Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Welcome Wednesday: Stephanie Thomas Talks about Setting Boundaries with Boys-Who-Happen-to-be-Friends


Third grade recess at Catholic school was more of a chore than it was recess. I remember, the first time I entered into Catholic school from a public school, I was confused as to why, during recess, the boys were separated from the girls. At my school, this was the “norm” until seventh grade, when you were allowed to co-mingle. 
But, back to third grade. This segregation was particularly upsetting for me because as a girl, I was more prone to make friends who were boys than I was to making girl friends. I would have much rather been rough and tumble with the boys than play pretty, pretty dollies with the girls -- it was the tomboy in me. As I grew up, this never changed. I still much rather hang out with the guys than I do the girls. It’s just who I am. I can have a ton of guy friends, but only ever latch on to a handful of girl friends. 

When I got into high school, I found that being a friend to boys was a little more complicated than it was when I was in grade school. Feelings became mixed up and indistinguishable from each other. Did I like this guy as a friend, or was I crushing on him? At one point, I bounced around from boyfriend to boyfriend because my friends-who-were-boys would want to be boyfriends, and I’d go along with it only to find out that they really weren’t “boyfriend” material to me in the first place. They were only ever just friends...who were boys. 

In a way, the confusion really messed with my heart and my mind, and the hearts and minds of my many “boyfriends.” I didn’t learn until about my Junior year what qualified as being a boyfriend and what qualified as a boy being stuck in the “we’re just friends” category. For example, I learned quickly that at some point, the friends-who-were-boys but thought they were my boyfriends? Well, they wanted more from my friendship than just a normal friend would. It didn’t take long before I realized that I really needed to set my boundaries with my friends-who-were-boys so that they knew that they were just that -- friends who also happened to be boys. 
As I continue to write The Raven Chronicles, I am also testing the boundaries between boys who are friends, and boyfriends. My heroine, Beatrice, has a best friend, Gabe, who might even be a little more than that. They’ve grown up around each other for most of their lives, and to say they know each other well would be an understatement. But friendship starts to blossom into something more, and as the author, I have had to push Beatrice to her limits to discover what it is she actually wants from her relationship from Gabe. Does she want him to be the friend-who-is-also-a-boy, or does she want him to be the boyfriend? I won’t give you the answer to that, since you’ll have to read LUMINOSITY to find out...but I will say, it’s not an easy call to make. Not in books or in real life. 
My advice to those who are in this dilemma would be to make sure you’ve set your boundaries, and that you know what you are looking for. Do you really want your boy-who-is-also-a-friend to be more than that to you? Or are you comfortable enough with they being a constant who is always by your side? 

~Stephanie

Stephanie Thomas has been writing ever since she could put letters together to form words. When she was a small child, she would present her mother and father with self-made newspapers filled up with make believe stories and pictures. Her love for writing followed her all throughout her schooling, where she entered and won writing contests of all sorts. Stephanie decided to become an English teacher and completed her B.A. at The Pennsylvania State University. While teaching, she later went on to get her Master’s in writing from The Johns Hopkins University. She completed her very first manuscript during her graduate studies, and by the end of the program, she had completed two more. 

Stephanie is quick to tell anyone that she’s a born and raised Philadelphian, and her heart will always belong there. She moved to Baltimore with her husband, and they’ve been living there for the last five years with their doggie, Sailor, and their rabbit, Buns (aka “T Sizzle”).

To learn more, visit her website, follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.
Her book, LUMINOSITY, the first installment in The Raven Chronicles can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

My name is Beatrice. When I was born, I was blessed with the Sight. I was immediately removed from my parents and enrolled in the Institution. At the age of twelve, I had my first true vision, earning my raven’s wings. And when I turned seventeen, one of my visions came true. Things haven’t been the same since. 

The Institution depends on me to keep the City safe from our enemy, the Dreamcatchers, but I’m finding it harder to do while keeping a secret from everyone, including my best friend Gabe. It is a secret that could put us all in danger. A secret that could kill me and everyone close to me. 

But the enemy has been coming to me in my dreams, and I think I’m falling in love with him. He says they’re coming. He says they’re angry. And I think I’ve already helped them win.

So here's where we throw it out to you, faithful readers: When do you think such a call should be made? When does a friend-who-is-also-a-boy suddenly become your boyfriend? And do you think it could ever be successful? 

6 comments:

Kimberly said...

Stephanie,
I, too, ended up being friends more with the boys than girls. I wasn't a tomboy. I just didn't like catty girls. And I still don't.
I had many guy friends, and, yes, I've ended up kissing most of them. LOL. My best friend and I kissed once during spin the bottle, and we could barely get through it without laughing. Every time that bottle spun around, I'd pray it wouldn't land on Billy again. :-) Except for one time in high school, all my kisses with boys-who-are-also-friends happened during spin the bottle. Who thought that one up????
I dated one of my best guy friends through the summer after graduation. When I look back on it, I wonder if it was just a way to hang onto him. It didn't last very long, but we continued to be friends.
In the end, I married my best guy adult friend. And when I get annoyed at him, I try to separate myself from being a nagging wife and remember that FIRST AND FOREMOST he was my best friend. I should always treat him as such. So, I do believe that friends becoming more can be successful. After fourteen years together, we still manage to laugh at the same jokes, have fun together and the other stuff....well, that's just as good, too. :-)
Your book sounds awesome! I can't wait to read it.

Lorie Langdon said...

Hi Stephanie. You were one of the girls who were a mystery and source of envy to me. Being a girly-girl, I never understood how to be friends with the boys. I tried. But it always seemed to end up with them asking me out or running away (when I was younger ;-). In HS I had a few friends that were boys but I wouldn't consider them BFF's by any stretch. Maybe I had too many boundaries up?
Thanks so much for stopping by Honestly YA and sharing with us today. Great post! :D

Melissa Landers said...

Great post, Stephanie. Thanks for visiting! I had several guy friends in high school, but I don't want to say too much, because I'm blogging about the experience on Monday. :-)

Gorgeous cover, by the way! Congrats!

Rachel Harris said...

I had lots of muddling moments with my "guys who were friends" And I had one confusing relationship suddenly go from friends to boyfriend in a nanosecond when he took me to a dance and suddenly kissed me, and I didn't know what to do. Many of the others all kinda became this weird thing where some weeks it felt totally comfortable and relaxed and others were jealousy and weirdness would creep in.

But I will say, that with all that confusion, my guy friends were still easier to just get along with then my girl friends at times LOL. All that cattiness.....Yuck!

Lea Nolan said...

This a great post! Thanks so much for visiting, Steph. I hated these kinds of relationships, because more often then not, the guys who wanted to be "friends" really wanted something more. If they were cute that could be a good thing, but when there was no spark, it was horrible. I always felt bad, like I might be leading them on when I had no inclination to ever take things to the next level. But I always tried to be clear about my feelings. Didn't always work though :(

Stephanie Thomas said...

Thanks so much for your replies! I'm glad to find that I'm not the only one who went through this torture. :) Kimberly, your story is so sweet, and it reminds me that my husband also started out as a friend, and then I realized that it was much more than that and we started dating, and as they say...the rest is history. So, having boys-who-are-friends can definitely be beneficial in some instances.