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Best Friends Forever: The Implications and the Impact

Riva Pomerantz

Way back in kindergarten, we first discovered the concept of a best friend. As we grew, the definition shifted and changed, but the craving for companionship never diminished. How do married women define “best friend”? Does friendship harm or enhance their marriage? What’s the potential? What are the pitfalls? A fascinating exploration of friendship and its interplay with marriage.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Friendship is everywhere we look, an aromatic perfume that permeates every crevice of life with richness and meaning. There is friendship on that street corner, where two girls, heads together, whisper secrets. There is friendship in that playground where a group shares snacks and chats about an upcoming test. The women on the park bench are enveloped in the robust cloak of friendship as they compare babies’ feeding schedules and Shabbos menus. In the bungalow colony, at the supermarket, and in the retirement home, laughter rings out and sober confidences are acknowledged. No doubt about it: Friendship is irrevocably knitted into the very fabric of existence.

In early elementary school, friendship is pretty straightforward: we play, we fight, we make up, we save each other seats on the bus. As high school beckons, identities develop, homework and tests pile up, and fragile emotions become more brittle, friendship escalates to a different realm, becoming at once confusing and all-important. But even the challenging teenage years are no match for the new dimensions that marriage and child-raising bring to friendship. Now, even the best of friends are faced with a fresh interloper — a husband and, G-d willing, a family, potentially throwing the whole equation off balance.

How do busy wives and mothers manage close friendships? Do they invest time and energy into rearranging their schedules to accommodate friends, or do they opt, instead, to shelve deep friendships for a later date, when the nest is emptier? What are the payoffs at either end of the spectrum? In this journey to the center of female friendship, facilitated by women across the globe, the responses and approaches vary, but the consensus does not. Women of all ages and stages constantly ponder friendship, whether it’s a struggle or a salvation. And often the same friendship provides both. Simultaneously!

 

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