By Trix Wilkins

Photo design courtesy of Canva

Great friendships can start in the most obscure and smallest of ways – Despite being neighbors, because of his grandfather’s reservation Jo and Laurie only met because Laurie had returned Beth’s cat over the fence and they got to chatting about cricket.

A good friend will find a way for you to enjoy what looks to be a potentially boring and awkward social situation – When Jo is forbidden by Meg to do anything that might show others the burn on her dress, Laurie suggests dancing in the hallway to allow her to dance freely without worry.

A generous gift is all the more special for it being a secret – After giving away their Christmas breakfast to a poor starving family, the March sisters are surprised with a lavish replacement feast (Laurie never admits to it being his idea, but his grandfather reveals the fact).

It’s good to share the fun of your ‘secret club’ with those who are lonely – Jo invites Laurie to be part of the March sisters’ dramatic society in which they act out plays and compose stories for their own publication, and overcomes her sisters’ initial reluctance to admit him.

Teaching friends new things can be a great deal of fun – Laurie teaches Jo the German step he learned from abroad; Jo teaches Laurie how to win graciously at croquet (especially when one’s opponent has evidently cheated).

It’s important to stand by our friends, especially when they have made embarrassing mistakes – When Jo hosts a dinner party that she has cooked herself with disastrous results, Laurie “manfully” eats through it and tries to make the evening fun for all, breathing not a reproachful word.

Keeping a friend’s secret for a time can increase everyone’s delight in it – Laurie keeps Jo’s to-be-published stories a secret at her request so she can surprise the rest of her family, and the fact that he had telegraphed Mrs March for Beth’s sake to come home.

Friends mend their quarrels, then help each other deal with the consequences – After a fight, Jo and Laurie attempt to go to each other’s houses to reconcile and end up meeting halfway (literally!); Jo helps Laurie repair relations with his grandfather following his prank on Meg and John.

We should try to fill the gap when our friends have a moment of weakness, to save them a lifetime of regret – Laurie moves quickly to rescue Amy when she falls through the ice, as Jo freezes for some moments unsure of what to do and as she struggles with resentment over Amy’s burning her book.

Friends love visits when they are sick – Sometimes friends just want us there, just simple conversation and a listening ear, and appreciate being cared for when they are unwell. Jo visits Laurie with Beth’s cats, blancmange, and a supply of Aunt March stories.

Sometimes risky bold speeches to those who intimidate us, for the sake of our friends, are in order – Jo bravely yet respectfully talks to Mr Laurence about his parenting of Laurie; Laurie admonishes Meg for her “fuss and feathers” in part out of his promise to Jo to look out for her.

Friends appreciate openly expressed affection and esteem – Jo praises Laurie for his musical skill and his telegraphing Mrs March; Laurie answers Fred Vaughn’s impertinent question, “Which lady do you like best?” with, “Jo, of course.”

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