Time for something a little different on the blog. I want to occasionally explore the themes and things I research in the stories I'm writing. This month I look at the topic of friendship with the help of some writer friends. If you'd like to chime in on the theme or have something to say regarding friendship please feel free to comment.
First up, a talented teenage writer from the In the Jungle blog: Riley Redgate is a a bookstore-and-Starbucks-dwelling 17-year-old writer, devourer of books and destroyer of grammatical errors. When she’s not making up things or viciously slicing words, she plays the piano, sings through books of Broadway music, and pretends to be other people onstage. She spends a lot of time dreading college applications.
And without further ado, here she is:
I'm super-excited to be the first guest poster in the friendship series! You see, this reaffirms my belief that I have friends.
Oh ho ho, self-deprecating humor.
Anyway! I'm here today to speak/discuss/babble on about types of friendships. I felt the topic would be fun because, for the most part, I feel I can categorize my friends rather clearly.
In my experience, there are six types of friends. These six types aren't mutually exclusive, for the most part - for instance, a friend could be a 2 with a dash of 1, or a 6 with a large helping of 2. My favorite types of friendships to read about, in fact, are ones that grow and evolve, passing from one type to the other:
1) The Funny Bone
What keeps you and this friend together are your identical senses of humor. Topics of great weight and gravity almost never appear when you and this friend converse. Perhaps this is intentional; perhaps it is not. Nonetheless, the plain and simple fact is that if this person weren't hilarious, you likely wouldn't have passed the stage of acquaintanceship.
2) The Shoulder
Dependency is the glue holding these friends together. In this relationship, inevitably, one friend will end up ranting to the other about some issue that irks them that day, some problem they've been dealing with, some issue in their personal lives. The unhealthy version of this friendship is the One-Sided Shoulder, in which Friend A is constantly leaning on Friend B without reciprocation or care for Friend B's circumstances.
3) The Coincidence
When you met this person, you thought, Whoa there! Where have you been all my life? It seems odd that you and this person should meet, let alone get along well. Maybe you are an athlete, walking by the theatre arts building, and you bump into a theatre kid. You have little in common. Yet your personalities gel so well that you have no choice but to end up buddies.
4) The Ex
...well, this is awkward. You and this friend used to be so close. What happened? It could have been a fight, or a vocal falling-out. Perhaps you just drifted apart. In any case, the most you can seem to exchange these days are pleasantries, though you know if you really needed help this person would still be there for you. An oddly-nuanced friendship, this one is.
5) The Incidental
You are friends by association. Perhaps you have a friend in common, so you learn about each other, and you wouldn't be averse to hanging out. But not alone. That would be too much for this chill, laid-back friendship. In high school, this could be known as a 'classroom friendship' - a friendship that never leaves the school building.
6) The Golden
There's something special about childhood friends who have lasted the test of time. Oftentimes, you've been so much a part of each other's lives that you act oddly similar, speak much alike, think the same thoughts at the same time, or are just plain inseparable.
Depressingly enough, I find many of my friendships leaning toward the Shoulder. Not that that's a bad thing - we all need to vent, and apparently many of my peers are simply brimming with vitriol. (Just joshing. ...sort of.)
When it comes to writing friendships, it's easy to fall into the trap of making every friend a Funny Bone. Interactions are easier this way, passing, cheerful and not too deep. Honestly, though, if all a character has is Funny Bone friends, they probably feel very alone. Only being able to show a cheerful face around someone is a restriction, not a boon.
Worse, though, is reading about a main character who is the 'taking' side of the One-Sided Shoulder. If the MC is constantly whining to his/her buddy, and never listens to the buddy in return, the adverse effects are twofold: 1) The MC comes off as a jerk. and 2) The buddy will come off flat. Because no one can absorb negativity endlessly without wishing they could gain something in return (I know - I've been there!). The friendship will implode. Kabooooom.
What type of friend are you? Do you have any other types to add to the list?
Here's hoping your friendship doesn't Kabooooom!
Thanks again for having me on your blog, Clipper!