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

Dolly Alderton's bestselling book was an ode to female friends and now – phew! – the TV show is, too.
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BBC

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

Within the opening 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 working on the BBC adaptation alongside the author got it.

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

Because as anyone who has pawed Alderton’s chapters and turned down their favourite pages to return to later will know, this coming-of-age memoir-turned-fiction is really about sisterhood.

Alongside the quintessential millennial trip down memory lane (MSN messenger, uni pre-drinks, the boyfriend who made a comment about your thighs one time that you’ll never quite forget...) it convinces the reader of one simple yet game-changing idea: your greatest love story is with friends.

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

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

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

5 lessons Dolly Alderton taught us about friendship

1. Friendship is a learning process

“Nearly everything I know about love, I’ve learnt in my longterm friendships with women,” writes Alderton – and it makes sense. If you’ve witnessed your BFFs highest and lowest moments, you’ve come through the rows and laughed at the mistakes, you’ve had a lifetime of lessons.

2. Friends chronicle each other’s histories

Know your friend’s mum’s home phone number off by heart? How about her childhood crush? Or her deepest fear? As Alderton writes: “There isn’t a pebble on the beach of my history that she has left unturned. She knows where to find everything in me and I know where all her stuff is too.”

3. Romantic love isn’t the only kind

“When you’re looking for love and it seems like you might not ever find it, remember you probably have access to an abundance of it already, just not the romantic kind,” Alderton writes. “This kind of love might not kiss you in the rain or propose marriage. But it will listen to you, inspire and restore you.”

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

4. Friendship changes, but that’s OK

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

″‘Nothing will change.’ It drives me bananas. Everything will change. Everything will change,” she writes. “The love we have for each other stays the same, but the format, the tone, the regularity and the intimacy of our friendship will change for ever.”

5. Friendship is the longest-term love of all

Staying the distance as a friend takes a commitment that’s absolutely as magnificent as any long-term romantic relationship, and this is summed up wonderfully in one of our very favourite exchanges from Alderton’s book.

“You’re too hard on yourself,” Farly says to Dolly. “You can do long-term love. You’ve done it better than anyone I know.”

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

Everything I Know About Love is on BBC One at 10.40pm on June 7 and can be streamed on BBC iPlayer now. You can purchase the book here.

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