[Best Friends Forever] Because this is my best friendship
by Guest Beanie
As I grow older, friends become harder to find and harder to hold onto. With the internet, connection feels simple, yet our physical time together is short. I am easily drawn to plots with longtime friends or longtime best friends who become lovers, the ultimate fantasy. While neatly fitting into the realm of possibility, close friends from childhood is something I don’t have. On a lonesome night, rather than fretting over weekend plans or moping over the lack of having anyone to call over immediately, I’d rather cozy up to and somewhat vicariously live through drama relationships.
Because This Life Is Our First develops the three women’s friendship extremely well. From their backstory, we see that Su-ji joined the group at the end of high school. Through an amusing sequence of events, Su-ji and Ho-rang lose their grudges and get along. After a decade of friendship, each one has a close bond with the other two. As I’ve grown older, I’ve struggled to hang out with my friends as a group. We opt for smaller meetings whenever one or two of our schedules align. Similarly, there are moments when Su-ji and Ho-rang sometimes walked together to Ji-ho’s workplace at the coffee shop. Or Ji-ho and Ho-rang drank together at Ho-rang’s place while Su-ji was still at work late at night.
Their respect for one another shines in various moments of the show. When Ji-ho suddenly announces her wedding to Se-hee, instead of guilting her for not keeping them posted about every detail in her relationship, they were supportive and anxious about her sudden decision. At one point, Su-ji becomes aware of the contract, but rather than feeling betrayed and angry that Ji-ho hid something from her, she discusses the situation with Ji-ho and respects her choices.
In high school, they share their dream in life. Though all three have different goals, they can accept their friend’s different view on life rather than forcing each other to conform. Often we seek out people who reaffirm our beliefs and follow similar paths to us. The characters, often with Ji-ho’s narration, are given moments to talk about their desires and intentions. After a nauseating hangout with some married friends, Ho-rang tells Ji-ho why she wants to get married so badly. As Ji-ho sees Su-ji fervently answering a client’s call late at night, she recalls Su-ji’s desire to work for herself.
Even with their differences, at their core each of them wanted to make a small difference in the world in a way meaningful to them.
Thankfully the writer didn’t put their friendship in a bubble. Ji-ho, Ho-rang, and Su-ji visit their married college friends at different points of the show. In Episode 2, they attend a schoolmate’s wedding during which the topic of work comes up. While they fawn over Su-ji for her fancy job, Ji-ho and Ho-rang are overlooked and step out to comfort each other.
When they meet up with those friends again later in the show, the ladies fawn over Ji-ho since she is now married and automatically considered one of them. But she spends the aftermath comforting Ho-rang and contemplating why she suddenly felt accepted by the women who scorned her before. I connected with those scenes, because at times my friends and I have felt detached from others at large gatherings. We find ourselves clustering together in a corner or stunned over the abrasiveness of an interaction.
The male characters also had their own group of friends. They sought each other out for relationship and career advice, which added to the vulnerability that the show tried to capture. I was happy to see male characters who weren’t intentionally jerks and weren’t intentionally haughty and standoffish. Sang-gu’s sometimes deep, sometimes wildly inaccurate dating advice for Won-seok and Se-hee cracked me up, while depicting how friends try their best to help but may not always have the right answers. While the bond between the Dating, Not Marriage team was not as strong as the trios, they brought a sweet workplace vibe to the show.
Often Korean shows focus so much on the events leading up to the union of the main couple that friends, while warm and meaningful side characters, are left as just that, side characters. Sometimes they become just comedic filler or the reliable shoulder for the main character to cry on. Because This Life Is Our First goes beyond and develops the family, work, and personal lives of Ji-ho, Su-ji, and Ho-rang. Most importantly, their friendship, regardless of their uncertainties, secrets, and clashes, continued to grow. Through them I got to experience multiple friendships and the warm communion of diverse human beings.
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- [Theme of the Month] Best friends forever
Tags: Theme of the Month