You Gotta Have Friends - OZY | A Modern Media Company

You Gotta Have Friends

Friendship Pins
SourceKim Dietrich Elam

You Gotta Have Friends

By Sean Braswell


Because if your shoes had fewer than three pins, you’ve never gotten over it.

By Sean Braswell

Once upon a time, before you could “friend” someone on Facebook, you had to use more creative avenues for cultivating your tribe. Arguably, no group has conceived of more ways to dictate social hierarchy than preteen girls. America may have been battling a painful recession in the early 1980s, but for anyone yet to hit puberty, there was only one measure of real worth: the number of friendship pins dangling from the shoelaces of your KangaROOS sneakers. 

In the early ’80s, making friendship pins was like printing money in your garage.

Making friendship pins was like printing money in your garage. All you needed was a bag of tiny plastic beads and a bunch of small safety pins, and you were in business. But like all markets, friendship-pin brokering was dominated by the few, the powerful, the connected. For those kids who had the misfortune of owning Velcro shoes or not being in the It-girls’ good graces, the cafeteria was as forlorn as their unadorned Keds. And if you were caught attaching your own friendship pins in an effort to jump-start your popularity, there was a level of social hell reserved especially for you.

Ah, the sweet nostalgia of it all. So hey, the next time your daughter is bored, why not break out the Capri Suns, the beads and the safety pins, and tell her to start friending some real friends?

Top Image Source: Kim Dietrich Elam


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