Issue #26: Friendship as an act of rebellion
Why making friends is liberating, Top Friends on MySpace – and the politics of 'Couple Friends'. Plus, an explainer guide to all the latest books on this topic, and how to make friends as an adult.
The beginning of a new friendship is an infinite walk to nowhere. Which sounds like a quote misattributed to Rumi, but in this case I mean it literally. Over the past three years, I’ve made as many new close friends - and, in each case, our respective bond was forged over a long, meandering walk together through Hampstead Heath; Primrose Hill; and, one summer’s evening in 2021, four miles home from London Soho to my flat.
I remember, each time, the same feeling of this is it, the start of something special. Someone I’d have easy, open-hearted conversations with; namedrop casually, my friend so-and-so says…; explore new things and places with; gain a fresh perspective from. And while I know that’s most typically the kind of thing you hear in someone’s wedding speech, this felt different: expansive, freeing.
Friendship doesn’t necessitate the hard choices that relationships do: like monogamy (usually), or the contemplation of shared milestones like marriage, kids, home ownership. Friendship isn’t complicated by romantic anxiety about the future – the gaps between text messages, or next dates – nor dragged backwards by the past, as familial relationships can be.
There are no societal or cultural expectations. The rules are that there are no rules. You can be friends with someone who’s 19, or 90. You can do ‘long distance’. You can see each other once a day, or once a year. You can celebrate your anniversary. You can even choose to co-parent or live together. You can get creative – because no one’s telling you otherwise, unlike with your relationship or family ties. Honestly? No one really cares.
Friendship as an act of rebellion
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial