Emotional neoliberalism can’t be praised any longer
There’s no such thing as emotional neoliberalism, it’s a term used in my circles, so I’ll try to introduce it with a proper definition:
Creation of relationships that are only worth investing in if the benefits you get for your own are greater than the inversion in time, emotional involvement, and affection you pour into them.
We know relationships are hard, we have already been bombarded with “10 tips to have better relationships”, “How to get out of a toxic friendship”… But what about how do we choose to create relationships?
Boyfriends and girlfriends you can tell them to fuck off, but friends are a long-term commitment. You have got to stick around in their shittiest moment if you see a spark of the chance they will get over it. Or perhaps not, perhaps you should flea relationships as soon as they become slightly dysfunctional and it’s way too much energy to work on them.
To me there are two types of friendships: the ones that are your family, those are the ones that follow you on the daily, the ones you go to their home when you want to snuggle in a sofa and become a vegetal for a day, the ones that know your first crushes and tease you on that. You might not have much in common, but there has been a willingness to be in each other’s lives and they are still around. The second type is the friends you’ve picked and chosen, the ones that are sort of “your tribe”, that type of people you speak the same language with and wonder if you were siblings and one of you got lost.
Obviously, categories are flexible and a friend can slide from one to another, share most traits from one but lack the full description. Perhaps you have different categories because you don’t keep around friends from your childhood or perhaps you are still looking for your tribe (or you don’t desire such a thing). You know, labels serve to organize so it can then be unorganized again. But meanwhile, you got a space to think through what was going on.
We are here to talk about the former. The friends that are your family. You’ve known them forever, they’ve made fun of your most glorious moments and seen you at your most vulnerable. And odds are you don’t like them that much. I mean, you didn’t really choose them. If you met them at school you had a relatively close circle of people from where you could pick and choose.
Perhaps friends are not perfect nor they are making us achieve all we can. But we should wonder whether this is reason enough to ditch them. They aren’t giving you tips on how to write, invest, or workout, sure, but perhaps there’s something left that makes it worth it to have them around.
There’s something odd here, we are very convinced that buying a house is a safe investment. Well, a house is worth something if there’s someone that wants to buy it if there’s somewhat of a scarcity of it. A house can disappear in the snap of a finger. Same with bitcoin investment, same with your startup, same with your savings. Why? Because they all depend on other’s interests and that’s deeply volatile.
However, there’s one way to fight this volatility: through stable worked on relationships. Sure, some friends come and go, but there’s something more important than your work ethic: your relationship ethic.
Being an absolutely flawless friend -while living room for when you just can’t and you need to prioritize yourself- is a good way to fight life’s stability. Yeah, no it’s not hippie babble, stay with me here. How do you survive Covid? Sure money helps, while essential, it can only give you so much. There are needs only relationships you’ve made grow and take care of can handle.
And here we go back again with the concept introduced: emotional neoliberalism. On your own, you won’t go that far. Finding people worth walking with is hard, true, but essential. Perhaps you don’t find them straight away, well, start wakling and keep reaching out, you will find someone eventually.
Sometimes relationships won’t bring much back, but they still help us solidify the notion of a strong relationship ethic, they help you become someone that takes them seriously and priorizes that.
And you know what? Going vegan, drinking water, working out, and meditating can only help you live that many years, without a surrounding that grounds you it’s hard to reach life longevity.