How do I choose a best friend?

Dear Winnie,

I’m in the market for a friend and I don’t know how to seek one out. What qualities should I look for in a best friend?



Dear Reader,

For most, a best friend is someone with whom you have a shared experience, someone you know from high school or college, or from making the same Nordstrom Rack sales associate cry. They know your favourite colour, your mother’s maiden name and the street you grew up on. A best friendship is a commitment you fall into with someone, and then 10 years later realize you hate them, but it’s just too late to look for someone new. Don’t do that. Don’t settle, Reader. This isn’t your marriage.

So who do I want to be friends with? My coworker, Diane? Who can’t hike because of her back and is, like, saving up to have a kid? No, of course not. How am I supposed to learn things from a person who has made worse life choices than me? The most important feature a best friend can offer is that they’re aspirational. My best friend will be Kanye West, because we are perfect for each other.

Let me explain.

I believe that Kanye West is five years old and that his experience of time is non-linear, which would make me, a 22-year-old who can’t open heavy doors by herself and frequently eats ice cream for breakfast, an ideal counterpart.

Let me explain.

Kanye has a song where he lists everyone he knows named Russell. There’s Naomi Russell, Russell Brand, Russell Crowe. He finishes this thought by explaining that Russell, in fact, ain’t the only Russell.

Have you ever met a child and told them your name only to have them tell you they already know a Ben, or whatever? That Ben lives on their street? Well, that’s because kids don’t have a super good grasp on the concept of given names, and neither does Kanye.

Now, I am a reasonable person. I have no expectation that Kanye will take me to premieres or club openings or that he’ll bring me out on stage in a Virgin Mary costume to mime the birth of Yeezus. Of course not. I’ve never thought about the pure rush of supreme euphoria one would feel looking out onto a sea of adoring fans, all of whom are wondering how someone so fuckable could also be so convincing as a virgin. That would be crazy. I would have to be crazy to think about that.

What I want from Kanye is simple: for him to call me from his landline at two, two-thirty in the morning when he can’t sleep. He’ll ask me, “Winnie, you know when you just have one of those days?” And I’d be like, “Of course I do, Kanye. I’m your best friend.”

After half an hour of talking to him about his thing, he’d ask if he was keeping me up. I’d say no, I was up anyway doing laundry because I’d put it off and had resorted to wearing bathing suit bottoms. He would chuckle and say, “I have no way of empathizing with that.” Then we’d talk about classism (I have three quarters of a degree in sociology) and what it’s like to be a creative genius (I make a killer swan napkin) and his issues with Kim, but of course they’d stay together. They’re perfect for each other in a different way. Kim and I offer different things.

Will we ever meet? One can’t be sure, but that’s the thing about best friends: you can’t just wait for serendipity, because that’s settling. You have to track them down like the most dangerous game. If nothing else, Reader, pick someone who is inspiring. For me, it’s Kanye West, with his blatant disregard for logical fallacy and generally piss-poor attitude. For you, it might be the lady co-host of the home shopping network.