This post is Grassroots, meaning a reader posted it directly. If you see an issue with it, contact an editor.
If you’d like to post a Grassroots post, click here!

October 22, 2023

Everything I know about friendship I learned from romance novels.

Photo by mododeolhar on Pexels.

I have always loved a good meet cute. But more than that, there’s a romance trope I love more than all the others: the flashback scenes. My favourite trope is best friends turning into lovers, and being that I was constantly in LUV since the age of 11, this appealed to me the most. In every one of those books, the hero or the heroine finally realise that the person they want most of all is the one beside them. Of course, we see this in Clueless (I am a child of the 90s and saw this at many sleepovers), but for me, the place I saw it most was my beloved collection of cheaply printed Sweet Dreams books, their white covers adorned with titles like Addicted To Love or Love In The Fast Lane.

The running joke in my family is the amount of times I’ve fallen easily in love, although no one has dared to joke about my divorce. Do I give my heart away too quickly, or do I just love people too much?

I said people. Because as much as I love romance, some of my favourite meet cutes are how I met my friends.

I met my first best friend on the first day of primary school, we monopolised the tiny cement tunnel in our playground and talked all the way through lunch break.

I met one of my best friends on a tram in Melbourne (although to be fair, it wasn’t random, we were in the same group). I didn’t know if she was a boy or a girl for almost a full 24 hours but that didn’t matter, we liked the same music and that was it.

I met my BFF on the first day of college, where she explained to everyone she was constantly (although never intentionally) late to everything. 18 years later this wasn’t a lie. Despite trying to hold an intervention on the lateness thing (after all, I am a Capricorn), we remain friends, even after taking different paths in life. One day the BFF and I decided that we were sick of our nerdy blokey friends and that at the next group outing for college we would not, under ANY circumstances, hang out with them. Of course, we are still very good friends with these blokey friends (and ended up being voluntold to hang with them at the next outing).

One of my best friends and I met really awkwardly on a train and she thought I was really weird because I was explaining I had to do a mystery shop. Why I would travel for two hours for a $12 mystery shop is beyond me, but maybe its the best $12 I’ve ever made. It’s a better story when she tells it.

In high school I met my best friend when he decided that I was a total dork and he spent the next two weeks shoving my RipCurl pencil case off the table and teasing me about boys and my lack of taste in music.

I love all of the stories.

I LOVE them.

And we tell each other these stories all of the time. And other people hear these same stories, over and over again. Despite knowing my besties for half of my life, we still tell those same stories from the first few years of friendship. Only the other day the BFF and I told each other the story, again, of how a mutual friend wrote a long unrequited letter and poem to her, of how I discovered it, and how we try to solve the ‘problem’. We still gossip about things that happened back when The OC was in its heyday, as if these events happened last week instead of in 2005.

Friendship, at its core, is really about wanting the best for people you love. I can’t always tell whether a friendship will work out or last the distance. For a long time I used to think friendships were for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, but I know this: there’s no real end to a friendship. Even after that person has left your life, or your time together ends thanks to college ending, or leaving a job. My life long passion for romance has taught me so many things, but one thing that crosses over so well is the ability to be reminded of someone you cared for through the smallest things: a daggy pop song on the radio, a certain flavour of crisps, a joke, a pun they liked the best.

When I think of the romance tropes: the enemies to lovers, or the love triangle, or even the marriage of convenience; they all have something similar to say. Close proximity helps lovers understand one another better, but the choice of continuing to say yes to them when you no longer have to is where the love happens.

There’s no secret to falling in love, or friendship, but the one thing I can tell you is don’t ever be afraid to waste time with a friend. Sit in bars, drink cheap wine, or being the designated driver, or the wingwoman, or sit through a cheesy comedy flick, or go to something they are hosting. Just be present. All of these tiny little moments add up to something amazing.

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Lisa Birch  |  Contribution: 1,130