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That's What Friends Are For-Making Friendship Happen Rather Than Hoping To Develop Friendships

The Atlantic March 25, 2022 |Family|”A Creative Solution to ‘the Friendship Desert of Modern Adulthood’” “I knew many old couples who had happy and loving arranged marriages. I thought, If it worked for them, why couldn’t it work for friendship?” Interivew-based article by Julie Beck

Read The Atlantic for all the details of this article which is part of a series of publications “The Friendship Files”

Summary by 2244

Image from WIX.COM

The article features a woman, Ari Honarvar, who being familiar with arranged marriages in her culture from Iran and being frustrated with the inefficiency of making true friends in the traditional American way out in Southern California, reached out to others in her informal network with the proposal to commit to being part of an arranged group of committed friends.

Reflecting back on nearly four years revealed that strong friendships developed fast as the arranged “friends” found themselves surprisingly open to share deeper feelings etc. early on. For some, though, it was quick and easy to see it wasn’t a fit but otherwise the group has remained at eight members with some going and coming from RELOs etc.

Excerpts Paraphrased or Quoted. Much more detail in the article.

The author, Julie Beck, interviewed three friends, “Jessica Harmer, 47, an artist and state-park employee…Oceanside, California, Ari Honarvar, 49, a writer who lives in San Diego [and] Carolyne Ouya, 30, a nonprofit program developer who lives in San Diego.

Q: Origin of the idea

A: Ari…moving to CA “with my husband and my six-month old, I really struggled meeting friends.” Besides talking about kids “I wanted something else to talk about, I was like Where’s my village?[As in villages in Iran where marriages are arranged.] “I knew many old couples who had happy and loving marriages [In Iran], If it worked for them, why couldn’t it work for friendship?’

Q: “Carolyne and Jessica, what was your reaction when she [Ari] brought [this idea of arranged friendships] up to you?”

A: Carolyne I got the idea that it would be an intimate women’s group…I was “sort of disconnected from people [at the time]...It felt like a safe place for me to build new relationships…showed up and I’ve been there ever since.”

Q: “Friendship can take so many different forms. So how did you decide what your arrangement was going to be?”

A: Ari “I gathered people at my house for the first meeting, and we had a commitment ceremony. We vowed to be ideal friends to one another, to be honest, loving, and to share any misunderstandings with the other person so mending could occur. We vowed to work through things rather than just end our friendships.” They try to meet once a month and “renew our vows once a year, at least.”

Q: “What was the emotional experience of starting as strangers who committed to be friends, and the evolution as you actually got to know the people you committed to?”

A:Jessica “It was really hard for me in the beginning. I would try and talk myself out of going every time. But I was like, You know you’ll feel better if you go. And I would show up.” After six months I was no longer trying to talk myself out of going.


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