I think about my best friendship as a great romance of my young life.―Lena Dunham
I just got off the phone with one of my close friends. As I hang up, I take notice of the high I’m feeling simply from the richness of the conversation I’ve just had with her. The kind of high one would experience when they have exchanged sweet nothings with their lover. All the intimacy my heart constantly pants and yearns for has been satisfied in that one phone call. I felt seen, I felt validated and nourished in ways that I’ve doubted could be possible in platonic contexts. Almost a week later, this very same friend sent my way a late birthday delivery that had me in tears because of the intentionality and thoughtfulness of the gifts.
This is one of the many moments where I have been thoroughly breath taken by my friends. My friends have loved me so wholeheartedly and romanced me in the most surprising of ways. My heart has been so filled in my friendships in ways that my romantic relationships are yet to fill. Looking back, I can confidently say that there has been so much romance in my friendships. And yet, for some strange reason, I always placed romantic love on the highest hierarchy of love.
Finding Love in Unexpected Places
I think we miss out on experiencing all the love there is to experience in this world because it does not come in our most ideal packaging. We are constantly putting a magnifying glass on the love we lack rather than the one we are already blessed with. And then wonder why our lives feel so empty. We don’t get to know the full spectrum of love and romance because we draw lines as to where and how it can be encountered. I mean, all the ways that I have always desired for my life partner to love me? Are the very same ways that my friends have loved and shown up for me.
My friends have taken me on spontaneous food dates. It is friends who have sent me unsolicited bank deposits just to treat myself. It is friends who have also sent me long and thoughtful essays and emails of how much I mean to them. Or spent hours and hours just to talk to me over the phone. It is in my friendships that I have been invited to sleepovers where we would have intimate heart-to-hearts from evening till the breaking of dawn. So much love, so much romance in friendship that I have found.
So, I was wrong. Romantic relationships are not the pinnacle of love and romance. If anything, I believe our friendships set the tone and standard of how we are to be ultimately loved in our romantic unions. It’s in friendship where we learn how we are meant to be celebrated by our lovers, while simultaneously learning to not ever accept anything less than how we have been loved and romanced by our friends.
On one of our mother-daughter road trips, my mom and I were talking about friendship and she was relating to me a story about a small weekend getaway she planned for one of her best friends for their 40th birthday. I think that Friday she had taken a day off from work to make sure that everything was perfect and set for her bestie’s weekend surprise. My mom had booked a weekend stay at a 4-star hotel for both of them. To top it off, my mom even took her bestie shopping as her “official” birthday gift. It was a weekend of catching up, laughter, lots of food and spoils. All expenses paid for by my mom. In my head I was like: talk about my mom being friendship goals.
Friendship Goals and Making Friendships Great Again
Relationship goals are great but I think friendship goals should be a thing too. We need to stop sleeping on our friends and all the love we can experience and give through them. We need to start giving the same energy to our friendships that we do in our romantic relationships, as both hold the potential for our most transformative encounters with love.
I do not know why I have always believed that all my hopes and dreams for love will be realized and materialize only when I get to find that ultimate soulmate and companion to spend the rest of my life with. I do not know why I was convinced that romantic relationships will always be superior to other relationships when it comes to romance because I have been loved in the most thrilling of ways in my platonic relationships.
We are missing out on so much love, so much nurturance because we still hold on to the idea that it is our life partners and romantic soulmates who hold the key to unleashing on us all the love and romance we have ever wanted…
Looking in retrospect, all the ways I thought my husband will ultimately love me are the ways that my friends have loved me. Looking back now, I realize that truly, there is romance in friendship and even though I do not yet have the romance of my dreams, I am waking up to the reality that I keep seeing different faces of true and deep love with my friends and the people life brings along my path.
I think it is time that we give friendship the respect and nurturing it deserves. How long have we put our friendships on the line for our romantic pursuits? How long have we sacrificed our friendships simply because we have found lovers that need more of our love and affection? We are missing out on so much love, so much nurturance because we still hold on to the idea that it is our life partners and romantic soulmates who hold the key to unleashing on us all the love and romance we have ever wanted in this world.
And when I say there is romance in friendship, I mean that every relationship we have with people, whether be it with friends, strangers, family and colleagues, can show us different facets of love that we would have never known otherwise.
May we open ourselves to experiencing love in its fullest measure and finding it in the most unexpected places. Romance is everywhere, only if we care to open our eyes to it. May we never miss all the romance that this world has to offer us.