In her latest book, You’re the Only One I Can Tell: Inside the Language of Women’s Friendships, linguist Deborah Tannen’s explores the notion that platonic relationships between women can be as fulfilling, and as frustrating, as their romantic counterparts.
Tannen demonstrates that “friendship and romance are not as mutually exclusive as American culture has portrayed them to be. That the language of romance can mirror the language of friendship—and vice versa,” says Garber.
In You’re the Only One, Tannen looks at the way women, across ages, races, classes, geographies and gender identities, relate to each other. and suggests that “friendships, like romance, can be fraught because of the same interplay between confidence and confusion that can make romance both exciting and, occasionally, excruciating,” notes Garber. In other words, platonic love, like romantic love, can be passionate, life-defining, comforting and sometimes heart-breaking.
Despite the stereotypes, female friendships are not any easier to cultivate and maintain than romantic relationships but they can be profoundly rewarding