Friendship is a topic that my co-founder Akshara and I think about, like, a LOT. Mostly because pop-culture has us believing that ideal friendships look a certain way and ‘best friends’ (ugh) behave a certain way. After all, friendships are like bodies – they come in all shapes in sizes! And each friendship is meaningful in its own way.
But pop culture wants women to believe that there are only certain types of friendship that are aspirational or worth seeking. Whether it’s Sex And The City or even the more recent The Bold Type, friends are expected to navigate their lives in a deeply connected and almost symbiotic way. We don’t think that’s practical or realistic, so we thought we’d talk about what adult friendships actually look like.
Friendships Should Allow For Honesty
When we say honesty, we don’t mean spilling raw details about your life, but a relationship that allows for you to be the most authentic version of yourself. A good friendship allows you to not only be open about your circumstances, opinions and feelings but also be unapologetic about it. If your friend wants to go out, for example and you don’t want to, you shouldn’t have to force yourself to go out. You shouldn’t have to force yourself to do anything for a friendship. All of us have been through our share of peer pressure in school and college and done things we haven’t wanted to. But when you’re in your late 20s/30s, peer pressure is not something you want to sign up for – especially when you’ve signed up for a million other things already.
Friendships Should Allow For Boundaries
A good friendship allows you to draw clear boundaries for yourself. You get to decide what you want to participate in (whether it’s a night out or a whatsapp group) and what you don’t want to participate in. If this person is a good friend, odds are that you’re going to like doing similar things together. But there will always be times when you might not feel like being a part of something, even if you have done it before. An adult friendship should allow you to draw these boundaries out without it having to cost the relationship itself.
Friendships Should Be Free of Pressure
This is a continuation of the point about boundaries, but there are concepts like gifting, for example, or hanging out only at certain types of places, that can cause invisible pressure on you. If the interests are mutual, then hey! you guys should totally do what you enjoy. Gifting and partying are fun! But not gifting or not wanting to go out is just as okay. Every friend has a different definition of what it means to show up and express affection. You shouldn’t have to conform to theirs and they shouldn’t have to conform to yours. You do you! It’s that simple.
All Your Friendships Are Valid
As we grow, we find a number of interests along the way and consequently, different people we share those interests with. While having friends with whom you can share your every day is fantastic, the idea of ‘best’ friend is pretty dated in our opinion, despite the pop culture pressure to have one. Besides it’s kind of unfair to expect one person to cater to ALL your interests! We might have a bunch of people we only share memes with. We might have another group of people that we might not necessarily have a deep connection with, but have a fantastic time when we go out. Friends to share celebrity gossip with. Friends who get excited about your reading list. Friends who give you the best Netflix recommendations. They’re all valid friendships that are worth seeking and maintaining.