by Xandra Burns
Fiction gave me unrealistic expectations of friendships. They tend to be neatly structured in books and on tv – where are the Harry and Ron to my Hermione? The Louis and Twitty to my Tawny?
If you haven’t found your fiction-worthy group of best friends, the good news is, in real life, these magic trios and sitcom groups of six are far rarer than we are led to believe. And when they do exist, much like the How I Met Your Mother finale suggests, they do eventually drift apart.
How fiction can help you make friends
- By reading, you have lots of stories to share. Just look at this week’s episode of my podcast with Caroline, on Childhood Tribes & Storybook Sidekicks: we are bubbling over with enthusiasm.
- You have ample practice getting to know new people. On paper that is.
- Reading makes you more empathetic.
- When you meet someone who loves the same books as you, it’s like you already have a whole tribe of mutual friends.
How Harry Potter saved my childhood
My family moved a lot as I was growing up, but magically, each move was coupled with the release of a new Harry Potter book. As we unpacked boxes and settled into a new neighbourhood, I would have a new friend to read and reread and study before school began.
I wrote a Daily Prophet newsletter through email, which helped me keep in touch with all my distant friends, and whenever I met someone new who liked Harry Potter, we became instant friends. Actually, that still happens.
The final Harry Potter book came out around my sixteenth birthday, when I was at a summer program in Oxford. This time, I waited at midnight not by myself, but in a circle of Potterheads just like me.
Things to Remember
- Friendships can be different and random. I have close friends I talk to once a year, or once a week, but the important thing is, we pick up where we left off as if no time had passed.
- Best friends don’t always come in twos or threes.
- Friendship groups do not always come in sixes.
- The internet is wonderful. Most of my friends are scattered around the world, but thanks to the internet, we are all under a massive umbrella together.
- Something they never really teach you: friendships and communities are totally different things. I find it so much easier to hang out one on one, but group outings are a skill to master.
- You are cool enough. Sometimes I wish I were cool enough to be in a girl gang with Emma Stone and Taylor Swift. Then I remember that my friends are as cool as Emma Stone and Taylor Swift.
Join my tribe
You’re in the right place. Heroine Training’s very own community, Blogwarts, is accepting applications now. Join like-minded heroines in finding your quest and living your dreams. The train leaves on 1 September, and there are limited spaces, so apply now. If you would like to think about it, but want updates throughout the month, sign up for the Heroine Training newsletter below for a free worksheet of your personal Potter super powers!
Identify what kind of social situation/group you prefer. Are you happiest partying in a big group, or having a quiet lunch with one friend? Remember that your tribe – or more likely, tribes – will be different from anyone else’s.
Who is in your ideal tribe? Fictional and non-fictional heroines welcome.
Who is in your real tribe? How can you remind your best friends that you love them?
Share your progress in the comments!