Sunday Edit: Line Jensen – about friendships

Are you familiar with Line Jensen? Perhaps you know her artistic style from Instagram (@linejensenillu)? Line Jensen is an illustrator and captures everyday situations on paper with a pencil, situations most of us (especially those with energetic children and tired partners) can relate to.

Line Jensen has recently released a new book titled "Min fine ven" (My Fine Friend), dedicated to friendships. The book draws inspiration from Line Jensen's friendships and is accompanied by her lovely illustrations. There's also space in the book for you and your friends to write about your relationships.

Today, we're talking to Line Jensen about friendships. Why are the people we bring into our lives essential for our well-being? Line Jensen has pondered this question, and here are her thoughts.

Why are you interested in friendships?

"Friendships are such a lovely, unproductive, useless thing that I took for granted until I suddenly realized how much I needed them. Suddenly, I was being consumed by small children, renovations, relationships, relocations, and all the chaos, and I hadn't had time to laugh with my friends for a long time. I missed that a lot."

What did you do about it?

"Two years ago, I went on sick leave due to stress. A significant realization in that process was that for too long, I had only prioritized things on my to-do list that were strictly necessary – picking up my kids, shopping, and things I wanted to achieve with my work. Friends were cut out because there wasn't time for them. But there is time. You must insist that there should be room for them. On the other hand, I've tried to insist on not working as much as before. It has been tough, both because I love to work and because a huge part of my identity is tied to my work. It's incredibly anxiety-provoking to try to let go."

So, you work less to have time for your friends...?

"Yes, and I just closed my web shop and store (in Nansensgade in Copenhagen, where the pictures were taken, ed.). A year ago, my family and I moved to Møn, where it's cheaper to live than in Copenhagen, so I don't need to earn as much money. I hope to continue seeing my friends more – and I'll have time to write some longer stories, immerse myself."

What is the recipe for a good friendship?

"There's no recipe for that. Each friendship needs to find its own recipe. There are friends you go out to eat and drink wine with, and that's lovely, but it's also nice to have someone who can tolerate having laundry piled up and kids running around your legs. Both exist in my life, and I appreciate both. Friendships can exist in many different terms. That's what makes it exciting but also challenging. Friendships can be complicated. We can disappoint our friends. There's often an imbalance, where one wants the friendship more than the other. There can also be an acceptance that some friendships belong to a specific time, but that doesn't mean it wasn't important. Friends help define us."

How are you as a friend?

"I'm the kind of friend who is very present where I am. I can forget for years to reach out to my friends. On the other hand, I'm a very nostalgic friend. I'm good at reminding my friends, 'Hey, do you remember when...?' and asking, 'Should we meet for something?'. That way, I've kept old friendships alive, even if some years have passed. I've often been too absorbed in myself and my own life. I'm very grateful that my friends have still caught me when it mattered. I have yet to improve at that myself. And there's also something about me being busy making new friends in all the contexts I've been in. Some of my old friends have struggled with that. But that's just how I am. So, if you want to be friends with me, you must take the whole package."

How do you make a new friend?

"It's about being open to the people you meet. But it's also annoying because it's about taking the time for it, stopping for 10 minutes, and chatting. I still make new friends through my work, through the children's school, and my neighbors on Møn have also become my friends."

What's the most important thing you know about friendships?

"I don't know if I know it, but I have a physical sense that if I didn't have my friends, I would forget to breathe."