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How could our society be better at accommodating friendships?


Holmbo
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Some of my thoughts:

 

Legal contracts of friendship

Marriage comes with a lot of legal benefits and protection. I'm not gonna list it all because I'm sure it varies a lot from country to country (for example in the US a spouse has much more rights and obligations after a divorce than they do in Sweden). If a pair of friends were allowed similar rights it would be a protection for people who value strong friendship over romantic relationships. There could also be other types of rights for friendships, like the right to take time of work to care for a sick friend or for close friends to be considered immediate family in different situations.

 

More inclusive child care

Many people experience a drop in friendship after having children. The time and energy to take care of a newborn or toddler leaves little energy for other things. There are also societal expectations that parents (women especially) should put the needs of their child above everything else. But what if we could enlarge the view of caretakers to include more people? Maybe everyone could be allowed a few days a year of parental leave for friends. So if your best friend had a baby you could take some time to help them and bond with the child yourself. Also friends should be allowed to take sick leave for each others children. If someone has a really important day at work in their kid is sick a friend could step in and take a day of to help them out. To widen the circle of people seen as care taker of a child would lessen the burden on the parents and create stronger emotional bonds between friends. This could also help promote gender equality by taking pressure of women to always prioritize their child, and women are more often single parents which would benefit even more from extra help.
 

I've focused primarily on legal aspects but of course there's tons of cultural aspects that could matter too. Like friendships being given more room in media.
In what way do you think society could be improved to better accommodate strong and lasting friendships?

 

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I love your childcare suggestions :)

 

What I would like to see more of is non-commercial public spaces that allow for people hanging out together in a less structured way than what's typically the case for adult group activities. Play spaces for adults ^_^ . As a kid I would play in the street with other kids all the time, but I feel like our society isn't really well set up currently for continuing with unstructured play activities into adulthood.

 

A couple of examples that might be nice for me are:

  1. More calisthenics parks (I recently decided to start with bodyweight training, it'd be cool if there was somewhere nearby I could go hang out with and learn from other, more experienced, people)
  2. Public places that just provide tables and tea/coffee facilities with board games, so you can just turn up and play with other people (maybe like a more general purpose version of the chess parks in russia?)
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I love these ideas, they are excellent!

 

I think that a big part of friendship is setting boundaries. We (in my educational experiences at least) learn a bit about being safe about making friends online, for example, and about consent and responsibilities in romantic/sexual relationships. It would be great to have more of that education when we're young, and more consistently over the years so people understand that making new friends requires different strategies as you get older. Something like assertive communication training could even help on a more general front.

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