Let’s Talk About It: Why Friendship is Special but So Complicated

Cait & Friends Episode #1: A discussion with my friend, April Ye about childhood vs. college friendships, what makes a good friend, and more

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Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

What friendship means to us:

Caitlin: Starting off in the deep end straight away, what do you think is the meaning of friendship?

“There is chemistry in friendship as there is in romantic relationships. We find it rewarding to learn that others like us and agree with us, and we tend to respond by liking those people back.”

-Lydia Denworth in her book Friendship

Why some friendships are stronger:

Caitlin: Why do you think we’ve been friends for as long as we have?

What causes us not to drift is we are on the same page about a lot of values.

You can have a lot of different experiences but our end goal, for example we are both career-driven, is similar. We can talk about that. We both have the same interests and want to better ourselves.

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Photo by Charlein Gracia on Unsplash

“Friendship has real power for kids. These are really very, very close and emotionally intimate relationships. And even if that particular relationship doesn’t last it has ramifications on subsequent relationships.”

— Lydia Denworth

Maybe in a friendship, someone has to take that extra step, and those extra steps get easier each time.

How we pick our friends:

Caitlin: I know we talk a lot about values, and for some people, values like religion or shared experiences like a similar upbringing (like ours of being Asian American girls raised in the Bay Area) make it easier to be friends.

Ever since going to college, there have been two types of friendships.

One is where you are in the same field and clubs, essentially out of convenience. That group has people who you seek help from and friendships can develop from that initial superficial motive. The second is you are not in the same field and you are purely bonding because you like each other. If you are in the same major, you might feel like you have to tip toe around each other.

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

What role do friendships play / Why should we care:

Caitlin: From what I see in our society, friendships are not valued as much as romantic relationships or family. It explains why some people disappear into their romantic relationships.

“For most of us, friendships are voluntary, personal, positive, and persistent, and they usually assume some measure of equality. Although friendship can encompass betrayal, jealousy, and other negative emotions, if we call a spouse or relative a friend, we do so to signal the quality of that relationship, its extra special character.”

— Lydia Denworth

Why it is harder to make friends as adults:

Caitlin: It will be harder to make friends later on in our adult lives. Everyone has a lot more going on. This is something I’m scared about especially because I’m moving to a new city post-grad, as you know. It is a lot less of people’s focus to make friends. When you’re little and even when you are in college, one of your main goals is to make friends. That is why people are more open to meeting each other.

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Photo by Ruta Celma on Unsplash

Why friendship is special & worth it:

April: Every single friend is special, even if you are no longer friends with them. Every person has helped shape the way your life has been up until this point.

There is no cookie cutter formula for why you became friends with someone.

Maybe you clicked because you have the same background, proximity, or another factor. And then you are friends until this day, sharing your perspectives on your lives. Bottom line: talking to each other and being in each other lives makes you happy, and that’s what friendships are about.

Poetry book “Under Clouds and City Lights” publishing April 2021

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