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An Analogy about Friendships and Audiobooks


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I was thinking about something completely unrelated to aromanticism today, but then I realized that it does intersect with how I experience attraction and prefer to value my platonic relationships...

I was listening to an audiobook where the narrator explained that there were beautiful illustrations in each chapter, but unfortunately, we wouldn't get to see those in the audiobook recording.  I was upset, because there are ways to include supplementary PDFs for audiobooks and also to feature image descriptions, both good ways to work around the medium and ensure that both physical readers and audiobook listeners get an equal experience.  (This is how I feel about romance, when my friends seem to value their romantic partners over our friendship.  It upsets me that romance leads to a "more immersive" experience and that my friendship with them will get "left behind" and not given the same decorations.)

But then, as I continued with the audiobook, there were at least a dozen moments where the narrator would presumably deviate from the script and be like, "Alright, so this is an exclusive for you audiobook folks."  And it would be something where the narrator would get to use her accent or do different voices.  And sometimes, she would laugh and say, "I never expected that I'd have to read this sentence out loud," or she would add a warning, like, "There is a hidden acrostic poem here that might be hard to notice if you don't have the page in front of you.  So pay careful attention to the first letter of each sentence, starting now."

Moments like these made me feel seen and much better overall, because it stopped me from viewing the audiobook as "the physical book with less features," but rather as "the physical book with different features, some removed and some added."  I feel like if I could view friendship like this audiobook, then I wouldn't be so anxious about my friends getting romantic partners. 

Of course, there's still the problem of one format being societally preferred to another (in this case, romance/physical books over friendship/audiobooks).  But if my friends with romantic partners not only told me that our friendship was unique but demonstrated this by making space for me in a different (yet still elevated) way, then I think that I would feel less abandoned and left behind overall.

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