Amazing how lightly people can take friendships….
A book review about how friendships these days are treated as disposable:
‘Friendkeeping’: The Close Relationships We Could, But Can’t Easily, Let Go
I realized as I read it that I wasn’t responding only to the book itself — which covers territory like secrets, crisis management, and how much advice to give your friends — but to the mere fact that it was written.
It was taking seriously something, namely adult friendships, that often turns into the wallpaper of cultural life: something that’s there, and that’s lovely, and that ideally you don’t have to think about, but not something that you would delve into deeply. Not something you attend to specifically.
In a way, this theory reminds me of what we talked about here earlier this week: that the very compelling fragility of friendships comes from the fact that there’s such a low barrier to exit. You don’t have to work on anything if you don’t want to.
Indeed, Klam says when she wrote the book proposal, she realized that in theory, there were easy answers to all the hard questions she had about friends. “You could possibly write every question that I posed and answer it: ‘Well, just don’t be friends with them anymore.’ ‘If you don’t like their spouse, don’t hang out with them.’ So there was less of a sort of [concern for] how to work through things … just because you know you really can walk away.”
From the same blogger who wrote the review:
Building a show around friends has some structural advantages; friendships are precious specifically because they are fragile. You’re not bound to these people by law or by blood (in most cases), and you don’t share a home with them or share your stuff with them (again, in most cases).
You have to keep choosing them every day, and on any given day, you could just … not choose them, and that would be that.
I once had a friend very tentatively, in hushed tones, acknowledge that there is a way — one particular dimension, one kind of sense of intimacy — in which your closest friends are closer than family, and I think that’s what was meant.
You don’t have to file anything to dump your friends; the barriers to exit, you might say, are very low. Your mom is supposed to like you; your friends just do. —You’ve got to have friends: how curated families shook up tv comedy
As for opposite-sex friendships as shown on TV:
Heaven knows, I’m a rom-com person. I’m an appreciator of the slow burn as much as anyone.
Still, not every close bond is a precursor to something entirely other than itself. I admit that I’m an outlier — I badly wanted Friends not to get Ross and Rachel together at the end, since they were obviously going to make each other miserable as they had so many times before. But I don’t like the romantification of every important relationship in the known universe. —Sometimes a friend is just a cigar: why not everybody needs to kiss at the end
She may be talking about TV, but it also applies to how people often see opposite-sex friendships: as somehow necessarily being about sex.
Which is really frustrating and sexist, because then you can’t even talk about how much you care about your opposite-sex friend without everyone on the forum going, “OMG you want to have an affair and should ditch that friend!”
Um, considering how many guy friends I have and care about, you must think I’m a promiscuous ho bag. I mean, sure, I love to flirt with my guy friends, but that’s all it ever is: a little joke between friends, nothing serious.
It’s extremely annoying to have to add some version of “I mean as friends” when I talk about Richard, because so many people (including Tracy) have made it into something it’s not, that I feel the need to do so. Let’s get with the 21st century, people!
People say “best friend” because it recognizes what you might call, for lack of a less academic-sounding garble, “platonic intimacy.” It says, “This is a person who is not like normal, ordinary friends, but who is the ‘I would drive anywhere at two in the morning for you without complaining’ kind of friend.”
Or, in the case of Pam Ribon’s book You Take It From Here, which is a wonderful look at a relationship like this, the “I would manage your life in the event of your death” kind of friend.
One of the reasons Bridesmaids was so affecting was that it really honored how important those relationships are and how painful it is when they’re jeopardized.
It was great to see Kristen Wiig play the fact that you can feel just as devastated, just as undone and disoriented, by losing friends as by losing boyfriends.