I know. This isn’t one of the topics you expected me to write about when it comes to writing, but one important aspect that’s worth exploring is the friendships your characters have.
Friendship has a way of revealing things about the main character that few other things can. I don’t know about you, but in my life, different aspects of my personality come out depending on the friend I happen to be with at the moment. Personalities end up balancing each other out. With one friend, I tend to be the comic relief. With the other, I’m a lot more serious. It’s because one friend has a tendency to take things too seriously (in my opinion) so I’ll find ways to show her the brighter side of the equation. The second friend tends to be more rational, which brings out the more logical part of me (and the logical part isn’t a comedian).
So there are many aspects in our personalities that tend to come out when we’re around certain people. The same is going to be true for your main character. Your main character will be the focus of your story. When you introduce other characters, their personalities have to bring out something in the main character that helps to advance the plot of the story.
For example, in one story I wrote, the main character was very antagonistic toward a marriage she was trapped into. This character needed a friend who would help her lighten up and give the new husband a chance.
When writing your story, think of possible personality traits that might aid the main character along in her journey. What kind of friendships would benefit the main character the most? Think of balance. Think of how the friends you introduce to the main character can help her grow.
And make the friendship feel authentic. Let the characters have moments where they laugh, cry, get angry, and do other things friends do in real life. The friendship should feel as natural to you as your own friendships in real life. Next time you’re with your friends, think about how you feel around them. Do the words you use change from one friend to another? Like with one friend, you might talk politics. With another, you might talk about traveling. Why is it that talking to your best friend is a lot easier than talking to someone you’re not as close to? There’s a varying degree of comfort and vulnerability depending on the friend you’re talking to. The same should be true of your main character.
But, only spend time with the friends the main character needs in order to fulfill her journey. Don’t get sidetracked by meaningless conversations that do nothing to advance the plot. Every scene needs to have a point.
Also, friendships aren’t limited to human characters. They can also be between a main character and an animal. For example, it can be a boy and a dog. Friendship can take many forms, and the form it takes depends on the type of story you’re writing.