5 Lessons About Friendship To Absorb From Everything I Know About Love

“This is a story of great love, but it’s not the story you think it is.”

Within the first 15 minutes, fans of Dolly Alderton’s bestseller Everything I Know About Love can breathe a sigh of relief. With that short line, we’re reassured that the TV execs who worked with the author on the BBC adaptation got it.

The protagonists’ names may have changed from page to screen – the Dolly-esque character becomes ‘Maggie’, Farley becomes ‘Birdy’ – but the beating heart of the book is very much alive.

Because as anyone who’s read Alderton’s chapters and turned down their favorite pages to come back to later knows, this coming-of-age memoir turned fiction is basically about sisterhood.

Besides the typical millennial trip down memory lane (MSN messenger, uni pre-drinks, the friend who once made a comment about your thighs that you will never completely forget…) it convinces the reader of a simple but groundbreaking idea: your greatest love story is with friends.

Birdy (Bel Powley) and Maggie (Emma Appleton) in Everything I Know About Love
Birdy (Bel Powley) and Maggie (Emma Appleton) in Everything I Know About Love

One episode is the TV version filled with nostalgia, laughter and camaraderie that only young women share. And the best is almost certainly yet to come.

The show was released on the eve of International Best Friends Day, which is definitely a coincidence. But it’s the only excuse we need to look back at some of our favorite friendship takeaways from the book. We hope they make it to our latest binge watch.

5 lessons Dolly Alderton taught us about friendship

1. Friendship is a learning process

“Almost everything I know about love has been learned in my long-standing friendships with women,” Alderton writes — and it makes sense. If you’ve witnessed your BFF’s highest and lowest moments, made it through the ranks, and laughed at the mistakes, you’ve had a lifetime of lessons.

2. Friends write down each other’s history

Do you memorize the phone number of your friend’s mother? What about her childhood sweetheart? Or her deepest fear? As Alderton writes, “There is not a pebble on the beach of my history that has left them undisturbed. She knows how to find everything in me and I also know where all her things are.”

3. Romantic love is not the only kind

“If you’re looking for love and it seems like you’ll never find it, remember that you probably already have access to an abundance of it, just not the romantic kind,” Alderton writes. “This kind of love may not kiss you in the rain or propose marriage. But it will listen to you, inspire you and restore you.”

Wise words for anyone who has ever felt unloved. It’s not true.

4. Friendship changes, but that’s okay

When friends move in with boyfriends, get married, have kids, you often hear them swearing, “nothing will change!” This is a myth, but as Alderton points out, it’s not the end of the world.

“‘Nothing will change.’ It’s driving me crazy. Everything will change. Everything will change,” she wrote. “The love we have for each other remains the same, but the shape, tone, regularity and intimacy of our friendship will change forever.”

5. Friendship is the longest love of all

Keeping distance as a friend requires a commitment that is absolutely as wonderful as a long-term romantic relationship, and this is summed up beautifully in one of the very favorite exchanges from Alderton’s book.

“You’re too hard on yourself,” Farley tells Dolly. “You can love in the long run. You’ve done better than anyone I know.”

“How?” the author responds. “My longest relationship was two years and that ended when I was twenty-four.” To which Farley simply says, “I’m talking about you and me.”

All I Know About Love is on BBC One on 7th June at 10:40pm and is now available to stream on BBC iPlayer. You can buy the book here.

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