Why Doesn’t Bella Have Any Friends?

So, yeah. I saw Eclipse last night. I clearly enjoyed myself—well, duh—though I maintain that any movie that makes the entire audience laugh during what are supposed to be the really serious parts has perhaps not totally succeeded. But I got what I came for. Taylor Lautner’s my-jaw-actually-dropped-when-I-saw-them abs. Robert Pattinson’s charming-dazzling-winning-all-those-swoony-adjectives smile. (I’ve got nothing to say about Kristen Stewart here because she is just so awkward that she makes me awkward. Seriously. Except that I think she might be gorgeous. Jury’s still out.)

Looking back on the movie as I write this blog, it occurs to me that there is one pretty large void in Bella’s life: Friends. She’s so busy being in love with Edward, and loving-but-not-loving Jacob, that she’s never carved out any time for making pals. (You might argue that Alice is her friend, and I guess she’s the closest thing, but theirs is more of a sisterly relationship, don’t you think?)

Bella almost had friends when she first moved to Forks, but as soon as her man came into the picture she pretty much dropped them. Classmates Jessica and Angela didn’t understand her undying love for Edward (which is fair considering how they knew each other all of, like, a week) and she couldn’t tell them about his real, um, situation.

A friend of mine often reflects on the unhealthy nature of Bella and Edward’s relationship (we do a lot of Twilight analysis, clearly). The codependency, the neediness, the general creepiness of him watching her sleep. In Entertainment Weekly, writer Tina Jordan explains that “as a feminist and a mom” she has some issues with the Twilight series, “namely, their depiction of women and relationships.” It seems to me that the biggest problem with women and relationships in these movies (and books) is that most only have the romantic kind. In the most recent installment, the only moment of real friendship during the whole two hours is a fleeting one between Jessica and Angela (two very peripheral characters) at a graduation party.

So why did Stephenie Meyer choose to make her leading lady friendless? Bella moved from Phoenix, where she had a seemingly good life, but we never hear about her BFFs from back home. In Forks, when Edward breaks her heart, she rejects any possibility of getting over it with a girls night, and instead finds solace with the other guy who’s head-over-heels for her. Perhaps Meyer made this choice because she wanted Edward to be literally everything to Bella, and if there were friends in the picture, their relationship would be less, well, intense. But I think there was an opportunity for a worthwhile BFF story there—the real-life issues that arise when you need to keep a secret from your best friend, the friend vs. boyfriend teenage drama, all that good stuff. Giving Bella just one true pal, even someone from her past life in Arizona, could have rounded out her character nicely. And maybe a BFF could have softened her awkward jagged edges. (The Kristen Stewart/Bella Swan awkwardness thing is a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg conundrum. Whose painful-to-watch uncomfortableness around other humans came first??)

Hello, Twihards. Have you ever noticed Bella’s lack of BFFs? Why doesn’t she have any friends? Think it was a conscious choice by Stephenie Meyer? Would giving her a best friend or two would have hurt or helped the story?

16 Comments

Filed under 21st Century Friendships, Famous Friendships

16 responses to “Why Doesn’t Bella Have Any Friends?

  1. Maybe because she’s so whiny and annoying?😉 Interesting, though. I’d never thought about it.

  2. Callie

    AMAZING analysis. I happen to hate both Bella and Kristen Stewart and I am loving your chicken or egg point about that. I think part of the “no friends” thing is because Bella is supposed to be this social outcast which is why she is so easily able to a) fit in perfectly with a family of vampires and b) decide she wants to actually become one and leave her family and everything she has ever known behind. She is clearly not normal. I also think her character is vastly underdeveloped (and actually so is her relationship with Edward, if you think about it, especially compared to her relationship with Jacob). I feel like she is kind of a void. I guess if she had friends that would mean she had feelings for anyone besides Edward…and I am just not sure Kristen Stewart has the acting chops to pull that off!

  3. Megan

    It could be because it’s such a common occurrence for girls to abandon friendships for guys (despite how we say no guy is worth a friendship) that Meyer didn’t even think about it. And the REASON that we women so often disappear into romantic relationships without a thought about maintaining “other” relationships is because the culture around us tells us that guys SHOULD be and ARE everything to us. That is, single women are not as valuable because women only have value if attached to a man. Yeah, this sounds like the 60s, but there are studies/statistics/research out there pointing in that direction (the direction of sexism not being nearly as “over” as we would like to think). So, Bella’s not having any friends is actually just, um, realistic? I don’t know. Once again, I could just be being cynical from the burn of being abandoned one (or two…or….five) too many times for a guy…

  4. There is another Vampire-Trilogy-turned-four book-series called the Vampire Diaries that I adored as a tween, and I am pretty sure since Stephanie Meyer is about my age, she read and loved it too. And stole and stole and stole from it for Twilight. Which is fine, whatever, I am over that (clearly. haha), but I will say that the lead character in that story has the same intense relationship with a vampire, is torn between two supernatural loves, and ends up being a vampire herself (Oh yeah and there are warewolves).

    All the while, this character has fiercely loyal human BFFs who are there for her through it all, and you see the ache of her having to tear away from her old life and friends to be with the vampires, and it is a tale of BBF-dom and girl-power yet vulnerability as well. It is a successful story with a well-rounded female lead who goes through many life changes and goes from a popular girl to an outcast to belonging with the vampires.
    The Twilight saga would have been better off if it was enriched with a dose of this element for sure.
    But maybe Stephanie Meyer realized her book would be even more similar to the Vampire Diaries if she went that route, and then she might have been called out more on that. And that would not have been good for her book sales…

    Ok I am off my soapbox now. 🙂

  5. Just another reason why Buffy is so much better and more empowering than this Bella chick. Her friends are #1. (I’m not a Twilight fan but adore Buffy and crew.)

  6. Lisa Z

    I always thought that Bella’s obsession with younge men were a questionable example for young women, like my niece who is emo or the new thing that is different from emo. Bella is definitely a loner and may be suffering from depression, if not then perhaps she is just an introvert, I am not qualified to assess mental disorders, although it is my new hobby.

    Maybe we are supposed to identify with the introvert in Bella, I think I do.

    I think Kristen Stewart’s looks are more plain jane than the eye candy that I like to see in actresses but a good example for young ladies. The guy appearance in men also raises the bar for men’s looks which I am an advocate for. Better looking men!

  7. Well duh, BOYS (!) are what make us silly girls HAPPY! Other girls just get in the way.

    Hahaha. JK, obviously. Maybe that is why she comes to depend so much on his sister, Alice?

  8. Yah, it bugs me that she does not have any friends. I am kind of leery of girls that don’t have ANY girlfriends. It’s kind of a red flag to me. I don’t get why the author didn’t write in a friend, but I suppose since the vampire thing is so top secret, she can never really have a friend since she couldn’t share that with her…

  9. Ashley

    Ok, I happen to love Kristen and I love Bella, but there are times when reading the books where Bella’s voice bugged me, either she thought too much about certain things or she wouldn’t shut up about Edward’s beauty. I’m sorry, I couldn’t be with a guy who was so pretty that I constantly felt inferior to him. Ok, that being off my chest.

    Kristen and Bella both strike me as loners who aren’t rude, but come off that way because they are shy and dont fit in the typical mold.

    She was pretty new to Forks when she met Edward and maybe she just never really connected to the other girls, and thus latched even more onto Edward.
    However, her lack of friends is apparent in New Moon when she is broken up with and has no one, even her dad is like you need to hang out with some friends. Even in Eclipse when Edward comes back, her dad tells her she needs to hang out with the non-vampire friends and she does to some degree. The friends dont have as big of a place in the movies as they do in the books.

    I really think Alice became more of her BFF and Meyer talked about that in an interview a while back how if she had a BFF, she’d want her to be just like Alice, so thats why she wrote her that way.

  10. Ash

    I always thought it was because Bella’s too broody and creepy. I mean, if there was a girl like her in my class, I’d probably stay away from her, too. Who’d want to be friends with a vampire-obsessed girl anyway?
    In case you couldn’t tell, I’m not a Twilight fan. It’s mainly because of Bella’s waiflike, ooh-look-at-me-I’m-a-helpless-girl persona. (And when people remark that I look like her, I’m anything but pleased.)

    • Megan

      Not a fan of Twilight, either. First of all, I just don’t get what the appeal is about vampires (I’m a realist, I don’t like sci-fi, either). Also, the writing just isn’t that good, and that distracts me. I did TRY to read it, though…
      I can’t knock anyone for their obsessions, though. Mine is the Fox show “House”…which is probably, in some ways, just as bad. So hey, to each his own.😛.

  11. Hey, I didn’t think about Bella lack of friends before but thinking she lack of something. Thanks for pointing it out. Alice is supposed to be her BFF but when you think about it, she is the one that first seek her out (because of her vision).

    Bella is a loner and she’s shy but come on, Jessica, Angela and even Mike and Eric did make friends with her. She wouldn’t be sitting in the same table with them if they didn’t ask her too. Also in the book, Bella, Jessica, Angela and the gang did have the occasional lunches with the Cullens. Sort of. But, Jessica and Angela didn’t make an effort to seek Bella out also and Bella definately didn’t make an effort to keep friends.

    On the other friends side, they don’t want to intrude on the love and Bella just too wrap up on Edward. Unfortunately, I hate to say that there are friends that too wrap up on the loved one and just dropped the girl friends.

  12. Pingback: The Great Friendship Debate | MWF Seeking BFF

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