Study Guide

The Interestings Friendship

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There would be no pairing off this summer […] and though in some ways this was sad, in other way it was such a relief, for now they could return […] and take their places in that perfect, unbroken, lifelong circle. (1.200)

Think about the ways romantic love completely pushes friendship to the side in this book. Are there any times the two enhance each other?

After the tension of the class, Jules welcomed […] the pleasure of sitting across from Ash with no one else around. (4.18)

It seems like a lot of Jules's friendships are based on being the one-and-only. She craves this primo spot in other people's lives.

Jules and Dennis wondered at their own mutual fog of sadness, which was poignantly so much sharper than the affection they'd ever felt for Isadora Topfeldt back when they actually were friends with her. (4.59)

Here it seems like Jules and Dennis are sort of romanticizing Isadora—they didn't like her much in life, but now that she's gone, they're all bummed out. In this, we can see them both liking the idea of friendship more than the actual friendship itself.

But Cathy was also their friend, and even though she occupied a slightly odd role in the group […] she was one of them. (8.13)

If Cathy's an odd role, what are the other people's roles? And how is Goodman not an odd role?

Jules was much more critical of Ethan; she was the one who told him when something he'd come up with was a poor idea. (10.71)

Despite the weird half-love relationship, Jules and Ethan have one of the better friendships in the book because they're honest with each other (except about Goodman).

Sometimes Jules and Ash shared a fantasy of having children within months of each other so that they could be mothers together, and their kids could be friends—best friends. (11.153)

Sometimes this works out—people's kids become friends—but more often than not, parents liking each other has little bearing on whether their children do, too.

The girls did become friendly […] but they were so different from each other that a close friendship between them eventually was more of a gift that they tried to give their mothers. (13.67)

Okay, so we know that Ash and Jules wanted their daughters to become friends, but it turns out there's no other reason for them to do it. Instead, their attempts at friendship are kind of like gestures of friendship to their mothers.

Since having children, not only didn't Ethan see Jules as often as he used to but he hardly ever saw Jonah at all. (14.7)

Pro tip: When you have kids, the friendships that might have taken center stage in the past are quickly pushed to the sidelines. It just happens.

Jules stared at her, and as she did, the woman's face seemed to reveal its younger self, and Jules thought, I know you. This was another so-called sighting. (17.26)

A whole lot of time can pass, but it's still possible to recognize friends from different eras of our lives when we cross paths with them. Or so seems to be the message here as Jules recognizes her former campmate.

They slapped backs again in that awkward way of middle-aged men who ache to hug but have already hugged too recently. (19.31)

Just hug already, you two. Ain't no shame in the needing a hug game—that's what friends are for.

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