8 Books I Love About Female Friendship

It’s been a hot minute since I read a book I felt absolutely compelled to tell everyone about. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read some GREAT books this year. The Shadow of the Wind was my faithful and beloved companion throughout China and a pure delight from start to finish. But Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendships spurred in me an entirely different type of book love — the type where I found myself striking up conversations with strangers on the subway just to tell them about this book. It not only compelled me with its writing but it felt like someone was telling, and celebrating, my own story within its pages and how often does that happen?

In Text Me When You Get Home, journalist Kayleen Schaefer writes about society’s changing perspective of female friendship from casual, catty interactions to life defining relationships. Schaefer shares her own experiences of shying away from female friendships growing up because of the perceptions she was saturated with by the media that female friendships were dramatic, emotional, and backstabbing (something I definitely relate to). There was more of an importance to be “one of the guys.” But in her late 20s, after breaking up with her boyfriend of nine years to chase her career dreams, Schaefer learned just how important her female friendships were as they evolved into her chosen family. At its core, this novel begs the question: What if we stopped treating friendships as the side relationships in our lives and treated them with the same sacredness we would a familial or romantic relationship?

While the novel is centered around female friendships, I think it’s a must read for anyone of any sex or gender because at its core, Text Me When You Get Home is a love letter to the friendships that give our life shape and color and support. It’s a validation that the way we chose to prioritize and navigate our adult friendships, with loyalty and unconditional care, is completely worthwhile. From the first paragraph, I was texting my best friends copies of this quote:

“Text me when you get home. Usually it’s late when women say this to each other, the end of a night that at some point felt thrilling. We might have been at dinner, a concert, a cocktail. We might have been just hanging out talking even though we knew we’d be tired the next day. Maybe we shared secrets or surprise compliments (or both). Maybe we danced. Maybe we hugged with total joy. Maybe we were buoyed by booze or maybe we just felt light because of our love for each other. My best friend Ruthie, who lives a few blocks from me in Brooklyn, and I say it to each other after these kinds of nights. “I love you,” one of us will say. “Text me when you get home,” the other will say. We’re saying the same thing.”

I mean, COME ON! MY HEART! And that was page one! I don’t have a book in my apartment more highlighted and dog eared than this one because it gives words to all the ways I feel about my friends. For those I’ve been friends with now for 5, 10, 15 years, the word best friend no longer feels big enough. They’re my family or rather, my fate mates — a term I made up to describe the people I believe I was meant to know.

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Must Be Love on the Brain: The Chemistry of Crushes

Looking into my crush’s cinnamon brown eyes, I suddenly realized he had asked me a question, a question which I had not heard because I was so engrossed in the symmetry of his face.

I had two options here: I could either assume the identity of a rational human being and ask him to repeat himself OR I could attempt to outrun the blush heading north from the base of my neck and just say any answer that came to mind. Caught in the eye of a dopamine tornado, I chose the later option hoping that my crush had asked what was holding up the salad line. He had not and what started as just an awkward silence quickly turned into a confused awkward silence broken up occasionally by a lunch order.

I wish I could tell you this was an isolated incident. That outside of this one crush on a California boy, who at the time had been assigned the desk next to me, I was the Lady Casanova of crushes, just collecting heart eye emojis with my continuous talk of consent and graphic novels. But the truth is, I don’t crush crushes, crushes crush me.

I still remember my first crush: Justin Fishman, kindergarten. Everyday I would attempt to sneak closer to his assigned seat on the show-and-tell rug only to be deterred by the exasperated questioning of my teacher. I learned quickly that a Fishman and a Lanning would never work due to the long distance imposed by an alphabetic roll call. 

Later there was Sammy Maxwell, the boy who asked me to the sixth grade dance. There was Aaron Lee, the red headed boy with the bright blue shoes, and Richie the tuba player who I wrote love letters to in high school. There was my freshman dorm mate who’d never been kissed, the writer-turned-gamer in my English seminar with surprisingly broad shoulders, and the friend-of-a-friend obsessed with Groupon. There was the guy whose voice sounded similar to Snuggles the Bear and the former rugby player; the musician who after our first date I blurted out, “Can I put my face on your face?” and later, the coworker who looked like Daniel Dae Kim — to name just a few. 

Over the years, my crushes have been diverse in their interests and backgrounds, but unified in their effect, turning me from a semi-stable human being into a puddle of goo. Even at 29, with two IRA accounts and numerous long term relationships under my belt, I still find myself barely more equipped to handle a crush than my braces-clad 7th grade self. 

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29: The Year of More

To give you an accurate picture of where my brain is at right now, I’ve been waking up every day for the past week wide awake at 3:30am thanks to jet lag. And what I’ve learned during those especially early mornings (besides the fact that this trip to China was totally worth all the sleepiness) is that there is nothing really like Marie Kondo-ing your entire apartment before the sun rises. Sure I almost fell asleep standing at the cross walk yesterday but at least my closet is now organized by color.

These past two weeks traveling around China have been some of the most memorable of my life and while I can’t wait to share all 1493 photos with you, tales of the trip will be coming in another post because today we’re talking about BIRTH-DAYS. Well, not all birthdays, let’s not be crazy. Today we’re talking specifically about my birthday because another turn around the sun always leads to me asking some big life questions like, “Why do people like having birds for pets?” and “What would Harry Potter’s therapy sessions be like?”

On the day of my actual birthday my family and I were attempting to hold our own within the  massive crowds surrounding the Terracotta Army when my mum asked me what my resolution was for my 29th year around the sun. Now, if there is anything that makes my heart beat out of my chest in a flurry of happiness, it’s a good list — bonus points if it’s a list of resolutions!

Surrounded that day by 2,000 years of history and tradition, I assumed I’d be hit with something really profound to guide my new year. But just like reaching the top of the Great Wall of China and comically finding a man in a white tank top sitting under an umbrella with a megaphone selling ice cold beer, this year I decided that instead of letting my perfectionist tendencies run rampant, I was going to keep it simple. This year my mantra is: More.

Hear me out.

Like many people — which may or may not include yourself — I naturally navigate my life using a less mindset. I need to spend less, I need to stress less, I need to be on my phone less. I want to procrastinate less, spend less time in the office, be less in my own way about writing and working out and traveling. On most days I tend to focus solely on the things I am not, or the things I’ve yet to accomplish, or habits I’d like to break, which means my waking hours contain a lot of self criticism in the hopes of self improvement. It also means I rarely appreciate who I am in the present moment and I’m sick of it people!

There is a balance here I’m hoping to achieve between appreciating the present and striving forward. And if any zodiac sign can try and figure out this contradiction, hopefully it’s the Geminis. So in celebration of turning another year older, here are the 29 things I want more of this year.

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