6 Forces That Fuel Friendship

Two Men before a Waterfall at Sunset, 1823 by Johan Christian Dahl

Two Men before a Waterfall at Sunset, 1823 by Johan Christian Dahl

“People are at their most generous, their funniest, and their most fascinating when talking with and about their friends.”

"The friendship files" is a series of interviews done by Julie Beck.

From 100 conversations with people talking about friendships, she believes that the six forces that help form friendships and maintain them through the years are: accumulation, attention, intention, ritual, imagination, and grace.

  1. Accumulation
    • time spent together is the most obvious force: it takes 40-60 hours within the first 6 weeks to turn acquaintance into casual friend, and 80-100 hours to become more than that
    • “Being around someone 24 hours a day, you tell them everything, ... You don’t do [that] when you are home.”
  2. Attention
    • there are more opportunities than you think to make friends
    • “You have to look for friendship in places you would never expect it.
    • pay attention, notice when you click with someone, be open to chance encounters, step out of your habits and into the moments
  3. Intention
    • you need action, when opportunity arises, have the courage, vulnerability, and willingness to let things be awkward.
    • friendship takes energy and thought; they take work. showing up for your friends take effort, but it should be joy.
  4. Ritual
    • have something baked into your schedule so all you have to do is show up
    • book clubs, monthly hikes, dinner parties, group chats than run all day, etc.
  5. Imagination
    • society places friendship on the sideline, it's playing supporting roles to work, family, and romance; design your life so friendship plays the role you want
    • ex: buying a house together, going therapy together, raising their children together, friends are people who choose to love each other radically every day.
  6. Grace
    • the previous forces are ideas, they're impossible to fully live up to. life gets in the way
    • friendship is flexible, it can bend to fit the shape of our lives.
    • it doesn't always have to be about presence, it can be love that can weather absence
    • the concept of grace: a gift so profound that it can never be earned or deserved
      • offer forgiveness to each other when we fall short
      • create a space for connection, and reconnections, that feel nothing short of miraculous.