This is a trope that when identified in a blurb, I'll immediately take more interest. I have written many, many friends to lovers stories. And I guess that is because, personally, I'd prefer to form an unromantic relationship before falling in love.
From a friend, you don't hide as much. A friend can tell you anything. You can tell a friend anything. And having this relationship already formed before deciding to spend your life with someone can form a much deeper connection between your characters. So let's discuss some vital aspects to a friends to lovers story.
Obviously, if your characters are friends then they have a history together. How long that history is, that's up to you. Your characters could simply be workmates who consider themselves friends but have only known each other for a year. Or they could have been friends since university, high school, or even childhood.
Depth of Friendship
There are different levels of friendship and to discuss this, let's look at some iconic friends to lovers stories from TV. How much do your characters share as best friends?
Monica and Chandler from Friends
Before drunk Monica fell into Chandler's bed in London, they were the best of friends, a friendship that didn't suffer even as they began sleeping together and forming a deep, lasting love affair that we know will last forever long after they walked out that door in the final episode. There wasn't much neither Monica or Chandler would share with each other before they became a couple.
Why are they not together?
Because they are friends isn't good enough and cannot be the only factor. This is frustrating for the reader because if that is all that's holding you back, get over it and just accept it already! So consider what else could be holding your hero and heroine back. Is there distance separating them? Does life continue to get in the way? Do they have internal conflict factors that make them afraid to tell the other how they feel as they continue to tiptoe around the truth? Are they in denial?
There are many, many reasons of to why friends might resist falling in love, but when writing this trope, try to think deep and don't let the 'but we're friends' be the only factor that keeps them apart.
My Favourite Friends to Lovers Story
There are far too many to count!
Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern
Even after more than ten years, I still claim that this is probably my favourite book of all time. Even though I hate it to bits and threw it across the room the last and second time I read it. This is the most frustrating story I've ever read as Rosie and Alex, friends since the age of five, struggle through fifty years of attraction and missed opportunities to finally fall in love. This is an epistolary novel (composed entirely of letters/emails/text messages) and a truly gripping read. If you have seen the movie Love, Rosie, but not read this book, disregard the movie and dive into the real story. Alex and Rosie, two best friends who can tell each other (almost) anything, deserve to be in love. But they keep putting other things first and lose their opportunities until they finally manage to admit that they love each other.
Wallbanger by Alice Clayton
Unlike the title and cover implies, I do not consider this much of an 'erotic' novel as eighty percent of this story is very sweet and a little steamy romance. A few nights after Caroline moves into her new apartment, she's awoken by the banging of the headboard and orgasmic moans from next door. Night after night this occurs ... and it appears this man has different women! Finally fed up with little sleep, Caroline marches next door ... where she meets Simon. Long story short, Caroline and Simon start to become friends and despite the fact she's insanely attracted to him and her orgasm has apparently left her, Caroline refuses to become part of Simon's harem. Friends though, she can do.
In this story, I love the close friendship Simon and Caroline form, increasing the tension on the page as you keep flipping until they finally give into their feelings and let themselves be more.
Dear Banjo by Sasha Wasley
This was a truly frustrating Friends to Lovers book that drove me bonkers. Willow and Tom grew up on neighbouring cattle properties and have always been the best of friends and at age 15, made a blood pact to never do anything to ruin their friendship. Willow knew her intentions when suggesting this, but Tom didn't realise she meant never to fall in love. Then, after Willow leaves for university, she and Tom don't see each other for ten years. If only, though, she had opened those letters he sent to her all those years ago ...
When Willow returns home, Tom continues to be hurt from the events surrounding Willow leaving. But when he learns she never read those letters until just now before she returned, their friendship re-blossoms. But Willow remains resistant to falling for Tom ... all because she 'doesn't want to fall in love'.
While it's easy enough to understand Willow's reasoning, Tom is such the lovable hero that you want to shake Willow into her senses! The resistance between these two creates great tension until the novel is unputdownable, which is what every author wants to achieve. This is definitely one of my favourite friends to lovers stories.
My Friends to Lovers Stories
As, probably, my favourite trope, I often use friends to lovers in my work. However, one of my favourite manuscripts, Blinded, is what I hope is a deep and beautiful love story of two childhood friends finding love.
Five years after Lorelei left her family vineyard, choosing her rich, pompous boyfriend over her family, she is at the alter about to marry the cheating scoundrel when she realises she's made a mistake. She knows the only place she can go is home as her parents will forgive her anything. But how will she face Bennett, her neighbour and childhood best friend?
I hope that helps explain a bit about the Friends to Lovers trope and why it's a fun and tension filled storyline and one you shouldn't avoid. The depth of connection between Friends to Lovers characters is often greater than those who have just met, so go ahead and write about two friends falling in love. If you do, I'm guaranteed to be interested in reading it!
So, thanks again 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.