This week marks a special occasion for two of the most important people in my life, the couple who taught me everything I know about love, especially the value of romance born from friendship. Thinking about their love has inspired me to write about the different levels of “friends first” romance and my favorite fictional couples who started as friends. There are many types of romance I admire, but love based on friendship is by far my favorite!
So to celebrate the occasion, here is a list of five types of romance based on friendship, with my favorite examples of fictional couples for each. Enjoy!
1) Coming-of-Age Romance – Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley (Harry Potter)
Being an avid fan of the Harry Potter books, Hermione and Ron are one of my favorite examples of a Childhood Friend Romance couple. Though they don’t like each other very much when they first meet, they quickly become close friends as the series progresses, and even more than that by the time they reach young adulthood. Through all their arguments and disagreements, Ron and Hermione clearly harbor some complicated romantic feelings for each other in the second half of the saga, so when they finally get together in the last book, it’s nothing short of epic. A magical love story indeed!
2) Reunited Childhood Friends – Simba and Nala (The Lion King)
If you grew up with Disney movies like I did, you no doubt have fond memories of watching (and probably singing along to) The Lion King. Though the central theme of the story is Simba’s coming of age, his romance with Nala deserves special mention as a classic example of how best friends can turn out to be soulmates as well. After being separated as children, these two lions are reunited in adulthood by chance and, in true Disney fashion, quickly fall in love by rekindling the affection they’ve always had for one another. Nala does whatever she can to push Simba in the right direction, while Simba is ready to defend Nala and the rest of their pride after gaining the sense to return home. From their adventures as cubs to the final battle for Pride Rock, these best friends prove they’ll always have each other’s back, so after they reclaim their home at the end of the story, you know the Pride Lands will be ruled by the best king and queen ever!
3) Lifelong Love – Carl and Ellie Fredricksen (Up)
On the other hand, sometimes childhood friends end up staying together their whole lives, and the best of these friendships turn into a romance for the ages. Such is the case of Carl and Ellie Fredricksen from Pixar’s 2009 film Up, who’s four-minute montage of their marriage tells one of the greatest love stories ever seen in a Disney movie. From exploring old abandoned houses as children to sharing a loving home into old age, these two adventurers at heart were clearly meant to be together for life. Seriously, just try to watch the beginning of this film without tearing up! Sweetest romance ever!
4) Crossing Paths – Forrest Gump and Jenny Curran (Forrest Gump)
The childhood friends of the famous 1994 film, Forrest Gump and Jenny Curran are a classic example of a pair of soulmates whom fate continuously throws into and out of each other’s lives. After growing up together in 1950s Alabama, they end up going their separate ways after college, from which point Forrest’s story mentions several reunions between them up to the present day. Despite living so far apart from her for much of his life, it’s made abundantly clear by the end of the story that Forrest never stopped loving Jenny since they were kids, and that deep down she always knew he was the right man for her. It may not be the happiest of romances, but Forrest and Jenny had a beautiful love story nonetheless!
5) On Again, Off Again – Ross Geller and Rachel Green (Friends)
Every fan of Friends remembers the on-again-off-again rollercoaster that was Ross and Rachel’s relationship. Having grown up on the same street, these two friends have known each other since childhood, though at the time they were really friends by extension through Monica. After their reunion as adults in the first season, it becomes apparent that the crush Ross developed on Rachel in high school never burned out, which leads to ten years of one of the most complicated friendships ever. Although they suffered many breakups and makeups throughout the series (“We were on a break!”), Ross and Rachel’s unwavering love would inevitably lead them back to each other in the end, solidifying their status as one of television’s favorite couples. Best friends for life!
Who are your favorite “friends first” couples? What other examples of “friends first” romance would you add to this list?
Dedicated to my parents, the happiest couple I know. Thank you for teaching me everything I know about true love! Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! I love you!
A year ago, I shared a blog post dedicated to two of the most important people in my life: a list of lessons on romance inspired by the love I’ve seen between them my whole life. I learned almost everything I know about love from them, which is why most of the romantic stories I write are about couples who started out as friends. If my parents taught me anything about romance, it’s that the best kind of love is based on friendship!
So to honor them again this year, here’s a new list of five details of loving relationships that you’re more likely to see in couples who started as friends. Keep these in mind if you ever write romance that blossoms from friendship! Enjoy!
1) You enjoy each other’s company.
This one is a bit obvious, but it deserves to be pointed out nonetheless. You choose your friends based on how much you like them, and that depends on how much you enjoy spending time with them. Logically, the same principle should apply to romance: if you like being with your partner, you make an effort to prolong your relationship. One of the great advantages of starting out as friends is that you already know you like each other by the time you get together. When you already have fun together and make each other laugh often, the romance simply enhances an already beautiful connection. It’s like fast-forwarding through the awkward getting-to-know-you phase to the actual fun part of a relationship! Admittedly this might not be to everyone’s taste, but I highly recommend it. It worked for my parents, and it’s certainly working for me!
2) You know each other well and accept each other for who you are.
There’s nothing wrong with a little mystery in romance, but it’s so great when you don’t have to hide every little flaw you might have for fear of driving your partner away. A true friend is someone who not only knows almost everything about you, but accepts all the things that make you you, good and bad alike. In my experience, the freedom to openly express yourself and everything you like to your partner makes a relationship much more enjoyable in the long run, especially when that freedom is mutual. Let’s face it, you can’t hide your real self forever and you should never try to change yourself to please someone else, so if you’re lucky enough to fall for a friend who already loves you exactly the way you are, I say keep them!
3) You respect and value each other more.
You wouldn’t be friends with someone you don’t respect, right? So it stands to reason that if you’re romantically involved with someone you consider a friend, you’re much more likely to treat them as an equal. Respect is key in any relationship that hopes to last, so lovers who started as friends have the advantage of already beginning on an equal footing. This makes it much easier to build and maintain a healthy relationship: by respecting and valuing one another, you’ll help each other grow and become better people over time!
Move over, Ross and Rachel; Monica and Chandler are the real greatest couple of Friends!
4) You have greater intimacy with each other.
Ah, the best part of being in love! Superficial flings may be appealing to some, but when it comes to long-term commitment, romances based on friendship definitely have the upper hand. Enjoying each other’s company and knowing each other well leads you to trust each other completely, and with trust comes greater loyalty and intimacy. A deep emotional connection with another person is something most of us search for our whole lives (and many of us never find), so your best chance at finding such intimacy is with someone you’d consider your best friend!
5) Your love is more likely to last forever!
For all the above reasons and more, lovers who started as friends are more likely to stay together for life. Friendship is the most solid foundation for love because life is most enjoyable when shared between two people who enjoy talking to each other, often make each other smile, understand each other well, and value each other for who they truly are. So try exploring this kind of love in your romantic stories, and maybe if you’re as lucky as my parents, you too will discover (or perhaps already know) that the best romance is based on friendship!
What are your favorite kinds of romance? Do you write stories about love that starts as friendship?
Today’s creative writing post is dedicated to my parents, the happiest couple I know. Thank you for teaching me the value of love founded on friendship! Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! I love you both so much!
Welcome to the conclusion of “Dance of the Fairies”. If you haven’t yet, read Part 1 here. Otherwise, enjoy!
The music gradually died down as Cindy, Joey, Shea and Eldan moved toward the center circle. The next thing the children knew, the fairies were all staring at them in awestruck silence as they stood before the queen.
“Your Majesty”, said Shea, bowing deeply alongside Eldan while the children stood wide-eyed behind them, “we found these two humans watching from the outskirts of our sacred field. We beseech your judgment of their permission to stay.”
The queen fluttered down from her high throne, and Shea and Eldan moved aside to allow her passage to the children. Cindy and Joey gazed at her in wonder; though she was considerably smaller than them, they felt humbled in her presence. The great fairy studied them seriously for a minute, then broke into a smile.
“Welcome, children,” she said kindly. “I see you’ve discovered our secret festival. Please tell me your names.”
The children glanced at each other awkwardly before turning back to the fairy. The girl was the first to find her voice.
The queen considered them both for a moment before nodding, never breaking her smile for an instant. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Cindy and Joey. I’m Queen Tianna. Welcome to our magical field!”
“The pleasure is all ours!” Cindy replied. The queen’s kind smile had melted away all her fear.
“Forgive me, Your Majesty,” Eldan spoke up, “but what should we do with these…visitors? You have only to say the word, and Shea and I will readily escort them out.”
Queen Tianna grew serious again. Without taking her eyes off the humans, she fluttered down to lift each of their hands as Shea had done. She held onto their forefingers for a full minute, the silence deafening around them… until at last she smiled once more.
“There’s no need for that, Eldan,” she said sweetly, still gazing intently at Cindy and Joey. “These children are pure of heart. They will be our honored guests tonight!” The queen announced this to the entire field, then lowered her voice again as she addressed the visitors directly. “What do you say, children? Would you like to dance with us?”
“Would we ever!” Cindy exclaimed, then suddenly catching herself, she added with a polite bow, “I mean, it would be an honor, Your Majesty.”
Joey bowed as well, and the entire field of fairies cheered as the music started up again. Immediately, two pairs of fairies carrying a crown of flowers each came forth and placed them lightly on the children’s heads. The two were then escorted toward the center circle, Cindy giggling as she caught sight of Shea triumphantly sticking her tongue out at Eldan.
The rest of the night passed by like a dream. Cindy and Joey twirled together in the light circle to the cheering of the fairies around them. They gleefully lead lines of dancers around the field, clapped and chanted along to the music, and joined hands with the fairies to spin around the great center circle. They even had the honor of joining the final dance with Queen Tianna herself. It was a night they would never forget for as long as they lived.
At last, the night passed away and the morning sun began to glow on the horizon. As the music and dancing finally stopped, the queen fluttered before her guests to share a few final words with them.
“Thank you for joining us tonight, children! You have made this a most magical evening indeed! Know you are always welcome to our full moon festivals. May the Mother Earth always bless you both!”
“Thank you, Your Majesty!” Cindy and Joey exclaimed in unison, grinning and bowing deeply.
The other fairies had already begun to disappear, one by one in little fading balls of light. Shea waved her new friends goodbye, and even Eldan smiled as he disappeared with her. Queen Tianna was the last to vanish, leaving the warmth of her kind smile hanging in the air. The light circle faded away, and before they knew it, Cindy and Joey were standing in the middle of what appeared to be nothing more than an ordinary field at dawn, with no sign that anything magical had ever happened there.
Joey reached up to take the flower crown off his head, and stood staring at it as if in a daze while Cindy started walking back toward the rocks. Timidly, he turned his head up and called to her.
Cindy stopped and turned around to face her friend. Joey shuffled his feet awkwardly for a moment, gathering courage as he glanced at his crown, before looking her in the eyes again and speaking up.
“…Do you think we could come back here, at the next full moon?”
A smile spread across Cindy’s face. She walked up to Joey and took his hand in hers.
“It’s a date!”
Joey grinned and squeezed Cindy’s fingers as she replaced the flower crown on his head. Holding hands, the children left the field together, laughing and skipping all the way home. It had been more than a magical evening, a night they knew even then that they would remember for the rest of their lives together. Every full moon from then on would bring about the same cheerful thought: the next dance of the fairies could never come soon enough.
Hope you enjoyed the story! Thanks for reading!
“What are we looking at?”
“But there’s nothing here!”
“There will be! Now be quiet!”
Cindy covered Joey’s mouth with her hand. He brushed it off, but did as she told him nonetheless. The two children huddled closer as they stared over the rocks at the empty field ahead.
“I still don’t get why you brought me here,” Joey whispered after five uneventful minutes.
“You will.” Cindy glanced up at the full moon just beginning to poke through the clouds. “It’s almost time.”
They sat quietly for another several minutes, waiting. Joey opened his mouth, about to complain that it was cold and this was boring and he wanted to go home, but the words never left his throat. Just then, a circle of light appeared in the middle of the field, in the very spot Cindy had pointed out when they arrived.
“C-Cindy?” Joey stammered, suddenly afraid. “W-What’s happening?”
But Cindy didn’t seem to notice her friend cowering beside her. She was too busy grinning as she leaned over the rock for a better view.
“Here they come!”
She quivered with excitement as little balls of light began to appear across the field. One by one, the floating lights materialized into tiny glowing figures with wings. Joey’s eyes grew wide as he stared into the field, unable to believe what he was seeing.
“Are those…?” he gasped. Cindy nodded without taking her eyes off the scene ahead.
The fairies all gathered around the circle of light in the middle of the field. One of them, who was slightly brighter than the rest and wore a crown on her head, raised her hands to call for silence, a request immediately respected by all the others. Cindy turned to Joey, who was now leaning over the rock beside her.
“That’s the fairy queen!” she whispered. The two of them watched quietly as the leader of the fairies began to speak.
“My children!” she said in a kind yet authoritative voice. “Tonight, let us give thanks to our Mother Earth for her bounty. Let us praise her, that we may never find ourselves wanting of her generosity. Let her know that we are eternally grateful for her kindness. So sing and be merry, my children! Tonight, we dance!”
The queen raised her hands again and all the fairies cheered. A small group beside her began to bang and strum on tiny instruments, and soon the air was filled with music. Cindy and Joey watched, enthralled, as some of the little glowing figures joined hands and danced around the center circle while others twirled through the air in pairs. It was a sight to take the breath away.
“Aren’t they beautiful?” Cindy sighed dreamily, her head in her hands. Joey nodded without even realizing.
“They really are.”
The children giggled as they watched the fairies dance and sing. Before long, they too found themselves getting caught up in the spirit of the music.
“May I have this dance?” Joey said in a mock grown-up voice as he stepped back and bowed to his friend. Cindy curtsied and waved an imaginary fan.
“I thought you’d never ask!”
The two friends laughed as they imitated the fairies, twirling around in circles until they were dizzy. Then…
Cindy and Joey froze, their smiles vanishing instantly. They turned around slowly to see two glowing figures floating before them, watching them with wide, pale blue eyes.
“What are you doing here?” one of the fairies asked, his brow raised in suspicion. While Cindy and Joey exchanged awkward looks, the other fairy turned to her companion.
“Don’t frighten them, Eldan!” she said in a much softer tone, taking him by the arm. “They’re not hurting anyone. They’re just children!”
“Human children, Shea,” said the first fairy as he turned to his friend. “You know we don’t allow humans here. What would the queen have to say about this?”
“Why don’t we ask her?”
“You want to take them to the queen?”
“Why not?” Shea smiled. “They clearly like to dance too! I’m sure she wouldn’t mind. She might even be delighted to have them join us!”
Eldan glanced at the nervous children, then turned back to his companion and sighed in defeat. “Fine, if you say so. But if we get in trouble for this…”
“We won’t.” Beaming, Shea fluttered over to Cindy and Joey and extended her hand to them. “It’s okay, don’t be afraid. Come with us! We don’t bite!”
“Speak for yourself,” said Eldan, sparing a piercing look at Joey. The boy drew back at those words, but Shea calmed him with a gentle laugh.
“He’s joking, sweetie. This guy couldn’t hurt a fly if he wanted to!”
The fairy fluttered down between the children and reached out to touch their hands. Dazed, Cindy and Joey stepped forward as Shea led them by their forefingers out from behind the rocks and into the field, Eldan following close behind. They didn’t know what to expect, but of one thing they were certain: the night was about to get far more interesting.
To be concluded next Friday
Does he know?
I ask myself this question every day, every time he looks at me, every time he talks to me, every time he smiles at me. Whenever I think I’m figuring out the answer, he distracts me and keeps me guessing. Sometimes I think he does it on purpose, just sitting there concentrating, brow furrowed, pencil between his teeth, like he knows he’s the cutest thing ever without even trying.
He must know.
Maybe he really is clueless. I never gave him a reason to suspect anything might be different. We’ve always been close. He talks to me so casually, like I’m just one of the guys. He seems innocently unaware of how my heart skips a beat every time he looks me in the eye or touches my shoulder or says my name. Somehow that makes him even cuter.
He couldn’t know.
Discreetly, he glances over his shoulder, then he pulls a bar of chocolate from his pocket and offers me a piece under the table. The librarian is strict about the no-food-or-drink policy, so it’s almost like he’s taking a huge risk for me. I take it with a smile and hope he doesn’t notice my face turning red.
Will he ever know?
Sometimes I wish he hadn’t been such a gentleman at the spring dance. I wish he hadn’t insisted we go together, or asked me to dance, or joked about how I’m the only girl who understands him. That’s how this all started: he made me see him in a whole new light. It was the first time I ever really thought of him as a boy. Now I have to tell myself over and over that we’re just friends. Just friends. The words sting like ice in my heart, this stupid fragile teenage heart.
He’ll never know.
I know I have to accept that he may never see me as anything more than his best friend. And yet I can’t stop asking myself that one question.
Does he know… that I love him?