In case you’re interested in where I stand in my summer reading, let me share: According to my Kindle app, I’m exactly 42% done with the summer It book, David Nicholls’ One Day. I mention this not because I think you should read it (Though I do. Think you should read it, that is. So far it’s a perfect beach read. And you’ll want to have read the novel when the Anne Hathaway vehicle hits theaters), but because a sentence others might gloss over recently gave me pause.
“People make a big deal about friendship but it really does seem incredibly easy here, and soon he is imagining everyone hanging out together, going on holiday in a camper van, having barbecues on the beach as the sun goes down, and they seem to like him too…”
The second part—the imagining everyone hanging out and gallivanting in a camper van—happens to me all the time. I meet someone seemingly spectacular and picture us walking through the city streets, each balancing a cell phone on our shoulder as we fumble for our keys with one hand and hold fresh shopping bags in the other. In my mind’s eye it plays like something out of a BFF chick flick. With a split screen or a montage that jumps back and forth between us. The Sweetest Thing, perhaps. Or Now and Then.
But it’s the first bit of this passage that really stuck with me. “People make a big deal about friendship…” Do they? Because when I started this search, it seemed to me that no one made a big deal about friendship. That so much energy was spent analyzing romantic relationships that friendship got a bit shortchanged in the cultural conversation.
In fact, I’ve always imagined that the most popular criticism of this blog might be that it makes too big a deal about friendship. People are constantly advising me, “don’t overthink it,” when it comes to navigating the murky waters of forging a local BFFship. It is, obviously, my tendency to notice and analyze issues as they pertain to social connections. I think about it. Then maybe overthink about it.
I’d argue these issues—saying the L word, how to go from acquaintance to friend, which BFFs are off limits—are real, and that people rarely talk about them for fear of appearing neurotic or obsessive. But you might argue that all my analysis is detracting from the experience. That friendships should just happen, in their own time, on their own schedule.
So my question to you is this: Do you think people make a big deal about friendship? Too big a deal? Or do you think talk of BFFs and making friends gets sidelined by all the discussion about dating, marriage and Mr. Right?