When it comes to friendships, I’ve always been partial to the Golden Rule: “Make new friends, but keep the old…” Yes, it’s simple, but there’s considerable power in just those seven words. I’ve been lucky to have some wonderful friends over the years — friends who have lifted me up, helped me grow and helped me discover who I am — and maybe that’s why I’ve long championed the power of female friendships. They’re something that we should never underestimate or take for granted, and seeing that March is Women’s History Month, their importance seems especially palpable these days.
Then I read The Atlantic’s recent (powerful…!) piece “Broad City and the Triumph of the Platonic Rom-Com,” and I finally felt like someone GETS IT. The article does an excellent job of bringing the female friendship back into focus, even after things like the spinster label and the pressure to make a mad dash and find a husband have systematically worked to thwart and undermine the very essence of women.
“Abbi and Ilana share, basically, what a lot of young women—and young men—share in this age of delayed marriage and emergent adulthood and platonic roommates and geographic peripateticism and economic prosperity and economic uncertainty: a friendship that occupies the psychic space that used to be devoted to spouses and children. While the marriage plot may still, dissolved and distended, drive many of Hollywood’s cultural products, Broad City reflects friendship’s age-old, but also new, reality: The show is suggesting that its heroines are already, effectively, married. To each other.”
You know I love a good old-fashioned rom-com (picture me having a cry fest during When Harry Met Sally), but in so many of them, even the ones that center on a girl squad, are about women’s lives in relation to men — who they are, what they’re doing and where they’re going, you know, depending on the whims of a man. They’re, quite honestly, biding their time together until their Prince Charming comes riding along on his horse to whisk them away to their Happily Ever After. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that, perhaps, they’ve already found their Happily Ever After. They’re too busy looking forward (read: looking for HIM) to stop, look around and see what’s right in front of them. Bechdel Test, anyone?
“What that amounts to is a culture that is not only recognizing the primacy of friendship, but trying to carve a space for it. A culture that is trying to turn deep, passionate friendship—best friendship, platonic life partnership of the Fey-Poehler and Broad City vein—into its own kind of category.”
I love that, don’t you? I’m not saying, “down with relationships,” but men most certainly don’t have to be your whole world, especially when they come at the expense of or replace your existing female friendships. Sometimes, I think we forget that IT IS possible to have both simultaneously.
Your friends are going to accept you for who you are. They’re not going to leave you or desert you or send you out-of-this-world confusing mixed signals. They’re real and loving and true. Make no mistake: The bonds of female ties are strong and everlasting. Never come between a woman and her friends because, really, we’re going to stick together. Forever. And that, my friends, is such a beautiful thing.
What’s the best friendship advice you’ve ever received, friends? What have you learned from the women in your life? What friendship advice would you give others?