“Adult friendship”—wanting it, cherishing it, navigating the complexities of it—has been a fixation, directly and indirectly, on Man Repeller since the early days. This is true for a lot of websites that cater to women’s interests, but Man Repeller takes it to another level. Whenever I’m asked to point to something that makes this website different from the others, the thing I point to is Jenna Birch’s essay “A Case for Trying (Really) Hard to Make Friends as an Adult” in which the comments were exuberantly transformed into a message board for community members who wanted to hang out in real life. (Maybe you were part of it?) I think that post, and how it took on a life of its own, is one of the best examples of Good Internet I’ve ever seen. It was a moment when people collectively harnessed the technology that has in many ways made us lonelier to make it more like what we were promised it would be. Even looking back at those comments now, nearly two years later, fills me with optimism and other fuzzy emotions.
But making new friends as an adult is not always such a jubilant endeavor. And why is that? We’re born knowing how to make friends in the most basic sense. When do we forget it?
The “making” friends part isn’t even the half of it, of course. And the next leg of the relationship process, I think, is where adult friendship diverges from the friendships we had as kids. As adults, our lives actually begin to conspire against friendship. This is for the simple reason that adult friendships have to contend with the stuff of adulthood—career, family, and other random administrative duties that are too boring to list here. But even though our lives are fuller, we don’t need friendship any less. Don’t believe me? Ask a trusted adult. But I doubt you need to.
So, this month we’ll be exploring many aspects of adult friendship. Including, but absolutely not limited to:
-Making new friends (in group chats and public restrooms)
-How to avoid a friend breakup (and what to do if it’s already happened)
-Friends who are (or seem to be) polar opposites
-Teen friendships in the digital age
-Fictitious friends, ranked (why not?)
As for that “absolutely not limited to” part… we want to know what you want to read and discuss ad nauseam. Let us know in the comments, would you?
Graphic by Coco Lashar