I love this trope simply because of the connection between the two characters and the opportunities for tension that it brings. It is an easy way to provide your hero and heroine with the opportunity to meet through a mutual connection. And, the key to all tropes, it provides tension that can be used in many different ways. But what I love most about this trope is that it allows the friend, by marrying their loved one, to become part of the family. After all, what two best mates won't be happy to become brothers?
First, we'll discuss opportunity. How do your hero and heroine meet? This will be based entirely on the relationship of the character and the sibling. If your hero and his best mate are very old friends from childhood, then your heroine has known the hero for a very long time. They possibly grew up together. They could be quite good friends too. However, if the hero and the sibling are relatively new friends, then it's likely the heroine may never have met the hero.
When using the Best Friend's Sibling trope, you need to decide on not only the history between the heroine and the hero, but also the hero and the best friend.
The main tension in your novel may or may not come from this particular trope, but if it is your main focus, then you need to decide why the hero and heroine cannot be together because of the friendship with the sibling. The sibling is the catalyst in this relationship and needs to be used effectively.
First, you could use the 'overprotective brother' and how he may react when he finds out his best friend is in a relationship with his sister. Initially, he may not like the idea. There could be a history or a pact where they'd never date each other's sisters. Perhaps the brother had dated the hero's sister, and it hadn't ended well. There are many possibilities with this variation.
Or, if we're looking at the heroine falling in love with her best friend's brother, there will be a different kind of tension here. Perhaps less tension. Or the 'best friend' may be an overprotective sister. It's not as commonly seen as the overprotective brother, but it can happen.
Then there is the heroine's male best friend's brother (or the other way around) and you can use tension here with unrequited love and jealousy of the best friend.
The variations and tension possible in this trope are endless. But do remember when plotting your novel involving this trope, the sibling needs to play a role somehow, whether as the main source of tension or in a supportive role.
Throughout this blog piece, I have used the example of Hero, Hero's best friend, and the Heroine as the sister. However, there are many variations of this trope that can be used.
His Best Friend's Sister/Her Brother's Best Friend
Your hero is in love with his best friend's sister ... and heroine in love with her brother's best friend. Here, the brother is going to provide the tension or the opportunity for your characters to meet.
Her Best Friend's Brother/His Sister's Best Friend
Your heroine is in love with her best friend's brother ... and hero in love with his sister's best friend. Here, the female best friend is going to provide the tension or opportunity for your characters to meet.
Remember, the 'best friend' may not be the same sex. Your heroine may have a male best friend and falls in love with his brother. The hero may fall for his female best friend's sister. Or, if you're writing a same-sex relationship story, then the combinations may change again.
Also, you could use a best friend's cousin or step-sibling instead of full sibling.
My Favourite Best Friend's Sibling Stories
I Only Have Eyes for You by Bella Andre
As the fourth book in the original Sullivans of San Francisco series, it has already been hinted that Sophie Sullivan fell in love with her brother's best friend, Jake, when she was five years old. Jake is a bit of a bad boy and doesn't consider himself right for Sophie, but that doesn't compare to how her seven older brothers will react if he touches their 'off-limits' sister! This is a pure and lovely Best Friend's Sibling story and, with a mix of other tropes, is a wonderful tension-filled romance. But it is definitely a classic 'overprotective big brother - don't touch my little sister' story.
Savour the Moment by Nora Roberts
The third book of Nora's Brides Series, we know Laurel has a crush on her best friend's big brother. But Laurel had a tough upbringing and while she doesn't want anything, or anyone, getting in the way of her work, she also doesn't think she's good enough for Del, who's rich and from a respectable family. While this is another classic Best Friend's Sibling story, the tension here doesn't derive from the relationship between Laurel and her best friend Parker, who is supportive of Laurel and Del's relationship, but from Laurel's inner conflict.
Wayward Heart by Cathryn Hein
A mix of Best Friend's Siblings and Friends to Lovers, this is a great love story between Jasmine and Digby. While there is a lot more going on in the story as Jasmine and Digby struggle through their internal conflict, as Cathryn does so well, there is tension when Jasmine begins a relationship with her best friend's older brother. A relationship they are both determined to hide from his sister.
My Best Friend's Sibling Stories
I have written two Best Friend's Sibling stories.
In the first, my heroine falls in love with her best friend's older brother after discovering he's loved her for many years. In this story there is a strong external conflict as it's a romantic suspense, but she also has internal conflict to overcome. Her best friend is more surprised than anything when she discovers their relationship and is supportive.
In my second novel, my hero declares his love for his best friend's untouchable little sister when she finally returns to town from university. In this story, my hero is very hesitant to tell his best mate about the crush on his little sister. When his mate does discover the relationship, he's pissed but supportive. The brother knew his best mate had a 'secret crush' he was in love with.
So that is just a little bit about Best Friend's Sibling. I hope it provided some helpful tips on writing this trope and gave you a better understanding of how to use it.
Thank you for stopping by,
Until next time,
Rachel is a writer of romantic fiction who enjoys discussing tropes. This blog thread will focus on identifying different tropes of romance fiction, as well as other crime, thriller, and fantasy tropes. Rachel will share her thoughts on each trope, discuss their vital elements, and discuss books featuring each trope.