Everyone is suddenly romanticising 'soulmate friendships'. They're bulls**t.

Thelma and Louise.

Romy and Michele.

Monica, Rachel and Phoebe

Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda

If we believe what our favourite fictional women tell us about female friendships, it’s that we have to be “ride or die” - quite literally in Thelma and Louise’s case – to have a true bond.

We’re told that a best friend is someone who will answer the phone in the middle of the night. 

That they will drop everything and run to your side the moment there’s a minor inconvenience or an unexpected sighting of an ex (I’m looking at you, Carrie).

Watch: Scarlett Johansson and the cast of Rough Night talk about female friendships. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

A true friend will never let her responsibilities – like a demanding job or looking after children or a doctor’s appointment she booked months in advance - get in the way of giving a friend her undivided attention. 

Of course, we know this type of friendship isn’t really accurate.


Real women have their own problems to deal with. 

They turn their phone on flight mode at night to stop themselves mindlessly checking Instagram in bed (guilty). 

They take three to five business days to reply to their friends’ texts.

But until recently, we’ve always been happy to suspend our disbelief while watching our favourite films or series so we can enjoy seeing these characters support one another. It shows us the type of friend we aspire to be - and the type of friend we really are on our best days. 

But lately, those unrealistic expectations are bleeding more and more into the way people are representing their own friendships online. 

It’s no longer enough for romantic relationships to be given the Hollywood treatment of an adorable meet-cute and a fairytale existence where they live happily ever after, but now we’re also expecting our friendships to live up to the same - very unrealistic - standards.

Suddenly, every second video I see on social media is from someone boasting about their ‘platonic soulmate’ or ‘soul sister’.

It’s usually two young women jumping in the ocean, or twirling around with each other in the rain (is water the key to female bonding?) talking about how lucky they are to have found someone who never judges them and is never too busy for them. 

“From the very first day we met, I knew we would be friends forever. An infinite friendship, soul connected,” said one particularly gushy video. 


It's a lovely sentiment. And if you have a friendship like this, I suggest holding onto it for dear life because it's incredibly rare and special.

But this type of expectation results in one thing: it makes most of us feel like sh*t friends. 

Because the truth is that for the majority of us, our friendships are incredibly important to us but they’re not perfect. 

Real friends move away. 

Grow apart. 

Have disagreements.

Come back together when their life stages align.

I have a childhood friend who I had barely spoken to in years, not for any particular reason other than that we lived in different states and were at different life stages. 

But when she let me know she was pregnant, it was suddenly like our lives came back into sync again. 

Having had my own child two years earlier, I could encourage her and share words of comfort along the way. 

Do I feel guilty that we let the friendship lag for a few years in the middle while we were both wrapped up with different careers and different partners? Absolutely.

But does it make either of us a bad friend? No. 

During those years, I know if I had reached out wanting to talk, she would’ve been all ears. And I would’ve absolutely done the same for her. Sometimes knowing that is enough.


Listen to this episode of No Filter where Mia talks to author Kayleen Schaefer about her book, Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship. Post continues after audio.

Friendships are allowed to ebb and flow as time goes by and we shouldn’t discount the worth a person brings to our life just because they are not at our beck and call at every minute of the day. 

Perhaps it’s that this type of friendship can only exist in a moment in time, in your late teens or early twenties when there’s no other pressing responsibilities. 

My friend put it perfectly when she referred to the main characters of The Bold Type - a Stan series about three best friends working at a magazine in New York.

“They’re all best friends and there’s never any disagreement and they're by other’s side at all times,” she said. 

“But people don’t do that. People just don’t put that much effort into being your friend.”

While of course it isn’t the case for all women, getting into romantic relationships and having children can also make maintaining the closeness they once had in friendships tougher.

My sister-in-law regularly tells me I seem to have “too many” friends. And she’s right.


Between work and family, I sometimes struggle to keep up with the texts and catch ups. 

I want to be in the group chat firing off witty banter all day long, but it’s just not possible.

But I do make them a priority in my life because I couldn't bear to let those bonds fade away. 

So when we can afford it - and when we can manage to coordinate our diaries - we escape for a weekend away and treat ourselves to spa treatments and cocktails without having to scream ‘don’t eat that!’ at a toddler in between sentences.

But it happens in little glimmers of time in between the other “stuff” of life.

And it doesn’t make us bad friends if we’re not in constant contact between these times.

My purpose is not to diss these young women celebrating their close friendships. Quite the opposite. 

We need to truly value the friendships we have by being more realistic about what we expect from them. 

Because when we present our friendships through a picture-perfect lens, all we’re doing is putting out an impossible standard that makes other women feel more alone. 

Feature Image: Max.

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