friendship is the new romance
It takes a village to be a happy, whole human.
As of last month, I have found myself single again and determined as ever not to let everyone in the world (or on the internet) see me cry. Also hoping I won’t publish any more love poems written in a state of grandiose self-pity? Verdict’s still out on that one.
But this time around, I am really actually trying to do all the things I always say I will while going through breakups – focus on improving myself, exercise more, read and write more, embrace having the grandmotherly preferred bedtime of 10:30pm, indulge in more childish, romantic movies and amazing dairy-free ice cream (Häagen-Dazs’ peanut butter flavor is SO GOOD).
But something I all too often underestimate – single or not – is the existential importance of friendships. Not just as a place to dump my emotions and lean on when I’m feeling sad or anxious, but as a place to listen and grow and laugh and learn and discuss big ideas and emotions and events.
Whether you’ve met your soulmate or are happy being a single cat lady forever, I can think of few things more life-enriching than a true and thoughtful friendship. And no, I’m not talking about your "best friend that you married and just love doing life with." Not the same.
Friendships can transcend the sometimes cumbersome obligations of familial ties as well as the sometimes unsure nature of a passionate romantic relationship. And we should remember this and put these relationships first whether or not we’ve found someone to romantically ~luv~.
I’ve been noticing a larger cultural embracing of this idea over the last year and am excited to declare that officially, in 2017, friendship is the new romance. Instead of searching for the perfect significant other who wants to take silly pictures of you, share your taste in music, open up about weird habits and opinions, and go on adventures with you, why not just embrace the fact that you likely already have all of those things in your friendships?
(I’ve heard that it also benefits your romantic relationships to lower that long list of expectations for your partner and focus on outside friendships… but I’ll keep you posted on whether I ever achieve this perfect life balance of romance and platonism.)
If you’d like to jump right into this full-fledged friends-before-boy/girlfriends movement, check out some of these sites and shows which tend to focus on incubating supportive friendships and womanhood:
The Clover Letter newsletter
Another Round podcast (Heben and Tracy forever!)
Call Your Girlfriend podcast (Ann and Aminatou forever!!)
Girls’ Night In newsletter (They’re looking for in-person book club hosts across America!)
Even ban.do is doing it!! Girl gang forever.
I’m much more an expert in spaces for lady friendships to blossom, but I’m a firm believer in friendships of all genders, colors, shapes, and sizes. Anyone has any more boy-friendly and / or non-gender-conforming publication suggestions, let me know!
But speaking of lady friendships, I do of course have to end on Sex and the City. I recently saw the movie for the first time and wondered why on earth it had taken me so long. (Yes, I am referring to the SATC movie, the 2008 one, starring Jennifer Hudson and Vivienne Westwood.)
So I will end here on a quote from dear Carrie, my narcissistic, shoe-loving, love-pining spirit woman, of whose clichés I will never tire:
"They say nothing lasts forever; dreams change, trends come and go, but friendships never go out of style."