Believe it or not, this is a debate now raging among experts.”The phrase best friend is inherently exclusionary,” child psychologist Barbara Greenberg writes in U. S. News. “Among children and even teens, best friends shift rapidly.”
“These shifts lead to emotional distress and would be significantly less likely if our kids spoke of close or even good friends rather than best friends.” Lenore Skenazy disagrees.
“Let Grow, the new non-profit I run, just held a contest asking high school students to write essays about thinking for themselves and hundreds of them wrote about the time a best friend turned on them—and how this made them gradually realize that their former best friend was a jerk, and wrong to put them down,” she writes on Reason.com. “It was amazing to see how common this entire cycle was, in grammar school, middle school, and high school.”
“Many of the essays are heart-wrenching. The kids went through deep loss. Some were distraught. They believed it when their besties told them they were ugly, or fat, or stupid. But eventually, they stopped believing it. And then they were grateful for the ordeal, because they came away with more self-confidence.”