A close friendship is one of the most influential and important relationships a human life can contain. Anyone will tell you that! But for all the rosy sentiments surrounding friendship, most people don’t talk much about what it really takes to stay close for the long haul.
Now two friends, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, tell the story of their equally messy and life-affirming Big Friendship in this honest and hilarious book that chronicles their first decade in one another’s lives. As the hosts of the hit podcast Call Your Girlfriend, they’ve become known for frank and intimate conversations. In this book, they bring that energy to their own friendship—its joys and its pitfalls.
Aminatou and Ann define Big Friendship as a strong, significant bond that transcends life phases, geographical locations, and emotional shifts. And they should know: the two have had moments of charmed bliss and deep frustration, of profound connection and gut-wrenching alienation. They have weathered life-threatening health scares, getting fired from their dream jobs, and one unfortunate Thanksgiving dinner eaten in a car in a parking lot in Rancho Cucamonga. Through interviews with friends and experts, they have come to understand that their struggles are not unique. And that the most important part of a Big Friendship is making the decision to invest in one another again and again.
An inspiring and entertaining testament to the power of society’s most underappreciated relationship, Big Friendship will invite you to think about how your own bonds are formed, challenged, and preserved. It is a call to value your friendships in all of their complexity. Actively choose them. And, sometimes, fight for them.
Sow and Friedman, cohosts of the podcast Call Your Girlfriend, debut with a chatty exploration of the benefits and challenges of female friendship. Sow and Friedman describe "the spark" of their initial meeting at a mutual friend's party in 2009, when they were both in their 20s; how shared projects and an easy, constant flow of communication led to the deeper bond of "chosen family" and the philosophy of "I don't shine if you don't shine." But even as they launched a podcast based on their "Shine Theory," the pair were going through a period marked by miscommunications and the challenges of long-distance and interracial friendships (Sow is black; Friedman is white). Reevaluating the "story of sameness" of their earlier bond, Sow and Friedman enlisted a therapist to help them sort through their issues not a viable strategy for all, they concede, but an action that reaffirmed their mutual commitment. Though they put their own relationship front and center, the authors incorporate research from social scientists and anecdotes from other people's lives. Readers whose own "big friendships" aren't as inextricable as Sow and Friedman's may balk at their insistence on, say, coordinating outfits (they call it "frog-and-toading"), but this entertaining outing shows young women how they can empower and sustain each other.