How To Avoid Writing Shallow Love Interests & Shallow Best Friends

Shallow love interests and shallow best friends are disliked for good reason - they're almost always boring, and they usually feel downright fake and/or just plain pathetic. So how can you avoid making them?

The first step is to know which traits and characteristics to watch out for. Your character might be a shallow love interest or shallow best friend of these if any of the following are true:

So what can you do to stop a character from becoming a shallow love interest or best friend, or to fix a character who already is one? First, ask yourself: "What does or could my character do or care about that doesn't solely or primarily benefit a friend or love interest?" Then ask yourself, "How can I use this to progress the story in some way, or use it to set up a new plot or subplot?" Once you've got these figured out, you're well on your way to keeping your character from falling into the shallow trap.

Mainly, avoiding a shallow love interest or a shallow best friend is about making sure that not all of your character's defining traits and actions end up relating to or primarily benefiting a love interest or friend in some way. Or to put it another way, a character who is totally loyal and loving and will do anything for another character is probably a shallow love interest. A character who is proactively following a dream of trying to make the world a better place, has lots of friends, and bangs another character on the weekends simply because that character is hot probably isn't.

This is not to say that being loyal and loving makes a character shallow - not at all! - but rather, it's a lack of any other character-defining traits that does it. It's not about the scale of your character's interests, but the scope. Shallow love interests and shallow best friends are not defined by what they see in or want from a particular character, but rather by how that character is ultimately the only thing that really matters in their lives. So figure out what else really matters to your character, and make it relevant.

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