Our Best Friends Are Our Soulmates
Over winter break I was deep in the midst of a Sex and the City binge (I know, guilty pleasure television at its finest), following a girl gang living glamorous, kickass lives in ‘90s New York City. In this episode, Carrie turns 35 and is contemplating the idea of “soulmates.” Can people have more than one? Is there truly only one person out there waiting to spend the rest of their life with you? After all her friends fail to show up at her birthday dinner due to a surprise re-paving of 5th Avenue, she feels so alone without that one person. The four women wind up at a coffee shop and as Carrie exposes her feelings, Charlotte, a firm believer of “the one” says, “Maybe we could be each other’s soulmates. And then we can let men be just these great, nice guys to have fun with.”
Needless to say, I was shook.
I thought about this notion for days. Maybe it was the gnawing feeling of separation from my friends during the break. Maybe it was my own saccharine nature (it’s not my fault I’m a Libra). Maybe it was a combination of both. The bottom line: I am in love with my friends. I mean this platonically, of course, but that doesn’t make it any less precious and life-altering than a romantic relationship.
The term “soulmate” has such a romantic connotation in the first place. It has been built up throughout centuries of human existence to find some sort of explanation for that lifelong love and connection that seems to have materialized out of thin air. To get a deeper sense of what I’m talking about, let’s look at history. The concept of the idea that is the “soulmate” dates back to the days of Plato and Socrates, specifically in Plato’s Symposium, a collection of speeches by different philosophers and other men of stature drinking after a banquet one evening. The particular speech I’m referring to is that of Aristophanes, a comic playwright. He tells a tale of humanity existing as three genders originally: “man,” “woman,” and “androgynous.” They were these round beings made up of four arms, four legs, two faces, and two sets of genitalia. Essentially the “men” had the traditional male genitalia, the “women” had female genitalia, and the “androgynous” were made up of both. They possessed great strength—so great that they attempted to attack the gods. As punishment, Zeus decided to split these humans in half so the gods could continue to reap the fruits of sacrifice and praise, without the risk of being overpowered. This spurred the creation of the modern-day human. We are two parts of a whole, and are searching for our “other half” for our entire lives until we find them and “embrace” to somewhat return to that four-armed, two-bellied monster state.
I know this is a myth. But the fact that it is a myth explains the magical, magnetic quality that soulmates possess. It almost feels spiritual—like they were placed in our lives at a specific time for a reason. There are some things we truly cannot explain, and I like to attribute that to fate.
Speaking of fate, I met my best friend, Khadijah, freshman year. We were randomly selected as roommates, and at first I thought she was just that—a roommate. But soon enough, we grew close. She and I quickly came to the realization that we shared similar interests, behaviors, and preferences. Truly a match made in heaven. We knew when and how to discuss issues with one another—if we ever really had issues besides whose side of the room was getting too messy—and could spend hours together talking endlessly about our classes, what our families were bothering us about this time, or what Kylie Jenner had done as of late. We could even just sit in complete silence with each other and neither of us would consider it dull. We became attuned to each other’s needs and it was never a problem accommodating one another. It was comfortable. And it still is. She is the person I am the most myself with.
This is the first full school year that I’m not living with her and both of us were uncertain of where that was going to take us. Neither of us are very good at texting back in a timely manner, which was never an issue before, but it was a bit worrying seeing as we weren’t living in the same room, or suite, or even building for that matter, anymore. We were almost an hour’s commute away on the T, consisting of two train transfers, which is crazy to think about. I thought that this might have been the end of an era, but it has proven to be quite the contrary—she and I have never been closer. We run into each other everywhere now, with the same exact Starbucks drink in hand. We are able to pick up where we left off, and have a three-hour conversation about everything and nothing. Somehow almost all our issues and experiences are the same. At the end of the conversation, it feels like we’re clean and calm, ready to take on whatever life throws at us until we see each other again. It’s like our souls never left each other.
So the theory was true to my friendships, but I wanted to ask others if they believe in platonic soulmates. I talked with Journalism major Sam Mangino ‘18 and Political Communications major Willa Bogoian-Mullen ‘19, best-friends and self-proclaimed “skincare soulmates.” They first met in Fundamentals of Speech Communication.
“I told this horribly embarrassing story which literally put everything out there about myself for everyone to see; and that was a really brave moment for me—to do that in class. Willa told me that was the moment she wanted to be friends with me,” Mangino recalled.
When asked what they think about the word soulmate, Bogoian-Mullen responded, “There’s no awkward getting-to-know-you stage. We’re already on the same page, the same wavelength, on all things.” She turned to Mangino, “It’s like, ‘Oh, haven’t you always been there?’”
It’s that feeling of belonging, not necessarily belonging to each other but rather belonging with each other. It is a comforting thought that bonds like these last forever. Even after long periods of time, as their lives and environments change, nothing really changes between those two souls. That is when you know you have found a soulmate.
Our friends are such an essential part of our existence. They help us grow to our fullest potential and support us through everything. They are our kindred spirits who somehow understand our eccentricities and flaws, but go a step further to also embrace them. It’s pure love—there’s no other way to put it. The relationship that spurs from that instant connection feels so random, but is still somehow part of this great, cosmic plan made just for us. It’s like we were walking the earth looking for parts of ourselves and we actually found them.
Photos by: Lily Walsh