What Writing Have a Little Faith Taught Me about Friends
Good friends know when to lie and when to tell the truth
Only your best mates can be relied on to know exactly when to make you feel better with a little fib, and when to break the painful truth to you. Great lies my friends have told me include: ‘It was delicious, I’m just not that hungry’; ‘It will grow back quickly’; and, ‘He’s probably just intimidated by your intelligence, and that’s why he refuses to talk to you, look at you, or wear that shirt woven from your own hair that you sent him’. Necessary truths my friends have (gently) told me include: ‘I’m not sure that acid yellow is your colour’; ‘You did sound just a tiny bit like a constipated donkey’; and, ‘I think you need a nap. But first you should put down that cocktail and take that saucepan off your head. And climb down from there. And let that poor cat go.’
When friends upset you it’s usually just a misunderstanding
When you’re writing about friends falling out, you can see everyone’s point of view, which has helped me realise that friends almost always have good intentions, even when they do something that upsets you. This has made me feel more forgiving about that evil thing my friend Gemma did. Obviously, she meant well and I need to keep that in mind when I think about her immense stupidity. In future, instead of remembering my ruined birthday party, I’ll think about the love in her heart as she ruined my birthday party. In fact, I’m quite prepared to just let it go. In the last week, I’ve barely even mentioned it on Twitter, Facebook, my blog, and that ‘Update on the Gemma Situation’ blackboard that I’ve put in my front window. I’ve even let her cut down her weekly apology to just the one PowerPoint presentation.
Friends give the best presents
When it comes to presents I’m quite happy with something small, you know, hair slides, chocolate drops . . . diamonds. But the best gifts I’ve ever had have been things that my friends knew would be really special to me. As a small child I desperately wanted a toy car that you inserted a penny into to make it speed across the floor. Unfortunately, my mum preferred to buy me things that reinforced gender stereotypes and prepared me the aspirationless domestic drudgery that she and generations of women in my family had suffered before me, so I got a pink dustpan and brush instead. I had no idea that I’d ever mentioned this tragic tale to my friend, but one Christmas she handed me two small packages. The first one contained a penny. ‘Wow, thanks,’ I said, ‘I’ll try not to spend it all at once.’ Because it’s always nice to say something sarcastic to a person who is about to do something incredibly sweet for you . . . Yes, the other gift was the shiny penny-powered car of my childhood dreams. And this was in the days before eBay. It had taken her a lot of time and effort to get hold of that car. And a crowbar. And possibly some Mafia connections and a dodgy Russian accent.
Friends make everything funny
When I started writing Have a Little Faith I thought I’d get professional and gather some material. This meant that whenever one of my friends said something funny I’d shout, ‘Stop! Say that again! Slowly! Spell any difficult words!’ and I’d scramble about looking for a pen to write down their hilariousness. But when I got round to reviewing the meticulous notes that I’d written in mascara on the back of a Starburst wrapper, I found that away from my friends, the jokes weren’t so funny. The best comedy comes from knowing people really well and having a history with them, and while if you work really hard you can sort of recreate this in a story, it made me really appreciate the way my friends and I can have a laugh without me having to write a character profile on anyone.