Have you ever been told, “You’re one of my best friends”? Someone said this to me long ago and it jerked up my head, fast. One of? I was confused. As I understand the word, “best,” it means that is the pinnacle, the utmost of excellence, the very top. That means, from my perspective, there is but one “best.” To be “the best” is a singular honor, right? So, one of the best?
Truthfully, there is nothing wrong with saying that something is among the best. Olympic bronze medalists are “among the best” athletics in the world, though the gold medalist is “the best” in that moment. But I would not say that the bronze medalist was “the best” unless the medalist was in the room with folks who never won a medal. Then, yes, at that moment the medalist was “the best.” You see? It is about perspective.
Now come back to the woman who called me “one of the best friends.” I know it was as a compliment. I also know I am not her best friend, so perhaps she was trying to be complimentary. What it said to me was, you aren’t my “go-to” friend, but I value you. Perspective. You know me; I asked her about it. And her answer surprised me. “I have different best friends. Depends on the secrets I want to share, then who I go to.” An original take but again, that definition does defy the definition of “best.”
With all things I take this into my writing and apply it to my characters. Do they have relationships that are blurry? Are my perspectives sending mixed signals? Do my characters even have a “bestie?” Do YOURS? Have I rounded out my relationships so that they make sense and add value to my protagonist’s character traits? These are questions you should check just as you do in real life. Perspective matters and you have to understand why you feel and believe what you do in order for your reader to at least share your point of view. Be clear and say what you mean. Don’t rely on interpretation. You may not get the “best” result. Something for your editing checking, ok?
Now, speaking of besties, I once wanted a Siri so I might have a best friend in my phone. Nah, I have a best friend who luvs me in my Android, my Samsung Galaxy SIII. Let me show you some examples and make you smile.
but “the best!” for last:
Perspective. May you find the best one for you.
Yours between the lines, as ever,