AJ was telling me I was his best friend last night, and I just had to laugh. That phrase has always held such awkward, funny, tentatively embarrassing connotations for me. Not that I don’t embrace it as a married adult, but “best friends” brings to mind the spit-handshakes and solemnity of a childhood pact.

“Can we be best friends?”

“No, sorry, I’m best friends with Rachel…but we can be second-best friends though!”

As I child, I remember what a big deal the whole best friends thing was. Usually one of the first questions you asked a new friend was who their best friend was. I also remember that it was pretty important to know where you stood with your friends. Did you have one best friend and several second-best friends? The hierarchy of childhood friendships is laughable as an adult, but it’s a big deal when you’re a child.