I guess my answer would be that I know my friends as much as I need to. Aside from my best friend, who I know a whole lot of childhood secrets about as well, I mostly know about my friends’ jobs, a few hobbies, their children and immediate families, and for my married friends, I know a little about their spouses. That’s about it.
Often, I’ve seen my friends start dating someone, then become serious, then get engaged and get married. I know the basics and maybe a few incidents along the way. I may hear the gripes when a boyfriend is habitually late or a spouse is a slob around the house but I don’t, for the most part, know about the romance.
So, why don’t I ask?
Firstly, I’m pretty reserved. I share some things but not everything. I keep the most personal aspects of my life and my feelings on them from my friends, even the close ones. Some of these issues are only for family. Yet, when we’re talking about a romance, most people would be happy to share their memories and stories—particularly if these are happy ones.
So, why don’t I ask? I mean, now. Why shouldn’t I? Why shouldn’t you?
For starters, we have the best cover. We’re not asking to be nosy (I mainly stick to the mind-your-own-beeswax philosophy of life), and those who know us best will know that fact. We’re asking as writers. You may even make the stretch to say that we’re asking for journalistic reasons.
Try it. What have you got to lose?
Next time you’re out with a friend, start a discussion about your writing or about romance in general. You can even use that blog post you read the other day as a conversation starter. Ask them what their most romantic memory is. If they clam up, back off. But if their face lights up then you know you might be onto something. And, best of all, you might be on your way to a story idea. Just remember to ask permission and thank your friend in the acknowledgements!