What really separates a friend from a best friend?
While lists of "BFF" habits commonly cite the basics — trust, acceptance, shared interests — as the markers for best friendship, we know the people we depend on most do more than check a few loyalty boxes.
Deep friendships can improve our immune functioning, decrease stress and even increase our life spans. Our brains are hardwired for friendship, and studies have found that once we get close to someone, our brains begin to associate their identity with our own. "With familiarity, other people become part of ourselves,"James Coan, a University of Virginia psychology professor, told UVA Today. In fact, scientists argue our closest friends are as genetically similar to us as fourth cousins.
So how do you know a friend has risen to that BFF level? Mic conducted a survey of over 1,500 people via Google Consumer Surveys, a Google form and Tumblr to uncover the tiny things that really make a friend feel like your other half.
"She let me text her every single time I wanted to text my ex-boyfriend instead for months to keep me from texting him, and was always encouraging when I felt like I was going to slip up."
"Is always down to cancel plans, no matter how epic or how many single men will be there, to stay in with me on a Friday night if I've had a long or rough week."
"When I was going through a bad breakup with a long-term, live-in boyfriend she gave me a key to her home. I had a new place to call home with her. At Christmas time, there was a stocking hanging from the mantel with my name on it."
"Flies in without question to attend the funeral of your close family member and just knows that you don't want to talk about it, and jokes and gossips with you like normal, knowing it's a distraction that you welcome."
"I can be honest about what I think about her BF and I can tell her the things that I'm ashamed of myself for because I know I can't drive her away."
"When I am having a really bad day or going through a tough time, she clears her schedule, buys my favorite cupcakes, and we sit on her couch and she listens as I pour my heart out. And then we binge-watch shows like Scandal or Friends."
"Listening to dreams is so annoying because they're like these insane stories that don't actually involve anyone real and never happened and usually have no normal story structure or anything. Dreams are so interesting to the person who had them, but so fucking boring to everyone else. A true BFF will still be interested in your dreams."
"My best friend has no problem disagreeing with me or voicing when his view is different than mine. We actually have meaningful conversations instead of just agreeing about everything."
"Doesn't care if I am crying so much that I am snotting all over their shirt."
"Talks to me while I'm pooping."
"Let's you borrow underwear, no questions asked."
"Holds your hair back."
"I once called her on a layover at an airport for a last-minute job interview, completely out-of-the-blue. She helped me talk through my ideas and quickly come up with a fantastic plan for my presentation at the interview. They offered me the job!"
"Helping me move without a second thought."
"I moved to a new city in a crime-heavy neighborhood. When I told her about it she set her phone so my calls come through even if her phone is on sleep mode so she can walk me home when I stay out late."
"I was sick and she sent over chicken soup over a wee hours in the morning. She dragged her three-year -old son along; she's a single mother."
"She'll text me or call me and mention all the little things she encounters that remind her of me, or that she knows I'd love, which is a regular reminder to me of how completely and wonderfully she understands me."
"We can spend hours in the same room without talking and both be better for it."
"He understands when I need to withdraw from the world and be alone for a while. And he also knows when to push me to keep me from withdrawing. He's known me long enough to know when it's okay and when it's bad."
"We can 'talk' in our heads and understand each other without saying anything."
"She buys perfect gifts for special occasions and sends me unique care packages when I'm upset. She manages to think of something I mentioned off-hand or truly want or need — even when I don't even realize it."
"Works out with me at 6 a.m. every single day (and doesn't get paid to do it)."
"She won't go to sleep until she texts me 'I love you' and 'I'll see you tomorrow.'"
"We're roommates and often spend time in each other's rooms watching TV. If I fall asleep in his bed he won't try to wake me up. Instead he'll sleep on the couch or in my room, despite the fact that his bed is super comfy."
"She makes me green tea every morning. It's been eight months and still ongoing."
"She always asks if I'm warm enough when I'm in her car. I always am. But she still asks."