How To Write The Perfect Confidant
Every writer needs to know how to write the perfect confidant for the protagonist. There’s nothing I can’t stand more than shallow confidants in movies.
For instance, many female characters don’t have a real best friend. They would rather go alone so they can be with the love interest most of the time. But let’s be honest: typically girls are very social and many of them have a close confidant in their high school years that extends throughout their lives.
Some frequent mistakes I’ve seen when writing a confidant is that when I see these characters interact, it leaves me wondering why they’re even best friends. There’s no reason for the friendship to exist.
What Is A Confidant?
A confidant is a trusted person with whom something private can be shared with and never repeated to someone else. They often are seen as a best friend.
The confidant’s sole purpose is to serve as support. The protagonist needs to share their secrets and goals to so insert BFF number one. What exactly is shown to depict anything that resembles a friendship?
The confidant is there to be used like a faucet that is turned on and off on a whim. This makes the friendship come off as something that’s forced into the story.
Let’s examine these two friendships and what makes them well written
1. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley
What makes Harry and Ron perfect confidants? For starters, they have a lot in common like a love for quidditch. They share the same experiences too. Through the good times and bad times, the laughs and fights, they’ve remained loyal to each other because they share the same views on life.
2. Amanda and Marc
Despite them both being shallow, their friendship is the furthest thing from it. Both team up to embarrass Betty and ruin her work. Amanda acts as his beard to hide the fact that Marc’s gay when his mother is around. In return, Marc takes risks to help Amanda keep her job from Wilhelmina. They have the same liking for mischief because they share similar minds.
Rules For How To Write A Perfect Confidant
- Friendship isn’t a one way street. Show that the main character can take as much as they give in the friendship. You should depict the secondary character in a tough spot so that the protagonist can swoop in and help them out. This can be as little as the protagonist getting their dry cleaning for them.
- The confidant must have a life outside the friendship. Without the protagonist, what does the confidant do? Does the confidant have goals and dreams that have nothing to do with the protagonist? Let that confidant’s life continue when away from the protagonist.
- The protagonist has to be a reliable friend. If the protagonist is not reliable to the confidant, there could be a falling out between the friends.
- Friendship is like a rollercoaster with ups and downs. It’s alright to depict a quarrel between the friends. In life, this happens all the time and the beat goes on. It’s okay for one of them to resent each other.
- It must be an honest friendship. If you’re able to flesh out the confidant, you’ll be making the friendship more dynamic. This makes the friendship honest to the reader.
- Be thoughtful and give guidance. There needs to be a mutual sharing of advice between the friends here. Try to write at least one scene where the best friend tells their problems. The best friend is more relatable to the audience because everyone’s got problems and more often than not, they don’t relate to the protagonist’s problems. This scene will help give the main character something to give back to the confidant when they relay their problems to them.
- They have to share things. This is especially true with girls. They share clothes, shoes and other things. They even go a step further and share soda and lipstick.
- Make them have the same interests. For example, if one of them are interested in a tv show, the other one should take an interest and try to watch it with them so they can talk about it afterwards.
The word caregiver is what confidant archetypes are referred to. They’re there to aid the main character through hard times. Their morals and ethics help the protagonist be true to their character.
Being the voice of reason helps the main character stay centered. In most stories, the confidant has a place as the comic relief, and are equally as important to the story as the protagonist.
The confidant is someone for the protagonist to rely on. Arguments and rifts in the relationship can distance them, causing the protagonist to lose sight of the friendship they have.
How strong a relationship is can depend on the type of friendship the protagonist has with the confidant.
The following graph breaks down the type of friends there are.
How strong a friendship is can sometimes depend on how strong the confidant is as a character.
Confidants are nice and insightful.
When the main character isn’t aware of bad people, the confidant is able to discern and spot them. The confidant’s trustworthiness is what attracts the protagonist to them. Helping the protagonist is the confidant’s basic instinct.
Confidants come with flaws as well.
Since the confidant is very nice, they can also be very vulnerable. For instance, Ron was never a competent fighter. He couldn’t cast spells as well as Harry and Hermione.
Since they see themselves as incompetent in this regard, they lack confidence.
Luckily, this trait gives you as a writer something to work with when it comes to character arcs in your screenplay. Gripping character arcs gives your character and story depth.
Using this guide can help you write a confidant that isn’t cliche and makes the audience want to invest in. Knowing how to write the perfect confidant is important to crafting a well rounded story that people actually want to read.
Do yourself a favor and use this as a guide the next time you write.