Friends

discussion

Hello and welcome to another discussion! As usual this year, I’m linking this to the Discussion Challenge – which I won already, by the way (my goal was to write at least 13 discussions and I passed that last month)! Go check out the other posts – there are always great bookish discussions to be found in the linky.

Today, I want to talk to you about friends. I know that’s a very broad topic but I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. And I want to know: where did you meet most of your friends? Are they mostly college friends or coworkers? Or are you friends with totally random people?

During my high school and university years, the vast majority of my friends were people I also went to school with. So we were stuck together in the same classroom (or school, at least) every day, we had breaks together and all – but we also saw each other after class and partied together and so on. However, once the classes ended – not just for the summer, but once we graduated – people drifted away. It made even more sense after university because most of my group of friends didn’t even live in Ljubljana (where our university is situated) and they returned home, either to their parents’ houses or to start families of their own. And we… drifted apart.

Now, I have a sort of motley crew of friends from different stages of my life. I’ve known two of my best friends since we were seven (we went to primary school together), I have one friend left over from high school – and two ladies from the university that I see on a regular basis. Then there’s an editor friend, some friends I met through my husband, and my brother and my cousin, who I’m lucky to have because you can’t always count on family also being friends. It’s a small number of people, really, but they’re incredibly important to me. I’ve kept in contact with my other friends, of course, but we mostly write emails to each other once or twice a year.

It’s harder to make friends as an adult, I think. My situation is very unhelpful for meeting new people because I’m a freelance translator and work from home, where I’m alone most of the time. It’s a perfect arrangement for me, I love it, but I have to make a conscious effort to set dates with my friends each week so I socialize enough. I’m very lucky that my husband is also my best friend, I don’t know what I’d do if that wasn’t the case.

Blogging opened up a new world for me. I now have several… friends, whom I’ve never even seen in person, that I talk to more regularly than I do with some of the people I count as my closest acquaintances. Either through comments, Twitter, or emails – these newfound relationships are just as important to me as the friends I get to meet in person, perhaps because we talk about books a lot, which is enormously important to me (and I don’t get to discuss them with my other friends because they don’t read as much or their tastes are different).

srcek

Anyway, this all means that I’m always happy to read books that feature good friendships. You know I love reading about romantic relationships but I’m always on the lookout for a good friendship book. Somehow, good friendship books are harder to find than good romances – which is weird if you consider that most people have fewer lovers (or true loves) than friends (I’m not being judgy here, you can have as many lovers as you want).

Here are some of my favourite bookish friendships:

  • Harry, Ron, and Hermione – okay, so I know Ron and Hermione end up together but for the majority of the series, these three are just really great friends.
  • Agnieszka and Kasia – from Naomi Novik’s Uprooted – Agnieszka is driven by her love for her friend and I really enjoyed reading about their relationship. I also liked that Novik wasn’t afraid to write about the ugly aspects of such a friendship (the jealousy, the resentment).
  • Locke and Jean – from The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch – I know most people refer to their relationship as a “bromance” but a) I hate this word; and b) unless you saw something I didn’t (and believe me, I know this book almost by heart by now), Locke is horribly in love with Sabetha and I won’t spoil you for Jean but he loves Locke like a brother. They’re great.
  • Jennifer and Beth – from Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments – this has become one of my favourite books of all time (I think I say this a lot when it comes to Rowell’s books). Their friendship is the ordinary kind – they’re coworkers – but I loved their interactions and how they came to trust each other.
  • The Thirteen – from Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas – I haven’t reviewed this yet but one of the bright points of this book are the close bonds between the Ironteeth witches of Manon Blackbeak’s coven. I love how far they go to protect one another and it’s their stories I was most excited to read.
  • Karou and Zuzana – from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone – there is something to be said for a friend who will follow you into another world. I really liked their private jokes and loyalty.
  • Corrine and Ada – from Iron Cast by Destiny Soria – this is a very new addition to the list (it releases in October), but I really, really enjoyed it. Their friendship is tested several times and I think they’re both fantastic characters. Give this one a try (I’ll be reviewing it soon).

A lot of ladies on this list, huh?

srcek

Tell me, which bookish friends would you add to this list?

Who are your friends?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Let’s be friends: emailbloglovin’twitterinstagramgoodreads.

  • Greg Hill

    Most of my friends are people I grew up with through college. Now we’re scattered all over so we don’t get together that often. I have a few newer friends I’ve met through work or whatever but we’re not as tight.

    I agree, it is harder to make friends as adults. When you’re a kid it just comes easier, I don’t know? And it’s such an impressionable time that the bonds stay strong. Plus adult life has to much going on, you can’t just run around and play all day. :)

    I think friendships in fantasy are fun to read about because with all the quests and earth shattering stuff it’s nice to see good friends go through it together.

    I hate the word bromance too BTW.

    • I suspect “scattered” for you means something different than for me – your friends are probably hundreds of miles away while mine are still in a 100 mile radius. :) It doesn’t really matter, though, I think physical proximity is a huge factor with friendships in college and work…

      Yeah, when you’re a kid, it’s easier to connect, even if you’re shy. As an adult, you’re bogged down with all sorts of expectations and everyday chores and you never find the time to really connect. Eh.

      And I dislike most of these “new” words that are two perfectly good words stuck together. I mean, “brunch” has really become a part of normal vocabulary but I recently saw “bronde” (a mix between brown and blond hair?) and it’s just horrible. (We seem to be having vocabulary discussions lately.)

      • Greg Hill

        I haven’t seen bronde (ugh) but I have recently discovered bae (because apparently babe doesn’t cut it) and I hate it! I don’t even know why lol, I just do. anyway… yeah scattered actually we’re not TOO bad, most of us are still in the state although one guy is in California and another in Chicago. So we don’t get together very often. We’re also gamers and used to get together to play, but that doesn’t happen much anymore. :(

        • WHAT. I didn’t know “bae” was a thing, it’s horrible.

          My husband also has gamer friends, I don’t think he’s ever met them in real life, it’s a bit like with bloggers and myself. I really envy people who get to go to BEA and similar events in the states. I actually thought about going to YALC in London so I could meet a couple of UK-based bloggers… Maybe when kids are a bit older?

  • I lived my life constantly jumping from place to place, so I’ve made a lot of friends but also drifted apart from many. It’s hard to keep up with everyone when we’re all scattered over the globe. I still keep in contact with a couple close friends from college, but now it’s mostly over social media and messaging.

    More recently though, like within the last 5 or 6 years or so, a lot of my close friends have been fellow gamers I met online. Most I’ve not have the chance yet to meet face to face, even though we’ve gathered for virtual tabletop gaming or questing in MMOs on an almost weekly basis, chatting over voice programs and such. I know these guys better than I know some of the people I see every day in real life.

    I also think it’s harder to make friends as adults, but I feel really fortunate that there are so many more ways for people to connect with each other now. People with similar interests can find each other much more easily nowadays with many more ways to share their interests, and I’m really thankful for that.

    • Oh, I can imagine moving around must be hard when it comes to maintaining contact and keeping relationships…

      Isn’t it weird, this new way of finding like-minded people? :) I just love internet, it opens up so many possibilities. Of course, it can also be a troll playground if you’re unlucky with the people you meet but I’ve mostly met really amazing people through this blog. And yeah, I “meet” my online friends more often than I do some of my real life friends – in any case we comment and tweet more often.

  • Great friendships are so important. I’ve only recently stepped out into the ‘adult’ world of sorts – I’m in uni now – and it’s really difficult for me to make friendships there! I’m still really close with my high school crew, and we always try to meet up every week…but life is hard! It can be difficult keeping in touch with everyone! :/
    Books with good friendships are nice to read – definitely makes me smile, because I remember some of the crazy stuff me and my friends get up to! :)
    Geraldine @ Corralling Books

    • Ah, yeah, beginning Uni can be difficult. I remember the painful first weeks of interacting with your classmates. And trying to keep up with my high school crowd as well. But I think it’s natural to drift apart and find new people, really. I mean, as I said, I have a couple of friends from elementary and high school – some people just STICK, you know. :) But don’t worry, you’ll meet some amazing folks!

  • It is SOOOO difficult to make friends as adults. I’ve really struggled with it when my former best friend and I drifted apart. Most of my friends I’ve made through work. But I don’t have many.

    • I know, growing apart with friends is SO hard. I always feel like a chunk of me goes with them – even if our interests don’t align anymore. It’s just the way it is. It makes me more determined to keep up with the friends I still have, though, I know they’re worth the effort! :)
      And yeah, I don’t have that many friends either, as I was writing this post I made myself really think about whom I’d count as a FRIEND and who is just an acquaintance or colleague – it’s pretty sobering, actually.

  • It is SO hard to make friends as an adult. At this point, I have drifted apart from everyone I knew in HS and college. And when I was working, my job was with a client- I followed him wherever HE went (schools and such) so I didn’t get a chance to meet any people that way either. NOw, I have no idea, aside from blogging and such. The friends I have made through this are definitely my closest friends- I feel like they’re more there for me than people I used to be friends with in college and such, even though we only see each other at most a few times a year. But friendships are SO important, I would be lost without them. Basically, I need to convince everyone I know to move here ;)

    As for book friendships, I have always loved Roar and Perry in the Under the Never Sky series. And the friendships in David Estes’s Dwellers and Country series were always epic. Lia and Pauline in The Remnant series. I could probably think of more, too, but it’s late ;) LOVE this post!

    • Thanks, Shannon! :)

      Ah, yeah, I’d love to live closer to my blogging friends as well. But I live on a different CONTINENT than most of the people I’ve met this way, so yeah. I might go to BEA or something in a couple of years when the kids are older, but until then, I’m thankful for the internet!! :)

  • I never really think about my friends all that much (in a nice way, in that I just kind of expect them to be there when I need them). I have a very small group of friends. I have my friends from school (there are basically two of them I see regularly) and then I have my friends from uni (who I really struggle to talk to as often as I’d like) and then there are my coworkers (who are friends for the work place and then we see each other sporadically outside of work). I do not have a large group of friends but I like it that way.

    I am completely with you about making friends as you get older being difficult. I don’t know how you meet people as you get older, at school you’re forced together in large groups and there are bound to be a few people you get along with but it doesn’t seem the same as you got older. Even the people you work with may have nothing in common with you. It’s why I’m grateful for blogging because I have gotten to ‘meet’ a whole bunch of fantastic people. I don’t know how people make friends after leaving education. It makes no sense to me. I did read a book about a woman trying to make friends as an adult a couple of years back and I found it really interesting. The only thing I gained from it is that friendship takes a lot of time and effort. It was called MWF seeking BFF I think it was an interesting one.

    I am totally with you on liking bookish friendships and you’ve got all the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I mean, Ada and Corinne were epic friends, the HP trio are obvious and I hadn’t thought of Agneiszka and and Kasia but I totally want to reread Uprooted and rejoice in their friendship. I cannot get enough of books with solid and genuine friendships in because they are the most important relationships you have, you know? I mean, relationships are great (and go you for marrying your best friend, smart!) but it’s your friends you care about. I joked the other day with my best friend that she was my soulmate and you know what? That is kind of true. She will always be the person I turn to when I need someone and who I can joke with about the most idiotic things and knows when I’m in a bad mood for no apparent reason and doesn’t judge me when I start crying because I broke my phone and it’s a ridiculous reason to be crying she just waits for me to stop and then suggests solutions. Basically, friends are awesome and why aren’t there better friendships in book? Why can I not list twenty books off the top of my head with solid friendships in?

    • Yeah, I didn’t often think about my friends, either, you sort of just take them for granted most of the time, don’t you? I started thinking about this topic because I wrote my review for Iron Cast and then I thought that I hadn’t seen my oldest friends in a while – because we all have kids and these past months have been hectic for everyone. But it hit me that I should probably make more of an effort to think about them more often. :)

      And I agree, making friends outside of school/uni is horrible. I mean, I do chat with people I meet through work sometimes but those are just superficial acquaintances, you’d never call those people up and ask them to meet you for coffee and discuss things that aren’t strictly related to work. Plus most of the people I work with are for some reason at least a decade older than me, that alone means that we have little in common, usually. I mean, what am I supposed to do, hang a sign around my neck, saying “LOOKING FOR FRIENDS?”

      I didn’t marry my best friend, actually, we met, started dating pretty seriously after seeing each other twice or something, then became best friends. I know we were lucky, it could have been just another quick college romance (we were 20 when we met).

      But yeah, friends are the people who get you through your worst times. I mean, if I got a divorce (I don’t even want to think about it but IF I did), I’d go to my friends who would help me cope. I’d expect them to be there for me, like I’d be there for them if things went south with their lives. If you’re lucky enough that you have a friend who’ll stick with you, you’re really lucky.

      And YES, I vote for more friendship books, too. I mean, most books where romance is the main element also feature some form of friendship, but they often feel superficial and always take second place.

      • I definitely feel a strong need to call all my friends after this post as well. We are spread across the UK and it’s not always easy to meet up with work and life getting in the way so I haven’t seen some of them in about 6 months which is crazy! You’ve got better excuses than we do, at least. Family and kids do get in the way a bit at times, you have so many extra things to plan for.

        And work friends are difficult, the majority of my office is either younger or older than me. I do find it easier to chat to those who are older as they are at least more on my level, all the ones younger just seem so much younger even when it’s only a couple of years between us. It is the issue, though. I can talk to them in work but I would never think to call them up outside of it. I know some people who have found really close people to be friends in the workplace, but I don’t understand how. I feel like maybe I need to join a class or something. Why is there not a friends dating site where you can meet new people and just talk?

        And that’s quite sweet, you didn’t start off as best friends but you got there in the end. That’s the best kind of relationship where you’re friends as well.

        • I’m really behind with answering comments, sorry.

          GO, call your friends. I made dates with people, too, it’s good to get a nudge every once in a while. :) And there are always excuses, I don’t think family and kids are better excuses than work or life or whatever you’ve got going on – I make time for some friends, so I should make time for others, too. It’s always SOMETHING.

          Haha, see, that’s a good business idea! A friend-dating app. But I think people would misuse it and search for their true love anyway. I mean, if the app allowed you to be matched with another gender, everyone would assume you’re dating the guy, not just friendly-talking. I mean, of course you can have male friends (I wrote a post about this once, didn’t I??) but people would make their own assumptions.

          • Don’t worry I’m slowly catching up with my commenting too. I was like 5 days behind in blog posts yesterday. I’ve got a shiny new iPad so I can do a bit more blog reading and commenting when I’m away from computer now though (because phone blogging is great for quick comments but not so convenient in the long run).

            And I will. I feel really bad as I’ve been invited to see some friends at New Year who I’ve not seen in forever but the cost of the visit is just too high for me justify at that time of year. It sometimes feels like I’m making excuses for myself and then wonder why we haven’t spoken but it’s honestly legit. I suppose it is easy to find a reason not to yet some friends I always have time for. It’s stupid.

            There are some flaws to the friend dating concept but it’s a good idea. I stick with that. I suppose it’s all about making sure people go in with the right expectations I suppose. Romance could come out of it but that would never be the intention. I like the idea. Speed friend dating. It seems like everything is done to help folks find love but friendships are just as important.

          • Ooh, an iPad! :) Nice. I *hate* phone blogging, I never comment/answer comments on there, it’s just too time consuming. I might if I commuted in a way that wouldn’t require the use of my hands (I drive a lot, public transportation in Ljubljana is MISERABLE).

            Where do those friends live? I know, sometimes plans other people make are just not possible for you. It’s the same for us – some people might grab their kids, get on a plane and do whatever, but that’s just not how we function.

            I’ve been trying to make an effort to get in contact with more of my friends. This is starting to sound like some weird New Year’s resolution but there it is. I also badgered A. until he made some plans with his own friends – he’s out right now. :)

            And yeah, the friend dating app would be a success, I think, if only there was a way of screening for creeps. And friendships are probably more important than love relationships for most people. If I could locate fellow bookworms obsessed with romances and fantasy here (and that they’d be the same age lol, not just high school kids), I’d be really happy.

          • I am a bad blogger if I let myself get lazy so the iPad was a good purchase even if I couldn’t use it for days this week! Why does life insist on getting so busy sometimes? I struggle with phone blogging even with a commute on public transport. I just get drawn in reading or Twitter distracts me.

            And they live all over but some live in small towns which are hard to get to without a car because there about 5 different connections to make to get to them. It’s a nightmare. It almost makes me regret not learning to drive. It’s good to see more friends and reconnect with old ones. No one will ever not be glad to hear from you and I always forget that.

            I completely agree with that. As great as blogging is it does occasionally feel like it’s filled with high school kids and I feel a little bit weird about it. It’s good there are older bloggers out there otherwise I would have abandoned blogging long ago.

  • Maraia

    We talked about this before, didn’t we? It’s such an interesting topic; I’m glad you wrote a post about it. I definitely talk to the friends I made on the internet more often, but I also am just as close with my home town/high school friends as ever, only that we see each other a few times a year now instead of every day. We don’t keep in frequent contact, but our many years of history make it easy to maintain our friendships. My college friends were much more friends of convenience, so I’m not in touch with them nearly as much. It’s nice when we do get to meet up, but some of them live on the other side of the country.

    I actually made a (probably incomplete) shelf for great friendships! I would add Lyla and Will from His Dark Materials, all of the friendships in Tamora Pierce’s books, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants girls, Todd and Viola from Chaos Walking, and Blue and her Raven Boys. My shelf has more than I realized, so I guess I’ll stop there. xD

    • We did talk about this at some point, yeah – not sure if it was an actual post or if we ended up with this topic accidentally. :D

      Yeah “friends of convenience” is a good term for work and school relationships that end as soon as you stop being forced to frequent the same space every day. I mean I did make several really good friends in my uni days but most of our group just dispersed.

      I thought about Todd and Viola but I decided that their friendship doesn’t count as just friendship – they evolve into something else, don’t they? Ditto for Lyra and Will. My husband said he’d add Fitz and the Fool to the list – and I also thought of Sam and Frodo, I can’t believe I forgot about them. I still have to read the Tamora Pierce books, oops! :)

      • Maraia

        I think it was by email. :)

        Yes, exactly! You lose the one big thing you all had in common and suddenly realize you don’t have much left to talk about. Or at least that’s how it worked with my friends group. :P

        Yeah, that’s true. But they at least start out as great friends. I included them because great male-female friendships are even harder to find than female-female ones. yes, Fitz and the Fool and Sam and Frodo are on my friends shelf as well. :D

        • I FORGOT ABOUT CATH AND REAGAN!! I just re-read Fangirl and they’re the best.

  • I sporadically keep in touch with a few people from high school, pretty much no one from college (I was that ghost-like commuter who slipped in for classes and then immediately disappeared), and most of my social life now is…non-existent because law school. ^^;; I’m like you though; I have to be intentional about socializing or it doesn’t happen.

    There are lots of books featuring strong friendships for younger readers. (Babysitter’s Club, Nancy Drew, Animorphs…pretty much everything.) It’s like once you get to YA and Adult, there’s so much focus on romance that friendships get pushed aside. For now, I’m really enjoying the friendships in Anne Bishop’s The Others series, and Diana Wynne Jones books usually have good friendships, too.

    • Ah, commuters had a hard time keeping up with the social life at Uni, that’s true. Though they mostly had their friends back home in those cases that I know about. In Slovenia, people mostly come to study in Ljubljana for the week but they leave for the weekend, because Slovenia is so small (Ljubljana is smack in the middle of the country and you can get EVERYWHERE in the space of 2.5 hours by car), so it made sense. The University of Ljubljana also doesn’t have a campus like most American colleges and universities – the faculties and student housing are scattered all over the city. So yeah. I have no idea why I thought this would be relevant info for you, sorry! :D

      Ooh, that’s true. Middle grade books are better with friendships. It’s YA and adult novels that mostly feature romances, why is that?!

      I’ve only read Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones – are her other books good as well?

      • There are some US universities like that (I think) within big cities, but the one I went to was smaller and only 20 minutes away. It was a “suitcase school” too, though they were trying to change that.

        I’ve read quite a few of Diana Wynne Jones’ books and I don’t think I disliked any of them. There are a few that wowed me less than others, but overall, I like most of her work. :)

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  • Soudha Parsan

    This post was so interesting for me, especially given my current situation. Since moving to uni abroad, I’ve stop seeing as many people as I used to. I agree with you, making friends as an adult is much harder than when you were still at school. I did make some friends here but my closest friends will always be the ones I know from my school days. Also, like you, I think blogging was great in finding new friendships :) Great post as usual Kaja ^^

    • Thanks! :)

      I think that the older you get, the more you value friendships for their QUALITY, not quantity. In high school and at uni, I had very large groups of friends, we all got together and partied and whatever, but now I’m more about having coffee one-on-one or in small groups and catching up on life stuff in a quieter way. I mean, I still like to go out, it’s just less frequent. And yeah, blogging is a fantastic hobby, you meet really nice people along the way! :)

  • I agree that making friends as an adult is harder than it was when we were young. I haven’t really kept in contact with many of my high school or college friends. I have one friend that I still talk to occasionally, but everyone else I pretty much lost contact with. Nowadays, most of my friends are from my church. I have a small group that gets together every other week, so I know them really well. I also have some friends from my homeschool co-op group, but those friendships are more surface, for the most part.

    BUT I definitely agree that I have a lot of blogging friends who I know easily as well as everyone but my church friends. I LOVE the blogging world for that reason!

    • Yeah, church is one of the organisations that also connect people. It’s similar to having a sports team, probably, and hanging out with your football buddies (oversimplifying here, don’t think I’m equating faith with football! :D). It’s a reason to spend time together with strangers and then relationships evolve, much like with school and work.

      Keeping in touch with old friends really takes time and effort. It has to be a conscious decision on both sides if you want to keep a relationship like that going.

      And yeah, blogging is awesome in this regard, especially book blogging, because while the community IS big, you usually get a reasonable amount of comments/interactions, unlike with fashion bloggers, for example, who get tens of thousands of hits, so it’s not as easy to really form personal relations (see, it’s good to have fewer hits!). ;)

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  • Parenting makes friendships hard too, because if your kids are at different ages/stages, it’s not all that easy to just get them all together, or to find time when BOTH sets of adults can get away. My sisters are my best friends in a lot of ways. Some things that make that even easier are:
    *They were raising kids when I was single, so I had loads of time to be an auntie, and now that I’m raising kids, their kids are grown, so they have loads of time to be aunties too.
    *We all live reasonably near each other
    *None of us care if the others see our house is messy, our kids are rowdy, our hair is unwashed, etc.

    • I’m really behind with answering comments, sorry.

      Oh, yes, that’s a good point – if kids are at different ages, they have different schedules, habits, everything.

      And it’s great that your sisters are your friends as well. I’m close with my brother (and he lives like 15 minutes away from us) but his lifestyle is just so completely different, even though he’s been with his girlfriend for 10 years. He doesn’t really get that kids need to be in bed by 8 and so on. But yeah, this familiarity is great – I can be in my leggings and he won’t care how I look. :)