Apparently, yesterday was National Best Friends Day.
I have to admit, I find this kind of holiday to be really silly. Not just because it is totally made up. Or because every day should be best friend’s day. But because even though I’m passionate about starting a dialogue concerning the realities of modern-day relationships, there’s a stigma attached to talking about friendship and this kind of holiday contributes to it.
Here’s what I mean: When I first started working on my book, people would, of course, often ask me what it was about.
“Friendship,” I’d say.
They’d smile politely (or was it condescendingly?) as their eyes glazed over. I knew they were picturing those email forwards with the ridiculous pink fonts and the rhymes about how we should cherish our girlfriends. Or those black and white photo books with pictures of little girls holding hands and leaning their heads on each others shoulders. They figured I was writing some sappy ode to sisterhood, when in fact I was hoping to write a modern, fresh, realistic take on how difficult—and hilariously awkward—it is to make new friends as an adult. I planned to quote scientific research, not just Carole King and Dionne Warwick.
But it seemed no one considered friendship a serious or intelligent topic.
Eventually I amended my response regarding my book’s subject.
“It’s about friendship,” I’d say.”But not in a cheesy way!”
For whatever reason, people don’t take friendship seriously. Even in yesterday’s TodayShow.com blog post about Best Friends Day, reporter Jenna Wolfe wrote: “Today is Best Friends Day and while I’m not 7 (I’m…well… considerably older than that), I still honor and respect the gods of friendship who declared this a national (semi-celebrated) holiday.” I’m a big fan of Wolfe’s, but the fact that she felt the need to say “while I’m not 7” pretty much encapsulates the general public’s attitude toward discussing friendship: It’s for children. It’s juvenile. It’s frivolous.
I’m not sure where this sentiment came from. Quality friendships are one of the most significant contributors to our health. Being socially connected affects everything from our sleep patterns to our financial status. And yet, until quite recently, the study of social networks was virtually nonexistent. People researched group mentality or romantic relationships. But just friendship? Not so much.
We all know that women love and adore their BFFs. That is not new information, and new information—the science, the embarrassment that no ever talks about at having trouble making new pals—that’s what needs attention. So when we create made up holidays like Best Friends Day… I don’t know, but I don’t think it does much to lend credibility to the topic. Instead, it reinforces the idea that it’s a sappy topic for sentimental girls.
Do you agree? Or do I need to lighten up?