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Investing in each other

Cover of Big Friendship: How We Kee
A review of Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman

This is a tribute to one of society's most enduring yet under-recognized relationships: female best friends. Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman met at a Gossip Girl viewing party when they were in their mid-twenties and struggling to start their careers. They've seen each other through heartaches and heartbreaks, job triumphs and disasters, health scares and holidays. More than a decade later, these are their stories of real-life and recognizable female friendship. I saw myself in their stories and if you've been nurturing your own big friendships, you will, too.  

I have big friendships from different stages of my life that require varying levels of investment. My childhood best friend and I email (yes, we email, we're old) nearly every day. My summer camp roommate and I have lived in the same town off and on over the last thirty years and mostly text. We were catching up a couple of weeks ago and realized we hadn't texted since March. Pandemics are tough on friendships!  My college roommate and I have lived in different states for all but 2 years since college but try to get together once a year. My work best friend and I are in touch sometimes 30 times a day. Thank goodness for that! I work in a weird and wonderful place.

Maintaining what the authors refer to as a big friendship takes time, energy, acceptance and forgiveness. The authors point out research about familial bonds and romantic relationships and how they differ from big friendships, while diving into history and social norms and everything in between. If you are a woman and you have friends, this book is like meeting a friend for a drink or coffee and just soaking each other up. If you are a woman and you don't have big friendships, reading this book may give you the courage to try. Sow and Friedman coined the term "Shine Theory" to describe a commitment to collaborating with rather than competing against other people, especially other women - "I don't shine if you don't shine."  I love this! We can all use a little more shine, right?

Sep 2, 2020