Books & Writing, Relationships

What Aren’t You Telling Your Friends?

Here’s a topic which applies equally to both serenity and writing fiction.

A short time ago, a friend confided* that he was in a relationship, and he hadn’t told his family about it. No, he’s not married, and nor is the woman he’s seeing. They are both consenting adults from similar backgrounds and there is nothing – on the surface – to be ashamed of.  But my friend senses this is not a healthy relationship for him. And he had the impressive self-awareness to notice that deciding to keep this from his family is a sign that the relationship is questionable.

*I’ve changed a few details to help protect anonymity here.

Things we don't tell our friends

I was immediately fascinated by this concept. I’m not talking about secrets, which are a bigger thing altogether (and the key concept in my second novel, Secrets in the Sky). I’m talking about those small behaviours and tiny habits, which we kind-of-sort-of forget to tell other people.

As a writer, I try to be attentive to my characters, giving them both major flaws and minor personality traits. So this idea of things they might not share openly is a rich nugget for me. For example, in Sweet Pursuits, Bella’s housemate Morgan is extremely health-conscious. But she regularly eats cookies in bed.

And in terms of serenity, what a fabulous clue about a behaviour which, deep down, we suspect we should change. I’m not exactly secretive about what I eat, but I don’t broadcast every trip to the fridge to my three-meals-a-day husband. I reason that he doesn’t need to know about every morsel of chocolate I sneak… and on reflection, maybe this shows I’m not too proud of how those morsels add up.

So, realising you may prefer not to comment here: what are you doing, that you’re not telling your friends? And what might that reveal about your conscience?


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