Esther Perel’s secret to making—and keeping—lifelong friends


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Esther Perel turned 60 years old last year. A luminary of sex and relationships, Perel celebrated the milestone by hosting a straight-up fabulous party. She didn’t fill the room with just anybody, though, she explains to actor Alia Shawkat in the latest episode of Death, Sex & Money. A thoughtful, well-curated guest list included a few major players from every decade of life.

“It was an amazing experience of integration to have all the worlds of my decades come together in one place and meet,” says Perel. “I have many long-standing friends its not just one or two, I have friends from every place where I’ve lived and every decade.” Perel’s inner-circle is a commingling of individuals, each of whom serves as “signposts” or “markers” for the major moments of life.

By bringing together everyone under one roof, Perel enjoys both the present company and the flood of memories from the life she lived in her teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. “It’s just really interesting to have that perspective,” she says. “I think we move so much these days [that] we sometimes move so fast and we don’t necessarily have the long history, the continuity, the longform narrative of people who remember you decades before.”

“I have many long-standing friends. It’s not just one or two, I have friends from every place where I’ve lived and every decade.” —Esther Perel

In addition to her commitment to lifelong friends, Perel looks to younger generations for companionship as well. (Me! Pick me!) “I’ve been making friends with people who are younger than me, too, and I learn so much,” she says. “I have a lot to teach them.”

Of course, the ultimate goal is to find yourself under the wing of someone like Perel. But if that doesn’t happen, take with you this nugget of wisdom: Shiny new friends are great, but celebrating the beginning of each new decade is made all the more fabulous by maintaining relationships with those from childhood, college, and your very first job.

If you’ve reached your mid-30s without a romantic relationship, that’s totally normal. Dating changes with every passing year.

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