You’re about to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip with some new friends. But that morning, your best friend tells you she tried to sabotage your plans so you wouldn’t get to go. Why? Because she hates seeing you break out of your shell and do something without asking for her advice.
But she knows it’s not your fault. It’s hers. Since she doesn’t have her own life goals, she got used to being your mentor and made you her priority. Now that you don’t need her help anymore, she feels worthless. She wants to end your friendship.
That’s what happened in the latest episode of A Place Further Than The Universe.
I’m sure I’ve seen this twist before. The best friend (or love interest) gets tired of being the main character’s cheerleader, so they decide to go their own way. What I like is that it highlights a common problem with these characters. As the writing advice site Springhole.net puts it, a shallow best friend (or shallow love interest) tends to have one of more of these traits or behaviors:
- They have no interests or passions that don’t involve the main character. Even if they try to have a separate interest, they give it up quickly and go back to the main character’s side.
- They’ll immediately set aside everything for the main character.
- They’ll forgive anything the main character does, even if it’s serious.
- They have few or no defining traits other than perfect devotion to the main character.
- They care for little or nothing but the main character’s happiness and well-being.
In other words, the mark of a shallow best friend (or shallow love interest) is how the main character is “ultimately the only thing that really matters in their life.” They live for the main character. Their own goals and dreams are meaningless — or they’re designed to relate directly to the main character’s story.
These relationships are usually one-sided. The main character reaps most (if not all) of the benefits, and the best friend (or love interest) gets nothing but the main character’s affection. It might sound like the best friend (or love interest) is showing selfless, unconditional love, but they’re really just being used. Having them realize this is a great way to jumpstart their development. It forces them to ask some tough questions: “Who am I without him/her? What’s my purpose? What do I want for myself?”
I had a hunch that Megumi might be feeling unneeded now that Mari’s making her dreams come true. But I didn’t think it would lead to this. And she sure didn’t hold back her feelings:
Yesterday, when you were talking, I finally realized. You weren’t the one hanging on, I was. Having you rely on me, consult with me…me getting exasperated with you, pretending to mother you, acting so smart around you… Because if I didn’t have that, I didn’t have anything.
Wow. Imagine if every best friend or love interest had an “a-ha” moment like this. I wish this would happen in some of the other shows I watch.
I have a lot of respect for Megumi as a character now. What will she do while Mari’s gone? I hope we get to find out.