National Best Friends Day goes back to 1935, when Congress devoted a day to paying tribute to friendship. They selected June 8 because most of the country had balmy weather so that friends might celebrate in the great outdoors.
Here are ways to make the most of these unique relationships for Best Friends Day (June 8) and every day.
1) Nurture Your Friendship
It takes commitment to maintain any healthy relationship, whether with our spouse, ourselves, or our BF. Working, raising kids, taking care of elderly parents, and other obligations make it easy for days to slip away without texting or calling.
Janie and Lynn (not their real names) have been best friends since high school. Despite living 500 miles apart, they text each other often every day, talk or Facetime at least once a week, and schedule a long weekend.
“We share a calendar, and write suggestions for where and when to meet up,” says Janie. “If you don’t put it in writing, it won’t happen. At least, that’s what I’ve found.”
2) Express Your Gratitude
Another best friend’s tip: express how much the friendship means to you. Tell them, whether it’s a hand-written note, a cute GIF, or face-to-face.
Expressing gratitude is more than words. There will be times when you disagree or disappoint each other. The real test of friendship is admitting you’re wrong (when you are) and supporting your friend, even when you disagree.
3) Walk the Walk
It’s easy to be best friends when sharing a gourmet meal or relaxing on the beach. The test of friendship often comes from more challenging times. As we get older, we experience loss. We get divorced or receive a devastating diagnosis. Our children grow up and move out. And grandparents, parents, and spouses pass away.
For many of us, our best friends also step into the role of decision-maker when we can no longer speak for ourselves.
Real Friends Stay When Others Leave
Making end-of-life plans is never easy, but one of the best ways to ensure that your final wishes are carried out is through a power of attorney.
There are many types of powers of attorney, but their role is similar. You make sound and logical decisions while you can, then write them down and appoint someone to carry them out on your behalf.
Elder law attorneys encourage you to have at least two people who are willing to act as your power of attorney if one of them becomes incapicated.
Asking Your BF to Be Your POA
Your best friend probably knows you better than anyone else. Yet specific topics don’t usually come up in everyday conversation. That’s why you should consider these factors before asking your BF if they’re willing to take on the role of POA (power of attorney):
- Would they respect your wishes, even if they disagree?
- Are they ready to make difficult decisions about medical treatment, including prolonging life no matter its quality?
- Can they stand up to aggressive or reluctant family members, doctors, and others?
If the answer to these questions is a resounding “yes,” your best friend would be an excellent advocate for you.
What a POA Does
A power of attorney can be limited or broad in scope. Some individuals select a POA as a healthcare surrogate for all matters related to their health and medical treatments. Others feel comfortable making a comprehensive plan and asking a POA to carry out everything from paying bills to selecting a cremation provider.
In general, an individual acting as your POA can expect to:
- Decide on medical treatments, including diagnostic tests, medications, rehab or nursing facilities, and medical facilities
- Approve or deny such treatments
- Handle insurance and Medicare matters
- Communicate with family members
- Make decisions about end-of-life procedures
These decisions should be based upon your expressed wishes, with your BF carrying them out on your behalf.
DIY Power of Attorney?
You can download a standard template and create a power of attorney. The document must be properly signed and witnessed, and you’ll likely need a notary public. You can also Google an elder law or family law attorney near you.
Our friends – and indeed our best friends – strengthen and sustain us. Attracting and maintaining friendships is a worthy pursuit. William Butler Yeats said it best: “Think where man’s glory most begins and ends and say my glory was I had such a friend.”