Don’t Be a Drama Queen, and Other Lessons in Friendship from Anne Shirley

Don't be a drama queen, and other lessons in friendship from Anne of Green Gables. (part of the Life Lessons from Green Gables series)

Anne Shirley arrived at Green Gables, 11 years old and without a friend in the world except Katie Maurice in the looking glass.  But Anne was made for friendship–Maud Montgomery said she had a “genius” for it–and when the lonely orphan is suddenly transplanted to a new world with Marilla and Matthew, we readers get to watch as she draws a sweet circle of friends around her throughout the Anne of Green Gables series.

She found her longed-for bosom friend in Diana Barry (“A what kind of friend?” asked Marilla.  “A bosom friend–an intimate friend, you know–a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul.”), Avonlea friends Jane Andrews and Ruby Gillis, and what would Anne of the Island be without Priscilla Grant, Stella Maynard and Philipa Gordon?  (And don’t forget her “beautiful comradeship” with Gilbert Blythe.)

You can be a kindred spirit, too: Anne would be pleased to show you how to be a better friend:

Don't be a drama queen, and other lessons in friendship from Anne Shirley. (part of the Life Lessons from Green Gables series)

1. Assume the best about people until proven otherwise. “A merchant in Hopetown last winter donated three hundred yards of wincey to the asylum. Some people said it was because he couldn’t sell it, but I’d rather believe that it was out of the kindness of his heart,wouldn’t you?”

2. Be on the lookout for friends. I felt that [Matthew] was a kindred spirit as soon as I ever saw him.”

Don't be a drama queen, and other lessons in friendship from Anne Shirley. part of the Life Lessons from Green Gables series. Anne Shirley and Aunt Josephine.

3. First impressions can be wrong.Miss Barry was a kindred spirit after all,” Anne confided to Marilla.  “You wouldn’t think so to look at her, but she is. You don’t find it right out at first, as in Matthew’s case, but after a while you come to see it.”

4. Give freely. “I can give Diana half [my chocolate], can’t I?  The other half will taste twice as sweet to me if I give some to her. It’s delightful to think I have something to give her.”

5. Bring something to the table. “Anne was welcomed back to school with open arms. Her imagination had been sorely missed in games, her voice in the singing, and her dramatic ability in the perusal aloud of books at dinner hour.”

Don't be a drama queen, and other lessons in friendship from Anne Shirley. part of the Life Lessons from Green Gables series. Anne Shirley and Diana Barry, her bosom friend.

6. Be modest. “I’ve a compliment for you, Anne,” said Diana….“We heard [the distinguished artist] say ‘Who is that girl on the platform with the splendid Titian hair?  She has a face I should like to paint.’ There now, Anne. But what does Titian hair mean?” “Being interpreted it means plain red, I guess,” laughed Anne.”

7. Look for the best in others; give your best to them. “If we have friends we should look only for the best in them and give them the best that is in us, don’t you think?”

8. Don’t be a drama queen. “Anne never stooped to the petty practices of so many of the Avonlea girls–the small jealousies, the little deceits and rivalries, the palpable bids for favor.”

9. Bring out the best in others. Says Philipa, “When you look at me in a certain way…I long to be better and wiser and stronger.

10. Don’t be jealous of your friends. “Anne, there’s one thing in particular I like about you–you’re so ungrudging. There isn’t a particle of envy in you.”

Remember, “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.

This post is the second in the series Life Lessons from Green Gables. Click here to view the other posts in the series:

Lessons in Tact from Rachel Lynde.

Learning to Mellow Like Marilla Cuthbert.

Go After Your Girl Like Gilbert Blythe.

Revisiting Rilla of Ingleside.

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  1. Mrs. Zwieg says:

    Once again you have captured a favorite character with perfection! This is beautiful, thank you so much for posting!

  2. Lisa Maria says:

    What a great post! I love Anne myself. there aren’t too many people around with her positive outlook on life. Unfortunately, modern life and the values of the world are teaching us to be distrustful of others, selfish and grasping and judgmental and critical. What wonderful lessons we can learn from Anne.. thank you!

  3. Laura says:

    Who knew that there was so much to learn in those Anne of Green Gable books!!?? I must say, you have captured the essence of Anne and her relationships with friends in a most wonderful way.
    I never realized that those points were even there until you fleshed them out. Thank you so much! I know that I have many things to work on with regards to friendships-especially the “First Impressions Can be Wrong”. I usually can get a very good sense of a person upon meeting them and I’ve rarely ever been wrong. HOWEVER… I feel that my high intuition has kept me from forming friendships based on a “negative feeling” that I get. I mean, we all have faults and flaws, so what? I really need to quit thinking I’m so smart about people. ;p I have a feeling I’ve missed out.

    Great post, as always. I really enjoyed it. 🙂


  4. Jessica says:

    I always identified with Anne, especially her tendency to chatter on. “If only you knew all things that I want to say but don’t. Give me some credit.” She is the best character.

    Great post! Very poignant.

  5. Katja says:

    Just found your blog via Raising Homemakers and LOVE IT! Especially what we can learn from Anne from Green Gables! Can’t wait to see my little daughter reading it (maybe I’ll read it to her as long as it is too tough for her to read it all by herself – she just started reading)… Thank you so much! Greetings from Germany! Katja

    • Anne says:

      All the way from Germany? I love your blog title–I was a German minor in college and it cheers me that I can still read a tiny bit of the language!

      I feel the same way about Anne and my girls–I think they’ll get along swimmingly together!

  6. Rebecca says:

    Words worth a tree…printing this one out! Thank you for the time you invested in this post. My daughter and I love Anne, and this is such an engaging way to teach her about friendship.

  7. Becky says:

    Wonderful thoughts, particularly since improving my friendship skills has been on my mind lately. I also loved the earlier post on tact. I’m looking forward to the next in the series!

  8. I am SO glad I happened upon your site. LOVE it! And I see we may have some kindred spirit happening… Anne Shirley has played a key role in my own life… in fact, it was some of the Anne books that brought some healing to wounds in soul places I never dreamed were there. That’s a very long time ago and a story in itself.

    I’ve linked as a follower and look forward to reading many more of your interesting posts. So much of what I’ve read so far mirrors so amazingly some of my own ideas, thoughts and conclusions to some of life’s interesting experiences.

    Here’s wishing you glimpses of heaven in unexpected places……..

  9. Pingback: A Raiden Hat, a Bowser Tee and the Steve Buscemi Dress… WYRI? «
  10. Ellen says:

    WOW! That’s so awesome! you did a similar series to the one I am currently doing — I am so excited to read the other ones in this series!!

    I’m your newest follower! 🙂

  11. Oh, you know I’m reading the Anne series out loud to my older girls right now, don’t you???? Anne was my rock when I was a girl and she still holds such a special place in my heart. My girls are old enough to read her on their own, but I think they learn a little about me when they hear me say her words out loud. We’ve cried together and laughed together….and we’re only halfway through Avonlea! Sigh. I love this…

  12. Lacey says:

    I love Anne; I’ve read her since I was a young girl. I’ve only just noticed now though, since reflecting on the series as an adult, a flaw that disappoints me.

    Once Anne becomes a woman, she never (or perhaps rarely) makes the heedless, impulsive mistakes of her youth. Yes, she grows up. Yet, she grows up to become quite a paragon. It’s much easier to relate to Anne of Green Gables than it is to relate to Anne of Ingleside: perfect wife and mother. I realise we all mature, but our character is continually being rounded out, and Anne’s character seems to go a little too perfect in the later books. All the flaws then seem to rest on the other characters. How do Anne’s faults, which are so ingrained in her as a person, manage to disappear from age twenty onwards?

    What was Anne’s secret? I certainly don’t have it. I suspect no one else does as well; we just don’t have the luxury of being ‘written’ into maturity.

    Interestingly, I believe our biggest faults are usually the other side of the coin of our greatest strengths. Perhaps this is why the later books droop in popularity. In losing some of her faults, Anne loses some of her likeability as well?

    This is my first comment on this blog – what a way to start! Sorry for the novel.

    • Anne says:

      Lacey, that’s so interesting….Anne does grow up to be quite angelic, doesn’t she? (And her kids never quite take her place, either. They’re likable enough in the later books, but not on the same level as the original Anne.)

  13. Have you ever read LM Montgomery’s journals? She kept one from age 14 until she died in her late sixties. I picked them up about ten years ago and am reading them again with a group on my blog. Come join us!! I’m always happy for Anne (or Emily, or Pat, or Story Girl, or other fans) to join in.

  14. Hi Anne (with an “e”). Just discovered your blog through a post by Simple Mom. I saw the name “Mrs. Darcy” and just HAD to find out more. Then I saw you have another blog “Anne with an ‘E'” and realized I have found a kindred spirit. Enjoying reading through your posts. You have a new follower. Now I feel feel a weird compulsion to start Tweeting lines from Anne of Green Gables…

    • Anne says:

      Thanks so much for the kind words, and welcome! (And I don’t think it’s weird at all to want to start tweeting Green Gables lines. Please proceed to do just that. 🙂 )

  15. Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s truly informative.
    I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I will appreciate
    if you continue this in future. Many people will be benefited
    from your writing. Cheers!

  16. Faydra Jones says:

    Wow…you nailed it! Love this post so much that I linked to it from my blog too. Thanks for writing such an insightful, helpful post on friendship…& thanks to our wise friend, Anne Shirley. 🙂

    Anne of Green Gables series is one of my favorites hands down…revisit them every year or 2…they always make me laugh with joy & cry with sorrow. 🙂

  17. I stumbled across your blog doing research for my own middle-grade novel and enjoyed your article tremendously, thank you! In my novel, the heroine actually sleeps in a wild cherry tree.

    “I had made up my mind that if you didn’t come for me to-night I’d go down the track to that big wild cherry-tree at the bend, and climb up into it to stay all night. I wouldn’t be a bit afraid, and it would be lovely to sleep in a wild cherry-tree all white with bloom in the moonshine, don’t you think? You could imagine you were dwelling in marble halls, couldn’t you?”

    But, here is my favourite Anne quote: “Those who knew her best felt, without realizing that they felt it, that her greatest attraction was the aura of possibility surrounding her…the power of future development that was in her. She seemed to walk in an atmosphere of things about to happen.”

    Thank you for your efforts and beautiful blog! We are kindred spirits indeed.

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