We all know that you don’t need a romantic partner to be happy, but we all do need love.
On International Women’s Day, author and journalist Dolly Alderton lists the five essential relationships all women truly need to feel nourished, loved and fulfilled. Whether you’re single or with a partner, one person can’t fulfil every friendship function. From the one who offers you comic relief to the one who shares your passions, these are the men or women you shouldn’t be without.
1. The work ally
If you work in an office – you’ll need this person more than, say, a working stapler or knowledge of how to change the printer cartridge. They make something that is often quotidian and repetitive feel enjoyable and fun. They’re your comrade, your champion; your tea-maker and your biscuit-saver and vice versa. If you’re freelance – this person is the one who explains tax brackets to you and helps you word angry emails to accounts departments who have paid you late and suggests a “work day” together (afternoon of drinking beer with your closed laptops displayed on the table in a token way) when you both have been indoors with no contact with humans for four days.
2. The “how about that chord progression on track five” friend
They share the same passion as you and no level of discussion or analysis is too hair-splity for your time together. Your obsession is collective and therefore twice as monomaniacal. You go to Korean romcom season at The BFI together, then hurriedly and breathlessly discuss every frame afterwards through mouthfuls of burrito. You take your guitars on a five-hour train journey from Kings Cross go to a pub in the valley of a remote Yorkshire countryside to attend a tribute festival of your favourite deceased folk musician. They’re your partner in fandom and you don’t know who you’d talk to about all this stuff if you hadn’t met them.
3. The “but how many glasses are actually in a carafe” friend
She’s always up for meeting at the pub, even on a Monday night. She’s your go-to girl for a new experience or for meeting new people. And crucially – she’s non-judgemental. You have a phrase you say: “this is in the vault”, in reference to anything you’d tell her that you wouldn’t tell anyone else. You know the vault is locked with a padlock only she can open and it’s always joyfully flung open at around glass of rose number three to chuck another shameful secret in, bringing a great sense of catharsis.
“She knows the name of every childhood pet you owned and the side of the bed you sleep on”
4. The one who you laugh with
You can go back and read your Whatsapp message history when you’re down or can’t get to sleep, like it’s the favourite and funniest comic novel. You send voice notes to each other, doing impressions of your driving instructor or your boss or a candidate from an Apprentice series from five years ago who, for some reason, you still both find funnier than any Live At The Apollo comedian. You read these messages aloud at dinner parties or forward those voice notes on to other friends, because you can’t help yourself and want everyone else to benefit from this comic genius that is this specific friend of yours, but it no one ever gets it. And when something bad happens to you, you can latterly always find a slither joy in thinking of the funniest part of the disaster to tell this friend over dinner at the weekend.
5. The long-term love
A friend who knows and loves the very bones of you. You speak in short-hand. She knows the name of every childhood pet you owned and the side of the bed you sleep on and the sandwich you pick up at Pret. She’s your history and your future; she’s the route back to yourself.
From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK