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My BFF taught me how to ...

LIVE EVERY DAY TO THE FULLEST. I used to be very conservative. At school dances, 1 was the wallflower--until I met my BFF. She can't dance at all. Neither can I. But at the last dance, she went to the middle of the floor and boogied like an idiot. Feeling bad for her, I got out there with her. It was a blast! My BFF made me realize I need to enjoy life, not sit back and watch it pass me by."

Our best friends cheer us on when life is great and lift us up when times get tough. They share our dreams, listen when we need to talk and make even cloudy days bright. But even more, they show us every day--through words, actions and gestures--how to be a better person. We asked GL readers to share the greatest gifts of their friendships--life lessons they learned from their BFFs.

BE FREE The question for me isn't, "What has my BFF taught me?" It's, "What hasn't she taught me?" I've known her since pre-school. I wonder if she knows more about me than my parents do! I can tell her things that I can't tell anyone. She's like a sister I've never had. We are free to be ourselves around each other. We do crazy things no one else would understand. When we try out for the same thing and one gets a better part than the other, we do not get all jealous--we congratulate each other.

--Brittnay

Speak UP Some people say your enemies show you your weaknesses. But my best friend has a certain way of showing me mine and helping me deal with them. I'm not very assertive, but she always knows when I have something important to say--and she listens. We have learned the value of trust, and we know the other will never tell secrets. We have the most fun doing completely dorky or boring things!

--Jenn

APPRECIATE MY FAMILY--AND HERS

Haley taught me about differences. We are different people from very different families. Her parents are divorced, and she has several half- and step-siblings. My parents are together, and we're like a Stepford Family--very traditional, dinner every night in the dining room, the whole deal. Her family is very spontaneous and not as structured as mine. Her family has adopted me as another daughter and taught me that even though families are really different, every family is important.

--Valerie

SHOW GRATITUDE I moved away a couple months ago. I was so sad until I took a walk with my new friend. We talked about moving, the BF I left behind and other stuff. For the first time in a while, I smiled, laughed and had fun. My friend taught me to be thankful for what I have. Now, I'm much happier!

--Laura

RESPECT MYSELF I used to feel like I was being judged by people. My BFF told me I was being too uptight, and that gave me a new outlook. The lesson I learned from Rachael is: "Be yourself. Those who don't find you awesome aren't worth worrying about."

--Lydia

BE A BUD The thing I learned from my BFF that changed my life is how to be there for someone. For the first time, I feel like I'm needed--that I have a purpose. Without her, I have no idea where I would be.

--Becca

GET THE GUY What I learned from Joanna is that you don't have to spend hours putting on makeup and getting ready. She never has tried to "get" a guy, but I know three guys who've crushed on her. Being nice and sweet is what counts. Even if you don't have the looks of a model, guys will like you if you have it all on the inside.

--Aarika

BE KIND My best friend makes me laugh, but she's also really sensitive to people's feelings. Because of her, I now try to be way more thoughtful in how I deal with people. I know my words and actions affect others.

--Amanda

SUCCEED IN LIFE My BFF has a lot of determination, and the way she speaks up in class has motivated me--my grades have skyrocketed. She's calm and collected around people she doesn't know. Because of her, I look people in the eyes when I talk. It's gained me respect from new friends and even adults. Without her, I'd be so insecure.

--Avery

LIVE ON In May 2004, my best friend's brother died at age 16. She's so strong and has lived through it with a good attitude every day. I learned from her that something tragic may happen, but you can survive and have happiness.

--Kristin

HAVE CONFIDENCE My best friend taught me to be confident. She helped me realize you'll never achieve anything if you keep quiet and do nothing. It may take time to build courage and act but, in the end, it'll make you feel good. I feel better about myself--and I love her for that.

--Kendall
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Publication:Girls' Life
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2005
Words:834
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