Friday, May 3, 2013

Ya Gotta Have Friends

I’ve had periods in my life where I am surrounded by friends and I have had times when I flew solo. I always thought of myself as a person who needed people.

People who need people…are the luckiest people….!!!!

Sorry, had a Barbra Streisand moment there.

(Ha, now you’re all gonna have that song stuck in your head all day…bwah ha ha ha!)

Anyway! Personally, I like people and I like having special ones to be silly with. Or go to a movie with, or share an afternoon at Starbucks. When I reflect on people from my past…I’ve had good friends. False friends. Fair weather friends. Forever friends…

And people who I’m just friendly with. I sometimes think FB needs a ‘Friendly’ button and not the ‘friend’ thing.  Of course, I also think an enemies list would be handy as a FB ap. You can tell a lot about a person by who they consider their enemies, would take a lot of the should I/shouldn’t I out of that accept friend thing.

I like to create friends for my main characters and I love it when my lovers are friends. Though I’ve written books where my lovers are friendly, but not best friends. I think lovers need to have some distance, some mystery. Some time apart. And women need women to be women with. Just as men need men to be assholes with.


I almost think the dynamic between friends can be a hell of a lot more fun to fiddle with than the dynamic between lovers. Perhaps that is the key between keeping the couple interesting to the reader after the HEA point. Because friends fight. Friends disagree. Friends have secrets. And remain friends.

Case in point. “Castle” I know, I’m probably the only pirate still watching this show. And still loving it. The dynamic between Beckett and Castle has undergone an interesting shift now that they are a couple. And they still have problems. But it works. Because in the beginning, it wasn’t just passion and lust that made them think about jumping each other. They became friends first. Caring friends. And now they are lovers and trying not to leave the friendship to the past. And it’s tricky!

Okay, where was I going with this???

Okay, look at Javier and Lani, the other couple in that show. They were lust bunnies, jumped each other and then couldn’t keep it going. Too much lust, not enough friendship. Now, they are slowly closing in on each other again, but keeping it to rebuilding the friendship. First. They might get back together, they might not.

This is the difference between the Moonlighting curse and Hart to Hart. There is a vulnerability to a relationship when it includes friendship. Because that relationship contains a volatility that waxes and wanes.  I never felt the Moonlighting couple were friends, I did feel Hart and Hart were.

I tried really hard to create a couple who can maintain their dynamic…in 30 books. The jury is still out on whether I succeeded.

It’s all about trust, commitment and a depth to a relationship that pushes a couple to accept that being apart from each other, no longer being friends, is too high a price to pay for when they fight, or just get bored.

I love my husband. I trust him. We are friends. It isn’t perfect and we struggle all the bloody time. But the idea of not having him in my life makes the struggle worth it. 

Castle and Beckett are there. Javier and Lani might reach there. Jake and Miranda, from my books, swing between the two points…in 30 books, there is never any danger that they aren’t going to be a couple. But sometimes, it is a battle royal to make sure it ends that way.

So, my question…meandering through my riddled with holes brain… When you think of the forever couples you’ve read of, watched on the big screen or little screen…where did friendship fall in their courtship? Do you believe in their friendship as much as you believe in their lover-ship? What do you think in more important?


Marnee Bailey said...

Huh. In fiction couples. Well, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. They had to get to know each other, get to like each other. Especially Elizabeth. It wasn't until she started to get to know him, that she started to fall in love with him.

I think Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a great example of this too. The movie with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. It wasn't until after they really knew each other and respected and liked each other, that it felt like they really loved each other. I love that movie.

Terri Osburn said...

I haven't read the books, but I'm guessing Nora/JD Robb does this with her In Death series. It's pretty damn impressive to have that many books with the same lead couple and the series never seems to wane.

I think the friendship is so important. The hardest part for me to write is the "falling in love" part. I hate when I'm reading and the couple goes from spitting at each other to eye-lash flutteringly in love. When did that happen! I want to see it happen. And I want to give that experience to my readers.

Making them friends, showing them learning to respect each other, for better or worse, is what does that for me. And I think it's true in real life. Your partner really needs to be your best friend.

Weren't Hart to Hart married with that series started? I think that's the difference. The starting premise of that show was not will they/won't they. They did. So it worked.

I quit Castle. They pissed me off. And in all honesty, I never liked Beckett.

Terri Osburn said...

And no earworms stuck in my head. I had the iPod on before I hopped over here. Ha!

MsHellion said...

I'm not sure one is more important than the other, but I'm for one that you're friends, but there's also chemistry. I've had guy friends where it would only ever be friends. EVER. So I'm one who thinks the chemistry NEEDS to absolutely be there, but if you want it to last, you need the friendship. For me, neither are negotiable.

BUT just because you're friends doesn't mean you have to do every blessed thing together either. No one friend can be or do everything you want to do, or you want to do every blessed thing they want to do. That's why you have many friends. If this friend is more spontaneous, then you can indulge your spontaneous self; if this friend is also creative, you can go art-crazy. This friend likes being outdoors--and you'd like to do more of that--hook up. *LOL* And there's the friend you watch movies with, like movies are a new fad. But outdoor friend probably isn't a movie fiend--and you shouldn't hold it against her if she's not. No one person should be your everything. I mean, they probably feel like your everything, but you have to be okay with the fact you two will need your space...

MsHellion said...

I love the movie, Mr. & Mrs. Smith!! Yes, when they found out how much they really had in common, it really fell into place. *LOL*

Janga said...

Maureen, you touch upon something that really bothers me about many of the books I'm reading these days. I have no problem believing the H/H are hot for each other at the moment, but I don't believe that they can sustain a relationship for fifty years--or even ten. The books I love are those that give me what I need to imagine the H/H talking, laughing, loving, and enduring the vicissitudes of life over long years.

Maureen said...

I need to get over my pissiness about Mr. and Mrs. Smith and watch it one of these days...

I think it's funny that I didn't watch Castle until your pirates talked about it, and now I'm the only one still watching...

Yeah, Hart to Hart were married, but the thing is, if TV writers can write exciting married couples that have adventures, then why can't they go from friendship to couplehood and succeed?

Nora did it with Rourke and Dallas! It's like with most TV, it's a this or that...not both. They can be friends with chemistry or they can be married...not both.

I got a lot of respect for the shows where the leads don't fall in love, but are friends. No chemistry, but respect.

And yeah, Hels, I agree...different friends for different aspects of oneself makes perfect sense to me!

P. Kirby said...

I think the friends to lovers thing often fails in TV shows because a good deal of the two characters' chemistry is kept "zingy" by the sexual tension. And when that goes away, so too does the cool chemistry. I guess to succeed, the writers need to A) have that initial chemistry be based on more than sex, and B) if the two were sort of spiky and snarky with each other before Teh Secks, they should remain so after.

As a reader, I like friends to lovers. The book I'm currently reading has the hero immediately jumping to all kinds of sexy, graphic thoughts, and trying to seduce the heroine, before establishing any kind of non-sexual relationship. Based on reviews, I know some readers thinks this is sexy. I find it creepy and miles from romantic. Oh, well. Mileage may vary.

Maureen said...

I prefer it when the sexy thoughts are sneaking in and keep getting slapped away... "NO, she's a friend! Never going to happen! Go. Away!"

So, they stay on the edge but not really present.

Like with Lani and Javiar, they fell into bed so fast, all of it based on chemistry, so of course it fell apart. Now, they are building a friendship and who knows where it will go?

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Love Friends to lovers...and enemies to lovers to friends stories.

As others have said, the best books are the ones that get the friendship right. You believe they have something to talk about after all that sex is done.

Maureen said...

Yeah, Sabrina...I feel like too many books and movies skip the friendship part. Or once they are married, there is no spark or even friendship left. You and I are marrieds, so we know how important friendship is to the day to day stuff. And the spark!

irisheyes said...

This is a hot button with me too, these days. I'm really tired of all of the internal lusting that is happening in the books I'm reading now but no internal discussion as to whether he/she is a decent human being or will be there in a crisis or will last the test of time/struggles/life's tragedies, etc. If they have the same values, attitudes on raising kids, do they both want kids, how important is career, OMG I could go on forever. And ALL they seem to concentrate on nowadays is the six pack abs, gorgeous breasts, tight ass, kissable mouth, etc. etc. Really?!

I'm a firm believer in friendship being the foundation for love but also that no one person can be your everything! We don't live in a vacuum and as Hellie so eloquently put it having multiple friends with different interests helps balance your life. Boy is my teenage daughter learning all about that this year!!! My DH was my best friend before we became romantically involved. It adds so much to the relationship. It can't just be about sex - as he likes to joke what would we do the other 23 hours 55 minutes of the day! LOL

Maureen said...

You nailed it, Irish. I think a couple can become friends after marriage and/or sex, but you'll be in better shape if you work into a friendship of sorts first!

Especially if it might move into marriage!