The Love of Friends: Redefining Successful Relationships
All my friends and I seem to talk about are romantic relationships.
At 18, we believe, whether consciously or subconsciously, that the idea that love shows itself only with the right romantic partner, and that we are only fulfilled with said right partner seems to be permanently embedded in our psyche.
The “right partner”. You know him, Mr. Right: gorgeous, clever, loyal human being. There’s a specifically right one out there for all of us, or so they say.
But with the introduction of gay marriage laws and the more open awareness of gender and fluidity of sexuality in the younger generation today, it seems to me that some parts of our attitudes remain stuck with little hope of advancement.
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I am a manhater or that I don’t cry when rewatching The Notebook. However, I think in the interest of being independent females capable of having amazing lives, whether we are single or not, we need to change the conversation around fulfillment of self in relationships. Too often we see the “single female” as a stereotype of extremes, from Violet Benson of daddyissues satirizing and presenting a drunken sex-centric desperation of a single woman’s life, to quirky, painful awkwardness of any manic pixie dream girl you can think of.
Stepping outside of relationship-centric love standards, we should celebrate the presence of love in other aspects of our lives more. For one, we should celebrate the love of our friends. Friends, as cheesy as it sounds, are the family you choose. We don’t look at friendships as a source of pure love often enough, but we should.
The day I moved to my new university, I was completely alone, in a strange apartment and all my friends in high school seemed to be in different places. I felt like I was coming into a time of change, as many freshmen in college do. One of the first lessons I learned in college was that the bonds of friendship and love are something that I should never, ever take for granted.
I received a text message from a friend wishing me luck. This seems small, I know. However, when you’re in a new place, alone, in a start of a new life, you’re shaking, and you are not sure exactly which way you are meant to be going, this is a godsend. The calming hand on the shoulder from an old friend was enough to give me the confidence to go to the first social part of orientation. A small gesture of attention on a difficult day showed me, more than ever before, her love and loyalty.
Then, when I cautiously went to dinner that night, I found myself at a table of boisterous guys and girls. I introduced myself and expected some small talk, but to my great surprise, they proceeded to adopt me into their group! We went on many adventures that night around campus and we are now a little family, with dinners and movie nights. This, for me, was a sign of the importance of love in friendship. This is the opposite of my old friend’s support, but it is love: acceptance and generosity of the investment of time into a new relationship.
Many times we don’t notice that our friends love us selflessly, for exactly who we are. Why is that not celebrated more? Why do we still seek romantic relationships for fulfillment and self-reflection?
The Friday nights of dancing to the wee hours of the morning with your closest girlfriends is a feeling that I love. The action of hitting the town with your girl group is so empowering and beautiful to me. The music pounding in your ears, the before and after of parties. This sisterhood is something that shows me how much love there really is in the world, any why feeling a lack of it because of a lack of a romantic partner is ridiculous. To me, this feeling of finding friends again in this new environment made me see the importance of this love.
Many times we don’t notice that our friends love us selflessly, for exactly who we are. Why is that not celebrated more? Why do we still seek romantic relationships for fulfillment and self-reflection? I wish to see more of this celebrated in the media and more people being grateful for the blessing friendship really is. I know for sure that I will be giving more love into the world, after being the recipient of it through my new found and old friends.
So seriously, the next time you think of yourself as “less than” because you don’t have a romantic partner, or if you feel like you will only be able to feel loved with a shiny new boyfriend, consider the love you already have in your life. The pure, beautiful, supportive friendship-love.
By: Sophie Mollett