nah : 03.2016 : In A World Made For Couples (Culture & Sociology)
Solid, lasting, intimate friendship is not effortless for anyone. But it’s particularly difficult for single people. In addition to all the usual challenges friendships face (envy, crazy-busy-ness, Hillary vs. Bernie), unpartnered people have to reckon with the reality that for us the stakes are higher. When friendships are your primary relationships, friendship isn’t just important: It’s existential.(…) My passionate friendships have proven to be as combustible and doomed as any other kind of passion, and the blissful chosen-family lifestyle I loved in my 20s, which I remember as a soft-focus montage of weekly gin nights and impromptu picnics in the park, has become impossible to sustain in my 30s. These days my oldest friends and I live farther apart and spend more of our time on work and caregiving. We fit each other in between deadlines and other demands, and often make do with Facebook and phone tag. (…) At its best, having many close friendships can feel like having an army of guardian angels ready to mobilize within minutes. At its worst, it can feel like the world’s most invisible form of emotional labor. Because single women often put friendship at the center of our lives, it can be hard for us to be friends with people who see friendship as peripheral, as many partnered people do. (…)
She makes friendship sound awfully romantic, and it is, but the fact remains that it’s hard and scary to go through life knowing that your most important relationships are chronically underrated and legally nonexistent. Which is why I light my Golden Girls candle every night and invite my friends over for Galentine’s cake, and why I try not to leave my love unspoken. In a world where friendship is often difficult or invisible, I am trying to bake and write and speak and pray my friendships into the future.