Two best friends. One has chased professional success; the other, human connection. Both paths have exacted a price, including their long-term friendship. To help them find their way back, Esther unlocks internal dimensions that need healing.
Episode 1 of Seasons 5 of Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel brings together two sons of South Asian immigrants, both raised in the South, to see where their long-term friendship started to take a turn. Something happened in their friendship that expressed an internal conflict that became a relational conflict so that each of them became the representation of the part that the other one was struggling with and felt ambivalent about.
In Friendship - My Reliable Gift, Esther helps two best friends voice, for the first time, the long shadow of class, religion, culture, profession, and gender eclipsing their relationship and shines a light on a ritual of reconnection.
What to listen for in this episode of Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel:
- Friendship is a uniquely free choice relationship. It's a relationship that is mutual, reciprocal, and it's very difficult to be the friend of someone for whom we are not the friend.
- Everyone has questioned their friendships, at some point in their lives. What does the term “best friend” mean to you—are they your oldest friend, or the one with whom you share the most today? When does a friendship outlived itself?
- Speaking your truth to someone close to you can be uncomfortable. It can cause you to speed through your revelations or avoid them altogether so you don’t say things that would hurt or annoy the other. When anxiety begins to physically manifest, remember to slow down, take a deep breath, and listen in return. Reset and repeat as needed.
- If we dig deep, we might discover that an estrangement with a best friend says more about a part of us that we struggle with or disavow than about the friend themselves. When does distancing ourselves from parts of our past also mean creating a distance from parts of ourselves?
- A classic dilemma in friendships arises between the individual goals and the friendship bond. Do you see your relationship with your best friend at odds with your goals of personal achievement? What does it look like if we look at our friendship as a way to energize us in our pursuits rather a restriction?
- Even the most natural and secure friendships need intentional attention given to them. A ritual can act as a promise to show up for your friendships. What ritual would you want to practice as a “reliable gift” of best friendship?