Merriam-Webster’s Ode to Snapchat

On Friday night, I called my sister Claire for a quick chat. Because she is in the same organization that I was a part of, some of my best friends who are still at A&M have become very close to her, as well. Always one to poke fun at the fact that she’s essentially stolen my identity (not really, Claire’s 100% her own person and will not let you soon forget it), I informed her that she and my bestie Jordan are of the same ranking on my Snapchat “Best Friend” list.*

Continuing to glance down at my phone, I stopped dead in my tracks because I was taken aback by how accurately this list reflected whom I consider to be “Best Friends”. I even said aloud to Claire, “If the Titanic was sinking and I got to fill up a lifeboat, this is pretty much who I’d want to save.”

Intrigued by this somewhat-trivial-but-undeniable concept inspired by Snapchat, I got onto my Merriam-Webster app (because I’m a nerd) and looked up the definition of the word, “friend”.

According to those guys, a friend is

: a person who you like and enjoy being with
: a person who helps or supports someone or something (such as a cause or charity)

Super simple. Just like that Snapchat list.

I’ve been trying to concoct some cool, philosophical way to tie this all together in a beautiful, inspiring message about the monumental moments of friendship, but the truth is, that’s really not what it’s all about.

Yes, sometimes being a friend means making a grand gesture and going to great lengths. You are the charity, and they are the support. Like the time my car broke down an hour outside of College Station, and Alex and Jordan came and picked me up with rollers in their hair because our Gala was that night. Or when Ashley had her band concert, and Haylie, Julie and I sat in the third row and cheered like she was our own child performing at Carnegie Hall. That’s the kind of strength and selflessness that identify friendship. That’s what sticks out.

But 90% of the time, the act of being someone’s friend is simply showing up. It’s listening and discussing and sitting and asking. It’s choosing them over something else because they are “a person who you like and enjoy being with”. We don’t often recognize this decision because we do it subconsciously — we have grown to care for these people to the point that our choices are natural. It’s a part of who we are. This is why you agree to go to a fundraising barbecue without batting an eye, because your friend said she needed someone to sit with at her boss’s table. This is how a quick text turns into a two-hour long FaceTime conversation because you both want to watch the most recent Scandal episode and hear the other’s opinions. This is where life happens, in the unorganized, unplanned, unadulterated intentions.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, although the flashy definition of a friend is important, the straightforward explanation is just as integral. Although these moments with our loved ones are mostly small and fleeting, they are what get us through the day, and ultimately, through life. Just like Snapchat.

*Snapchat is a social media platform that involves sending pictures and videos that disappear after you view them. As someone who constantly needs to be updated on what’s “in” by my sisters, there is no judgement coming from my end if you’re in need of this explanation.

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