The best friend question

Regular readers of the blog know that I joined a singles website a few months ago to do some research. I’ve hung up my research cape and boots but the website I chose has a fairly active blogging section and some are really interesting.

I was totally taken aback, though, by an exchange I saw on one of them, written by a bloke who sent out a whole bunch of eflowers to make new contacts. One response was from a woman who said she had received an eflower a week ago and the man who sent it was now her best friend. Say what? I read it again. Best friend. In a week. She hadn’t met him, they had exchanged messages and then talked on Skype, and he was her best friend.

Has the meaning of ‘best friend’ changed? My daughter, when about ten, told me she had fifteen best friends. No, no, I said, you have fifteen friends, which is your best one? She looked at me as though I was deficient (ah, that look mothers so love) and told me they all were.

Maybe I should have asked which was her BFF. That used to puzzle me, too, aren’t best friends ipso facto  best friends forever? My best friend and I have known each other since we were obnoxious spotty schoolgirls. We live in different countries now, don’t talk that often on the phone (but never for less than an hour when we do) and meet up every few years. I can tot up my real friends without taking off my socks, and I still think I am rich. Edge and Vivian, in my books, have been friends since childhood and now are fellow residents at Grasshopper Lawns, but had also kept their friendship going during long separations in different countries. Staying power, to me, is as important as shared interests, laughter and support.

The thing is, there were lots of comments on that particular blog on the website and the general consensus was that someone you were attracted to, and could talk to for hours on end, was an immediate best friend. If you really struck lucky, your love interest as well (although maybe that takes two weeks. Nobody said.)

So tell me, what is a best friend?  I’m a writer, I need to know these things.