Friendship At First Sight

Ann Friedman believes in not just choosing your friends, but actively courting them:

[M]ost of our courtship narratives are still romantic, which really tends to obscure the importance of friendship’s early stages, and downplay the thought and skill that goes into cultivating meaningful platonic relationships. We tend to second-guess ourselves when we feel that jolt of friend attraction.

A woman I know who recently moved from Houston to Los Angeles was telling me about a woman she met and really wanted to befriend.

“It seems like she has so many friends already though,” said the new girl in town. “Do you think she’d mind if I asked her to hang out?” “You have to ask her!” I said. I have heard many women describe the first time they met a friend and just knew they were destined for years of inside jokes and hang times on the couch and late-night party antics.

“Nearly all friendships are based on a spark of mutual attraction. Some people describe platonic love-at-first-sight stories, wherein they were instantly drawn to a new acquaintance and just knew they would befriend her,” says Carlin Flora, author of Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are. Still, she says, “We often drift into friendships, especially when we’re young and in a work or school setting that makes it easy to automatically ramp things up without having to make a concerted effort to develop the friendship. The main point of my book is that we should be more conscious of how and whom we befriend, since these people have a huge impact on our life trajectories.”