• Editorial: Love, and Friendship, are in the Air!

    Happy Hearts and Hooves Day! I didn't want Princess Cadance to have all the fun, so it's time to review season 8 relationships.

    When it comes to relationships, everyone is quick to jump to their favorite romantic ship, as they should. This is your day to sail away. We got two episodes dedicated to confirmed couples and, like them or not, they are shaping the personal character development of some of our favorite little ponies.

    MLP:FiM is of course centered on friendship and season 8 came with quite a few important relationship-building moments. Friendships were tested, families questioned, and harmony stretch! Before we end this day, let’s look back on some of the prominent relationships this season, shall we?

    The Student 6

    When talking about relationship development, it would be a crime to leave out the student 6. The dynamic of their friendships have gone through a lot of twists and turns this season.
    From confessions to fighting to save Equestria, this group is able to be vulnerable and stern with each other.
    From learning more about their cultures to developing a stronger understanding of friendship, this group has overcome a lot to continue as friends.

    It's worth noting that this group of friends may actually be the first to explore deeper relationships between species. While we did have an integration of buffalos and ponies in Appleloosa, most cities featured in MLP are strictly pony societies. The student 6 demonstrate friendships that most Equestrians have never, and may never, consider.

    Happiness is a group of friends that embrace each other's differences and views them as strengths.
    Building a relationship with others who are different from ourselves is no easy feat. There’s plenty of room for misunderstandings and offense. These creatures take it all in stride and they did so in a very public way. All of Equestria is learning from them.

    They have had to trust in friendship, something all of them are still learning to do, in order to survive both emotionally and physically. The accomplishments they've made together will forever change how they, and those who know them, interact with different creatures.

    Spike to Smolder

    A chance to learn and teach; these two have a relationship that allows them to do both.
    Spike grew up in pony society and didn't spend a lot of time with dragons. This season he has been able to learn not only culture but also biology from Smolder.
    You should fear dragon puberty, Spike. 
    Even though Spike has met other dragons and even developed a friendship with Lord Ember, his relationship to Smolder is the most continuous and interactive friendship he has had with another dragon. Their interaction throughout the season is helping to shape both Spike and Smolder to better understand who dragons are and how they are able to behave.

    It may look like Spike is learning here, but Smolder is having a chance to practice a level of empathy her home doesn't always value.
    Spike is learning the traditional roles of being a dragon while Smolder is seeing that dragons can be more than what she's been taught. I can't stress how great friendships built on teaching each other can be. These two get to help challenge each other to become some creature better.

    Scootaloo and RD

    Redefining relationships can be a nightmare.
    As Scootaloo grows she’s going to meet many more individuals that will spark her curiosity the way RD once did. By nature of their more sisterly relationship, Scootaloo is going to stop seeing Rainbow as a celebrity. Their relationship is changing and while Scootaloo still looks up to RD, becoming closer to her has dulled her hero-worshiping tendencies.

    It’s easy to idolize or show-off when you’re not super close to someone, but the more familiar we become with someone the easier it can be to take them for granted. We've all had relationships that started one way and ended another. Luckily our pony 'sisters' know how to keep their bond strong.

    Look at these two, acknowledging that they've hurt each other. Such Growth!

    They are always willing to be quick with an apology. Time is going to change how they relate to each other, however, that isn’t a challenge these two can’t face. Any relationship that last long enough will go through a period of change.

    Sunburst and Starlight to their parents

    The is no relationship with more expectations than that of a child-parent one.
    The love parents feel for their children should never be neglected. Sunburst and Starlight have two parents who love them very much, but they don't seem to see eye-to-eye. They want what’s best for their kids and they see no reason why their little bundles of joy haven’t sored to great heights.

    Family relationships come with plenty of expectations and thus plenty of opportunities for disappointments.

    For Starlight and Sunburst, it's been easier just running from the conflicts in these relationships. In fact, most of their lives they've run away from the broken relationships they didn't want to face. Seeing as parents are some of the first relationships a pony can build, their reconnecting show just how, though hesitant, dedicated to healing both Sunburst and Starlight are.

    When family members feel they don't live up to the unreasonable expectations of others, it can be hard but not impossible to build a truthful relationship again.

    Big Mac and Sugar Belle

    Sometimes a look says it all, that's why you should yell confusing words to ensure miscommunication.
    Why are they significant when we already know they are a couple? It's because they almost broke up, and by almost I mean they did. For a show predominantly built around friendship, having characters struggle through romantic issues is worth noting.

    Dealing with conflict and miscommunication is important for any form of relationship. Big Mac and Sugar Belle have endured a disaster that most relationships don't survive. Moreover, their relationship demonstrates just how much our personal relationships aren't personal!

    Spike: Trust me, Discord's been trapped in stone for 1,000 years and I'm a child, we're experts in love. 
    The relationship between these two was much impacted by their friends’ opinions. No relationship happens in a vacuum and it will be influenced by the company kept. I loved that Sugar Belle spoke with Mrs. Cake about her exciting news because I see a parallel between the Cakes and Big Mac and Sugarbelle working relationship.
    Mrs. Cake: Trust me, you'll have enough miscommunication with the need for ominous words and inflection. 
    Both Big Mac and Sugar Belle consulted with their friends and took their words to heart.

    Also, they have a deep respect for each other enough to not only develop a love for each other, but also a working relationship that benefits both their talents.

    Teamwork makes the dream work . . . or at least makes this wagon work . . . with just Big Mac fixing it.
    Being in love is great, but finding a partner that wants to support you through the day to day is soooooooo much better.

    Maud and Mudbriar

    I wonder just how often these two have smiled like this in their lifetimes.
    Despite the expression "opposites attract," there is a lot to say about relationships built on similarities.

    Maud and Mudbriar really do make for a good couple. They have found somepony with whom they can share their unique passions and be completely understood for how they feel and think about it.
    There is something special about finding someone who understands your unique interests. So cute?
    I'm happy Maud has found somepony she can fully express her calm energy with. Think about it, Maud is actually an oddity in her family as much as her perky pink sister. Even though her family likes rocks too, no pony in her family is quite like her.

    When the Maud Couple first aired I was confused that Maud hadn't told anyone in her family she was dating yet, until I remembered how emotional her sisters are (happiness, anger, fear) it makes a lot of sense that upon finding somepony who shared her more stoic outlook on life that she may not be too quick to involve the high-energy of her sisters.

    I do wonder if the Pairing Stone is in agreement with these two becoming so close. 
    I'm assuming their relationship is getting quite serious. Though they may not seem too interesting to us, it’s plain to see there is a comfort in this relationship that Maud hasn’t found elsewhere.

    A healthy relationship is one where both parties feel comfortable being themselves with each other. Our lives are full of relationships that drain us in some way or another (yes even we extroverts get drained); there is a deep joy in being with someone who accepts you and the way you think, behave, act, etc . . .

    There are plenty of great moments during season 8!

    I know I didn't even begin to touch all of the major relationship points in season 8, but I hope this got you thinking.

    It is so easy to take for granted how precious even friendships can be. Hearts and Hoove's Day may be celebrated for lovers but friends, parents, mentor, and even background ponies play such an important part in other's lives. 

    Even if you don't have a special 'somepony' this year, I encourage you to spend this holiday reflecting on all the happy and healthy relationships you've been able to build. Let friends and family know how much you appreciate having them in your life and think up some ways you can continue improving your connections. 

    And, as always, if I left out your favorite relationship building moment, there's always the comment section! Happy Valentine's Day too!