• Other Friendship Advice

Talking about Friendship with NYT Best-Selling Author Jane Green

Published: June 28, 2010 | Last Updated: May 6, 2024 By | 1 Reply Continue Reading
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New York Times best-selling author Jane Green is a mother of six. Remarkably, she has written a book a year for the past 12 years. Like her other books, the newest one also focuses on the emotional lives of lives of women.

Promises to Keep, was inspired by the life and death of her real-life friend Heidi, who was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. The journey she shared with her girlfriend, accompanying her to chemo and spending time with her when she was too weak to leave her bed, profoundly affected the way Jane thinks about relationships, especially her friendships. My interview with Jane highlights some of her thoughts about that life-changing friendship with Heidi:


Jane, I know you were born in London. What challenges did you face as an expat making friendships in a new country? How did you meet those challenges?


It took me a long time to find my footing here. I moved and made instant friends through having a young child and joining a mommy and me group, but few of them were lasting. By the time a year was up, I had a core group of three who remain amongst my dearest.


How did you meet your friend Heidi, who inspired the book? What was special about that friendship?


Heidi was one of those three mentioned above. I met her first at a children’s music class. I didn’t know her name, but we cracked up laughing at the ridiculousness of the teacher. When she left, I was instantly regretful that I didn’t ask for her number. All I knew was that her name was Heidi, she had a son, and she lived on the other side of town. I spent a week trying to find her, and on the Friday I was hosting a playgroup in my yard. I was alone with my son, waiting for our regular mothers to arrive, when my garden gate opened and in walked Heidi. She had been invited by one of the regulars.

We became instant fast friends, and put our children into pre-school together, so we were together every day. She was a remarkable girl. She had more confidence and sparkle than anyone I have ever met, was utterly comfortable in her own skin, and as a result drew people to her. She was incredibly wise, and measured, and the first person I always turned to for advice.


What impact did the premature and tragic death of a friend have on your life/friendships?


I am very busy, life is very busy, and I was, I think, a somewhat lazy friend. I love them, I know they love me, but I didn’t make much of an effort. I would forget to call, and was relieved that even if we didn’t see each other often, our friendships somehow stayed the same. Going through an illness and then death of a close friend, has changed my attitudes to friendship enormously.

I learned that saying you love your friends isn’t enough; that love is a verb, it requires Acts of Love. It is all about the doing, not the saying, and now I make a point, every day, of emailing, or phoning, or making a plan with those I love.


You have four young children, a new husband with two children of his own, and an active career. How do you balance friendships with the rest of your life?


I have learned that it is imperative that I make time for my friends, that they demand to be as much a part of the mix as my family and my work, and perhaps more so, because they are not an inevitability. All relationships, be it your spouse, your family, your friends, take work, and I make sure that a part of every day is spent connecting with friends.


What friendship lessons do you think that mothers need to convey to their daughters?


Kindness, I believe, is key. Avoiding “girl drama” by not engaging and walking away. Consideration of others.


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Category: Death

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  1. Martha says:

    I just asked a wonderful friend who is dying, who has lots of friends, what her secret was. She said to keep giving, and to not be disappointed. I have been heeding her advice for the month since she gave it to me, and things are happening. The biggest difference I feel is the good feeling of not dwelling on people disappointing me. I just let it go, and my insides feel a whole lot better. And I bet that makes me a nicer person to be around!

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