Last year, our columnist Sophie Mackintosh wrote about the concept of platonic intimacy, calling attention to the way friendships and other forms of not-explicitly-romantic relationships occupy an odd place in our culture: “prized, but quickly devalued,” is how she described it. “We understand friendships are important and necessary, while also often holding the engrained belief that romantic intimacy is the one true, ‘real’ intimacy, and all else is a substitute.”
Perhaps the issue is semantics. After all, there are many kinds of romance and it’s only an easy assumption to strictly associate them with romantic love. We heard anecdotes from members about meeting new friends and finding community through Feeld, and were often struck by how sweet—downright wholesome, sometimes—their encounters were. They also described sexy, silly, supportive relationships, drawing a portrait of all the different emotional registers that are possible in any encounter. As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, we wanted to highlight those stories and show how much friendship matters, now and always. Loneliness is a crisis, and alienation comes for us fast. Staying open to all forms of intimacy can be a powerful way to take care of ourselves, and in taking care of others we can unlock all kinds of surprisingly complicated, even contradictory, ways of giving and receiving love. Also, as Briana or Jenny found, it could involve pinball and vegan macaroni.