best friends

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Promise #3: To Always Respond to the Bat Signal of Friendship
My best friends from college and I have what we call a Guilt-Free Friendship, which means that if one of us sends an email, or calls, and the other is too busy, there's no need to reply (or feel bad about not replying). The flip side of this is that when one of us sends up the Bat Signal—that we're really struggling—the others are there in a flash. For example: Seven years ago, a week before my friend Aliya got married, I went through a horrible break-up. Our other friend Laura showed up to move me into my new apartment, unpack my books and argue with the moving men when they couldn't get the couch through the door. She also decided her husband would sit Aliya's wedding out, so she could come as my date instead. (Yes, we danced the night away.) Last winter, after Aliya's second child was born, I went to Wisconsin to help her while her husband was traveling for work. We ended up snowed in with her newborn baby and 3-year-old daughter. (Yes, it was an adventure.) Then a few months ago, Laura broke her ankle days before a scheduled cross-country move. Her husband and belongings were already in Texas. Aliya and I headed to Laura's near-empty house in DC to keep her company. We made sure she was fed and in good spirits, we did her laundry and the dishes. Despite the housework, it felt like a vacation in the end. We vowed to do it more often—minus the broken bones.