'I knew that I had her in my corner.'

Yesterday was my best friend's birthday and my baby's first birthday! What could be more perfect than celebrating two of my favorite people in the entire world on the same day? When I first told Kelly I was pregnant and due in February, she immediately said, "That baby is going to be born on my birthday!" I was due on the 12th – right in between my own birthday (the 1st) and Nick's (the 29th). I figured the baby would arrive on a day all his own, but she always he would arrive on the 7th. And she was right. (She always is. Except when I am.)

My friendship with Kelly has been one of the very best things to come out of blogging. I will always be glad that talking about books on the Internet led me to her. I have been lucky in my life to have wonderful friendships. Some have lasted for only a season and a few ended dramatically, but I have learned something from each and every one. While I didn't love everything about Big Friendship by Ann Friedman and Amintou Sow, this quote stood out to me:
If you prioritize only your romantic relationships, who is going to hold your hand through a breakup? Relying on your spouse to be your everything will definitely undo your marriage. No one human can meet your every single emotional need. If you only prioritize your kids, what happens when they’re grown and living far away, wrapped up in their own lives? Or if you only prioritize work? Wow, that’s too sad to even contemplate.
In honor of my bestie's birthday, I decided to share my favorite female friendships in books and what they taught me about friendship. And since her birthday is the 7th, I've naturally got seven besties to highlight:

1. Lily and Trix in Pretty Face and Making Up
“Whenever I need help, you're there. It was one really shitty page in what I hope is a very long book for both of us.”

The Lesson: Celebrate the friend who can forgive you and "stretch" with you as life brings changes that shift the foundation of your friendship. Whether it's a bad boyfriend, a new job, or a big move, the best friend sticks around for all of it. Find someone who, like Lily, says, “We're forever, you and me.” And means it.

2. Kristin and Sloan in The Friend Zone and The Happy Ever After Playlist
“My job is to help you with your crazy. Make you the best, most magnificent crazy you can be.”

The Lesson: Never let go of the friend who knows exactly what to say to make you flustered, joins in your crazy scheme, gives you a pep talk, and isn't afraid of a hard conversation or a little tough love. The friend who's been licking the inside of a chip bag with you since sixth grade and is willing to put on a disguise to spy on your ex.

3. Laurie and Emily in If I Never Met You
“Laurie had thought Dan was the source of unconditional love in her life, but actually it was Emily: she wasn't going to turn round and say sorry, she'd found a new Laurie.

The Lesson: A good friend will tell you it's a bad idea to fake a relationship with a co-worker, but a best friend will approve of the plan once she vets his attractiveness. And if your friend confesses that she's afraid a man won't love her if gets to know the real her, it's a great time to remind her: “But I got to know you, and only loved you more.”

4. Anne and Diana in Anne of Green Gables
A bosom friend — an intimate friend, you know — a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I’ve dreamed of meeting her all my life. I never really supposed I would, but so many of my loveliest dreams have come true all at once that perhaps this one will, too. Do you think it’s possible?”

The Lesson: The best friends balance each other out. Sometimes a daydreamer needs the grounding of someone more practical – and someone more steady needs some spice brought into their life. Also, if you (accidentally) get your underage friend drunk, you'll need to save her baby sister's life to get back in her mom's good graces.

5. January and Shadi in Beach Read
“[Falling's] the part when you can't believe the person standing in front of you both exists and happened to wander into your path. It's supposed to make you feel lucky to be alive, exactly when and where you are.
“You're wrong that you never saw that with me. [...] That's how I felt when I found you.”

The Lesson: If your friend texts you "I need you," get there immediately. And when you get there, read the room. Does she need a shoulder to cry on? Distracting small talk? Shit-talking the person who hurt her? Show up when it matters. Also, make sure you tell your friend how much she means to you. Don't take her for granted!

“Zuzana was the best friend she'd ever had, and she didn't want to lose her.”

The Lesson: You have to be willing to open up and tell your story if you want to take a friendship from "we have fun together" to "I'd follow you into another world." Even if sharing involves confessing, in all its unbelievable detail, that an angel tried to kill you in Morocco. And when someone opens up to you? Be ready to listen. 

7. Bryce and Danika in House of Earth and Blood
“But she was the one person I could be myself around and never feel judged. The one person that I knew would always pick up the phone, or call me back. She was the one person who made me feel brave because no matter what happened, no matter how bad or embarrassing or shitty it was, I knew that I had her in my corner.”

The Lesson: Best friends will leave a mark on your life, even after they're gone. Loving someone means you might get hurt – there's no guarantee they'll always be there. The bond between friends is a choice, a heart connection, but the reward of a best friend is always worth the risk whether they're in your life forever or for a season.

And, just for kicks, here are seven things Kelly has taught me during our friendship:
1. There's probably a movie or TV quote for every moment in life.
2. Sometimes you need to be assertive and say what's on your mind. 
3. The library exists; not every book needs to be purchased.
4. You can do hard things... like trek up a muddy hill on a cold, windy day.
5. England is so much better with your best friend.
6. Be thoughtful – get on the plane, send the care package. People remember.
7. A best friend will let you ramble and go with you on every Journey.

I'm so thankful for her and for all the books out there that remind me of how to be a friend and what a joy it is to have one. There's no one I'd rather drive in Atlanta traffic to get, and I can't wait for our 2021 reunion! 

What's your favorite fictional female friendship?

1 comment

  1. This is such a lovely idea for a post, and Kelly definitely is someone who deserves to be celebrated for being as awesome as she is! (And so are you, by the way!) Loved the friendships you've highlighted, especially since I've "met" just about all of them save one (the pair from If I Never Met You, which I guess means I gotta read it) ;)


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