easy way.

There are lessons we learn the moment a new baby makes his way into the world, lessons we learn the moment a loved one makes his way out of this world, and dozens more we learn in between.

We learn how to be kind, how to be generous, how strong we are, how deeply we can love and how deeply we can hurt.

We learn that there may not always be a tomorrow, but it's important to have hope that there always will be; that time heals all wounds and whatever time can't fix, Tequila and a few limes can.

But the most important lessons, the ones that pick us up off the ground when we've been bent and broken, when we've been tried and tested, when we've been high, low and everything in between, they're the ones that our best friends teach us.

Best friends are the extra breath of life kicked into our lungs when we need it most. They're the people who weave their way into our hearts in the deepest way, tucking themselves neatly next to the space we keep for our parents, our sisters and our brothers.

They're the chocolate of life: Delicious, satisfying and always there when you need a pick-me-up; they're the spice: Salty and sassy, with enough kick to keep you going (even when you think you can't).

They're the nest you've made for yourself – and sometimes, it takes a person who knows you and still loves you to teach you the tough stuff. 

They Teach You How To Forgive (And Forget)

Your best friends will teach you how to move onwords and upwards in life. They'll stop you from dwelling on what already happened and show you how to focus on what's already happening. They'll give you life when you're drowning.

They'll teach you how to forgive the guy who broke your heart (it wouldn't have worked out anyway), how to forget him (he didn't deserve you).

They'll teach you how to move past that failed math test (no one's ever going to ask you how to do a proof), how to forget that horrible English essay (people don't even care about Faulkner these days) and how to smile with your head held high through it all.

Your girls will show you how to forgive the 5th grade bully (even if it happens 15 years after the time she pantsed you in front of your elementary school crush) and how to forget the hurtful words your ex-boyfriend shamed you with.

They'll teach you that you're better than anything that douche had to say and how to forgive him for his little brain (and little, well, you know). 


They Teach You That You're Never Alone

Sometimes the world will blow out the candle it's holding tightly against the dark and dreary road you're walking.

You'll feel abandoned and alone, unsure of yourself… and terrified. In those moments, you'll feel the weight of your best friends beside you, keeping you comfortable, keeping your path well-lit.

They'll be there beside you in your hardest moments, even when you tell them you don't want them. They'll come. From now until forever, there's never a moment or a memory they'll miss.

Like a portable security blanket you'll always have someone to go everywhere with and someone to stand next to you as you take on life's biggest hurdles.


They Teach You Your Family Is Who You Choose

Maybe you love your given family more than anything. Maybe you don't. That's your prerogative. The beauty about building your own nest is that your nonnuclear family is made up of the people that you choose.

They're the people that you call when you're in a jam, the people that help you bury the proverbial body. They're Your Person. They're Your People.

Your girls are the ones who would bring swords to a bitch fight, the ones who would bring hell and high water to the table in your defense.

If Carrie Bradshaw was right about anything, it was family. Sometimes in the family you're born into and sometimes it's the one you build for yourself.


They Teach You How To Always Be Better Than You Are

There is no one that will raise you up higher than your girlfriends. They're the people that see you clearly, always, for the the person you are – and they're the ones that want you to be better, that know you can be better.

Maybe you drank too much and made a fool out of yourself, maybe you insulted a coworker, maybe you insulted your boyfriend's best friend – or maybe you gained 15 pounds during the long and grueling winter.

You can lie to yourself up and down about the ways you're going to be better – but if you want an honest kick in the pants, look to your friends.

They'll shine the light back at you, brighter and more clearly that you're able to do for yourself. They'll challenge and test you to be the best version of yourself. Why? Because they've seen you at your highest.

They know what you're capable of. So even if you can't see it yourself, they can. And they'll push you to be that person.


They Teach You Just How Brave You Are

I didn't know what I was capable of until I had best friends. I was motivated, opinionated and strong. I had strong parents, who challenged and inspired me, but yet, nothing compares to what a friend can give you.

I learned that I could cry – and that it didn't make me any less brave, that I could fall apart and still be proud.


They Teach You That There's Nothing Better Than A Good Cry (And A Bottle Of Wine)

You'll spend so many hours of your life choking back tears – from your boss, from your colleagues, from that guy at the pizza place. But your best friends will teach you it's okay to collapse into their arms and give way to your tears.

They'll be by your side in an instant with a bottle of wine and your chocolate of choice. They'll smile through each and every Ugly Cry and reassure you that everything will be okay, even if they're not sure it will be.

They'll hold you while you heave in sorrow and lull you to sleep – and then never tell a soul.


They Teach You How To Laugh So Hard You Pee Yourself

Because a best friend knows that you find it hilarious when she does the whaling impression or that videos of people falling are the best thing ever. They push you to the verge of peeing and then hilariously send you over the edge.


They Teach You That Some Secrets Are Better When Shared

Women are an endless pit of secrets. We lie about our age to strangers, lie to the guy who broke our heart for the very first time, lie to our parents, lie to ourselves. But it's best friends who force us to spill those secrets. They're willing to share the burden.

They don't care that you slept with a married man, they don't care that you slept with a guy you barely know.

They don't care that you took a dollar from the wishing well or that you hate your cousin's fiance, they just don't want you to carry the weight alone.


They Teach You How to Fight

I'm sorry, but I consider fighting with your boyfriend tame compared to some of the showdowns I've seen between best friends.

Your girls will challenge and debate you on everything from marriage equality and wedding colors to who-kissed-whom at the bar and the most flattering shades of lipstick.

They fight with you because they love you – and because they want something more from you. Your girls will teach you how to fight – and how to fight fair.

Maybe you disagree a lot, maybe you disagree only every so often and maybe you have that one blow-up fight that lasts a cool six months.

There's no one, no one on this planet who can bring you center stage in the lion's den and then pick you back up and walk you out.


They Teach You How to Apologize – and Really Mean It

You won't learn how to apologize from those forced makeups your mom requires. You won't learn how to apologize after pocketing that lip gloss and getting caught.

But after a fight with a best friend, you'll learn what a real apology looks like and how to deliver it with meaning.

You'll learn that words will cut deep, actions deeper and how they form scars and scabs that ache and groan. But you'll learn that you aren't the total sum of your actions and your words.

You'll learn how to say “I'm sorry,” and how to mean it. How to feel it from the pit of your stomach to the tip of your tears. Only best friends can teach you how to rebound from a fight.


They Teach You That Quality Is More Important Than Quantity

Maybe you have five best friends. Maybe you have one. Maybe you've got an entire army of them (if so, God bless you, 'cause that many girls? I could not).

No matter how big or small the web you knit is, your girls will teach you that it's less about who's at the table and more about why they're there.

You'll learn that the girl you've known from kindergarten probably won't be the one standing up next to you as you say your vows, and that the girl you peed with that one random night in college won't be the one snuggling up next to you in bed with a pint of Ben & Jerry's after a breakup.

But the girls that have seen you puke your brains out, held your hand as you said your final goodbyes to a loved one, laughed hysterically with you while pining through old photo albums, wiped away your tears when you lost your job and rubbed your back for months while you moped about that awful breakup, they're the ones you'll want standing up beside you when it counts.


They Teach You There's Nothing A Shopping Spree Can't Fix

Your girls will teach you that there's nothing a little spending can't fix. Whether it's on new clothes, a haircut or a complete makeover, your girls know, understand and respect the fact that a little pampering goes a long way.


They Teach You How To Trust Someone With Everything You've Got

Relationships make you trust people – and a friendship is no exception. You give your heart, your dreams, your fears, your goals and your insecurities to your best friends and you trust them with it.

You trust them to watch over and guard your trust, to ferociously protect it, to be delicate and forgiving, to honor and respect it.

You give them the keys to what hurts you and what's most important to you and you trust them blindly, knowing they won't hurt you with it.


They Teach You That Being Yourself Always Is – And Always Should Be — Enough

Your best friends will never want you to be anyone but the person that you've always been. They've watched you hit rock bottom, swim at the top and through it all, they've loved you because you're you.

In those moments that you feel you need to be someone else but yourself (to fit in, to be The Cool Girl, to be The Girl All the Bad Guys Want), remember that there lies a steady stream of people who love you just the way you are – and have always loved you the way you've been.

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Kylie McConville

Subscriber

Kylie is the deputy editor and in charge of managing the women's lifestyle team. She's most likely tired, so be nice to her, okay?
Kylie is the deputy editor and in charge of managing the women's lifestyle team. She's most likely tired, so be nice to her, okay?

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