Friendship Fanfare

As a BFF, do weddings make you feel rejected?

That’s the question posed in yesterday’s Boston Globe magazine, in one of those articles that made me think, “Whoa there, how did this writer get insidemy brain?” It’s the kind of piece that made me want to send the author a note just to say “Yes! I think so too!” (In fact, I think I’ll do just that as soon as I’m done writing this blog.)

In the column, entitled “A Bridesmaid’s Lament,” author Carrie English writes: “Surely I can’t be the only person who feels like weddings are a bit of a rejection – two people announcing in public that they love each other more than they love you.”

Truth be told, I haven’t actually had that thought. (And you know I’d tell you if I had.) Perhaps that’s because when my BFF got married, we already lived states away from one another. Distance was a harder strain on our bestfriendship than her marriage would ever be. And, unlike English, I am a big believer that it’s having kids–not marriage–that alters your BFFship for eternity.

That said, I enjoyed this bit so much I want to share it: “There’s no denying that weddings change friendships forever. Priorities have been declared in public. She’ll be there for him in sickness and in health, till death do they part. She’ll be there for you on your birthday or when he has to work late.”

Maybe it’s because every woman I know lives with her husband before she gets married, but I haven’t found that nuptials have changed any of my friendships. Coupling off certainly has, but these days marriage itself doesn’t seem to alter much in the way of behavior. My friends who were independent before are still independent now, and my friends who clung to their boyfriends and refused to go out solo, well, they’re still being ridiculous.

But the part that made me scream “yes! exactly!” (if only internally) was this: “However much our society might pay lip service to friendship, the fact remains that the only love it considers important – important enough to merit a huge public celebration – is romantic love. This despite the fact that platonic love is the only love that’s truly unconditional.” English goes on to explain just how that unconditional friendship love is expressed. (It’s funny in its accuracy. Trust me. Read it.)

I know that I just wrote an entire post about why I think National Best Friends Day is bunk, and perhaps this whole “we should celebrate friendship” sentiment sounds like a contradiction to that. It’s not. I too feel that the only unconditional relationship that’s truly celebrated is romantic love. I support the argument that friendship deserves its due. It’s just that I think our way of celebrating friendship, of acknowledging its importance, should be to take it seriously and respect it as a social science, not just create a silly Hallmark holiday.

In the end of her piece, English encourages readers to go out and have an anniversary party with their friends. A friend-wedding, if you will.

It sounds so sentimental. And yet, every summer my mind wanders back to the first time I met my BFF Sara. We are coming up on our 19th anniversary and I can thinkoif nothing I’d rather do than drink champagne and bake a cake (well, Sara can bake the cake, that’s her domain. I’ll eat it) and celebrate each other for surviving what many marriages don’t–almost two decades together.

Do you agree with English’s contention that platonic love is the only true unconditional love? Does it deserve some fanfare? And have you ever felt that sense of rejection when a BFF got married?

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Friendship Fanfare

  1. Melinda

    I agree with you. Kids change friendships. When your married and childless, nothing really changes. I grew apart from some friends without kids just because sleep schedules and breast feeding just weren’t thier cup of tea. Babies are all consuming so it’s difficult to think of anything else when you have one.
    And my BFF and I do celebrate our friendship anniversary. Not every year, every 10 years. We are 2 years away from 30 years of friendship and I am so lucky to have her. We’ve taken short trips for the last 2 celebrations but we were both single and kidless then so I don’t know what we are going to do but I do know that whatever it is, we have each other and that’s all that matters.

  2. I love the idea of celebrating friendships, maybe especially because I’ve moved a lot and my dear old friends are so important to me. My college roommates and I do our best to get together every year and I think we should have a friendship anniversary party this year. We’re at 23 years now and I’m already imagining what we might do for our 25th!

  3. anon

    Actually, that’s exactly how I felt when my BFF got married. Perhaps you never experienced it because you’ve been with your significant other since you were 19 and so he is your BFF (I am perpetually single), perhaps its because my friend didn’t live with the groom before marriage, or that they had a quick engagement so there wasn’t time to adjust to someone else being more important to me, but I can tell you that my friendship with the bride did change. Suddenly I couldn’t call her past 10 pm. Texting’s out too because they’re trying to watch their money. And after 10+ of devoted loyalty and I can tell you anything, now her loyalty lies with her husband, and there are things she doesn’t tell me. Luckily I like the guy, but it did take us some time, and hurt feelings, on both ends, to adjust, and I have to say– things still aren’t quite the same, and I’m not sure that they ever will be.

  4. I have two best friends and we made a promise to always have a girl’s weekend once a year, no matter if we’re married, mothers, poor, etc. Last year they visited me in Chicago and in August we are going to San Francisco. It’s not exactly a friend-wedding, but it’s our celebration for our friendship and to always make sure we have time for each other now that we know lives are getting busier. It never used to be difficult to plan outings together when we all lived in the same apt. And my besties haven’t done the marriage thing yet, but if they mention marrying each other’s best friend in their vows, that just might sting a little🙂 But I’ll get over it. Congrats on your 19 year friendship!

  5. Love this! My BFF’s are scattered, but they are my declared true loves. We are coming up on 20 years next year (gulp!) and we’ve planned a trip already. Husbands on notice, they will be in charge of kids, and come hell or high water, our friendshipversary will be celebrated.

    Does this mean we get gifts?

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