In conversation with Kat Vellos
The Other Significant Others
Reimagining Life with Friendship at the Center
In-Person Event • Book Passage (SF Ferry Building)
Sun., February 25th • 3:00pm PT
From NPR's Rhaina Cohen, a powerful narrative on platonic partnerships and how the thrill, intimacy, and commitment we seek is often found through meaningful friendship.
Why do we assume romantic relationships are more important than friendships? What do we lose when we expect a spouse to meet all our needs? And what can we learn about commitment, love, and family from people who put deep friendship at the center of their lives?
In The Other Significant Others, Rhaina Cohen invites us into the lives of people—spanning age and religion, gender and sexuality and more—who have defied convention by choosing a friend as a life partner. Their riveting stories unsettle widespread assumptions about relationships and reveal how freeing and challenging it can be to embrace a relationship model that society doesn't recognize. And they show that orienting your world around friends isn't limited to daydreams and episodes of The Golden Girls, but actually possible in real life.
Based on years of original reporting and striking social science research, Cohen argues that we undermine romantic relationships by expecting too much of them, while we diminish friendships by expecting too little of them. At a time when many Americans are spending large stretches of their lives single, widowed or divorced, or feeling the effects of the "loneliness epidemic," The Other Significant Others challenges us to ask what we want from our relationships—not just what we’re supposed to want—and transforms how we define a fulfilling life.
Rhaina Cohen is an award-winning producer and editor for NPR’s signature narrative podcast, Embedded. Her work, often focused on human behavior, has aired on numerous podcasts and radio shows, including Hidden Brain, Invisibilia, Planet Money and All Things Considered, and her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New Republic and elsewhere. Cohen lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, friends, and her friends’ children.
Kat Vellos is a trusted expert on the power of cultivating meaningful friendships. She’s a speaker and author of the book, We Should Get Together: The Secret to Cultivating Better Friendships. She’s also the creator of the Better than Small Talk conversation cards and the Better Conversations Calendar. In her former career as a UX designer and researcher, she made software more user-friendly at large companies you’ve heard of, but she’s a lot happier now, helping people bring more friendship to their lives and workplaces. Kat’s writing is read in over 100 countries and she’s been interviewed by The New York Times, NPR, Communication Arts, The Good Life Project, and many more.
Rhaina Cohen photo credit Cassidy DuHon. Kat Vellos photo courtesy of the publicist.