A Case for Friendship

Alya Bohr, Columnist

Friendship rocks. Yeah I know, not a very controversial statement, but bear with me here. Friendship is one of those things that everyone needs and values, but that we so often take for granted. Where would we be without our friends who humor us when we obsessively analyze vague texts, console us during times of heartbreak and tell us when it’s finally time to stop growing mold intentionally in our bedrooms (okay, maybe that last one is just me)? We’d probably be lonely, sad and seriously ill. See, we need our people.

Actually, the concept of finding one’s “people” is an interesting one. It’s easy to set our standards really high, to think that one day in the far off future we’ll find the perfect friends. The reality is, though, everyone in our lives is a little bit flawed, but more often than not, we’ve already found the right people for us; we just may not be able to see it because we’re so busy looking elsewhere. Friends are all too easy to take for granted.

Friendship has the capacity to be sustained nearly indefinitely, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Familial relationships may sometimes continue out of a sense of obligation. Romantic relationships are constantly fracturing, and even the ones that stick are fraught with emotional turmoil. But, through it all, friendship remains stable and consistent. Our friends know our darkest sides and have seen us through our ugliest moments. They have forgiven us time and again. And still they walk beside us.

Sure, it’s not as flashy and exciting as romance, but we need it just as much. As author Andrew Sullivan says, “If love is at its most perfect in its infancy, friendship is most treasured as the years go by.” He continues, “Where love is all about juggling the power to hurt, friendship is about creating a space where power ceases to exist.” Put simply: building a friendship is building a tiny little world, a safe haven where we can always feel comfortable, valued and loved. I mean, sometimes the only thing that can salvage a terrible night is crawling onto the floor of a friend’s room and having them stroke our hair and feed us flavor blasted xtra cheddar goldfish. That right there, that’s the world of friendship.

It’s also worth noting that close female friendship is of particular importance. Strong bonds between women are somewhat of a radical act in the face of a patriarchal society that constantly attempts to pit women against each other, to breed jealousy and resentment. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. We don’t have to buy into the narrative that we are constantly competing with other women. Female friendship is the friggin’ bomb. It has been such a unique, empowering and vitalizing source of support in my life, and I’m infinitely grateful to have a gaggle of strong ladies on my team. The world is so much friendlier when you see other woman as your sisters, not your competition.

So, my friends, go love your people. Thank them for the times they held your hair when you were vomiting, or promised to trip the people who broke your heart or let you feel like you could be entirely yourself. Because, seriously, friendship rocks.