The difference between an Arab BFF and the rest of your friends: boundaries. There are none.

A bond with your Arab best friend transcends time and space. You are all over each other, all day, every day. People have often assumed you’re secretly lovers because of how (unnaturally) close you are.

Best friend love is just… the realest love there is.

1. Habibi, Hayati…your affection has no bounds

Sure, you “love” your non-Arab friends, but with your Arab best friend, you totally let loose. You’ve often debated which one of you is going to die first because neither of you want to live without the other. You’ve also planned out your entire lives, spouses be damned, in a huge bouncy castle for a home, with 10 cats, an owl, and possibly a panda.

Also, the affection translates to the usual hayati, habibi and albi. You even might use unflattering words to mean love, such as bakara (cow) or hmara (donkey/idiot).

2. She’s more possessive than a jealous boyfriend

You’re happy for them when they make friends, but a tinge of possessiveness comes over you. Fear creeps in despite knowing you could never be replaced by someone, and that no one could ever love them as much as you do.

Me: “haha, he sounds cool, but you still love me the most right?” It is said bayn el mazah’ wal jad, as we say (literally translates to: between a joke and seriousness)

3. People often refer to you as “farha w marha” or “tanjara w la2it ghataha”

Among other things like “jawze w lawze” and “raya w skeeni.” There’s really no doubt that you two are inseparable.

4. You probably got your mom’s blessing before you embarked on your crazy friendship

Much like a tolbe, your mom has probably taken it upon yourself how “right” that girl is for you. Sometimes, she will refer to her as your “soulmate”. Friendship is serious business in the Arab world.

5. Your family is crazy about her

Obviously, if she’s being invited to family occasions, your family loves her. Your aunts constantly talk to you about how she’s such a “bint mhazabi” and you can’t help beaming with pride. They talk about all her accomplishments and your mom has basically adopted her as a second daughter.

6. You are BFFs with her brother/sister, too

After spending countless hours at each other’s houses, you become accustomed to the siblings hanging around you. So much that you end up being close to them as well. And so, any invitation to your best friend is an extended invitation to her sister or brother, no questions asked.

7. Her cousins are in your social circle

Every Arab comes with a football team and a half of cousins. So by default, these cousins will be part of your immediate social circle.

8. Your family wants the 411 on your BFF

Not just how they’re feeling, but how they’re doing in school, how they’re sleeping, if they’re feeling better after being sick, and in which direction their heading in life basically.

Also, they’ll refer to her by the nickname or title you’ve given her. So, it won’t be, “How’s your best friend?” but more like “How’s your soulmate?”

9. You respect her parents more than anything because you love them/don’t want to offend her

Her/your parents might gush about the other, but you have to treat them with all the respect you have. You ask how they are, give them the formal 2/3 kiss greeting, and always respect their strict rules, even if your best friend doesn’t.

Your BFF’s parents might also have your number, but that’s just an “in case of emergency” thing. However, if they call you, you ALWAYS cover for the best friend.

10. You have been an accessory to your BFF’s escape plans

Arab parents are hyper-protective. If you’ve helped her sneak out of the house to meet her boyfriend, or covered for her. You’ve cemented the friendship in stone.

11. Your best friend’s mom cooks your favorite meal for you sometimes

Food is always on the table when you come over. Eat out? Are you joking? Your best friend’s mom is more than happy to make you food. Especially when it’s something you can’t make yourself, or that your mom doesn’t make as good. She’ll even remember random inconspicuous details about food you liked.

So, the next time you come over, your best friend will be like, “Oh, yeah, my mom made you the purple rice with the spices that you liked when we had it that one time 3 years ago.”

12. You’re overseeing her arranged marriage…to your brother

You’ve already set up your best friend’s marriage to your brother, and your marriage to her brother, just to make that sister bond official.

It doesn’t matter if your brother is in a relationship. Are you kidding? Becoming sisters-in-law is far more important than your brother’s happiness, naturally.

Also, you have to know her spouse will treat her well, and we like to keep marriages bil ‘ayle.

13. Your Arab BFF is your ultimate Sit Naseeha

It doesn’t matter if she doesn’t have a medical degree (my best friend does though *brushes invisible lint of shoulders*), your best friend will take all your symptoms into consideration and come up with a course of action for you to take to get better. These diagnoses also stretch beyond illnesses, and cover your stupid ideas, studying for a test, and appropriate behavior around dates.

14. The Boyfriend-screening process, more rigorous than a mukhabarat interrogation

Usually, you can’t tell your mom about your boyfriend, so it’s up to your best friend to determine whether he’s scum and you just can’t see it.

She has to ask all the questions, what family he’s from, how he treats his mother/sister, where he takes you on dates, and everything else. She’s also the first person you send screenshots to, and analyze everything about the message to the last comma.

If it’s getting serious you might’ve started writing your maid-of-honor speech, even if that position might not exist in her wedding.

15. Come not within the measure of her wrath

If anyone were to upset you or hurt you, the gloves come off. Other than the sleuth of curse words that would come that person’s way, your best friend is more than happy to find that person and set him/her on fire. That’s what best friends are for.

16. “Text me as soon as you get home”

With the over-protection comes having their safety in mind. We’re more than eager to drive the other home, and wait for them to get inside before driving away. If you’re driving yourself home, the first thing you do when you get home is text them saying you got home safe. When traveling, you call them before you depart and after you land, just in case.