We asked Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette for friendship advice—and they delivered

Miss You Already made me cry. I don’t mean dab your stray tear with a handkerchief pretty-cry. I mean full gasping sobs, that lasted well after the end credits rolled. Miss You Already also made me laugh. Real laughs, belly laughs. And that’s the beauty of this film, in theaters today — it’s not all happy and it’s not all sad. Much like real life, it’s a smattering of both, sometimes in exactly the same moment.

The movie, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, stars Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette as best friends Jess and Milly who are going through very different times of life — Jess (the stable one) is pregnant and Milly (the wild-child) is diagnosed with cancer.

The friendship between the two women is special; it’s the type of friendship that women who have been by each other’s sides their whole lives are capable of. It’s filled with jokes old and new, and shared experiences good and bad, and a shorthand that only they understand. It’s a friendship bond so tight that these women are undeniably family.

Talking to HelloGiggles Drew Barrymore summed up the portrait of female friendship in Miss You Already and what’s so special about it: “It’s so honest and they push each other, and if someone goes off the path they kick each other’s butt to get back on the path,” she said. “And yet they, at the same time, nurture and take care of each other and lighten up a moment with humor. They’re just always there when they need each other.”

With this vision of female friendship forefront in my mind, I spoke with Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore about friendships in their own lives. Finishing each other’s sentences IRL, much like their characters do in the film, the two women went deep on one of our very favorite topics: the unbelievable power of the female bond.

HelloGiggles (HG): What do you value most in a friend?

Drew Barrymore (DB): Honesty and humor. And tough love.

Toni Collette (TC): And that you can just be yourself and accept each other even when you’re at your worst. You will when you’re at your best, you’ll celebrate each other when you’re at your best, but when you accept and love each other when you’re at your worst, that’s pretty great.

DB: Also someone who will go somewhere on a moment’s notice. Very spontaneous.

TC: Who’s just there for you.

DB: Yeah, like, let’s go here right now. Done. Great.

TC: Fill up the car! Let’s just go!

DB: Exactly.

TC: Pinpoint something on a map and take off!

DB: Exactly.

HG: What would you say is the worst thing a friend could do?

TC: Betray you.

DB: Yeah, I think not care enough to tell you the truth or work hard at the friendship. Not tell you when you’re being an ass, or to not make plans and work hard to keep the friendship together. [Those] are two qualities that would be very lazy and not the kind of friend you want.

HG: Is there a friendship moment in your own life that you’re just heart-burstingly grateful for having?

DB: My friend Nan always told me everything that I needed to hear and know in life and said things that are even things parents should tell you. And I always appreciated her tough love. I thought that was important for me.

TC: I’ve got a friend that I can call her and ramble on the phone for 20 minutes and she’ll go, “hm.” And then in one sentence reduce it to exactly what it is with an answer included. It’s incredible.

HG: Are there things that you can talk to a friend about that you can’t talk to a significant other about?

TC: Absolutely.

DB: Absolutely.

TC: Yes, absolutely.

HG: Like what?

TC: Like everything.

DB: A lot of things. I feel like female friendships are sort of rated third behind spouse and children, and I think that they’re very equal but they’re just different. So they’re not necessarily given the credit, but I think your bond especially with girls is very profound.

HG: How do you support your friends?

DB: Showing up. Moving mountains to be there. Never missing the important things. That’s a big one for me: Don’t miss the important things. I know life gets busy, and geography, and being hectic, and schedules and everything, just make it happen. Be there at those big things. Because you’ll work on the small things and have dinners, and travel, and all that stuff, but just don’t miss the big moments and make an excuse that you had to do something.

TC: Love them and let them know you’re there. You can call me anytime day or night.

HG: If you could add one woman living or dead to your squad. Who would it be and why?

DB: Pippi Longstocking. She was awesome. She taught me I could do anything I wanted to do.

TC: You know, it would actually be Maude from Harold and Maude.

DB: That’s a really good one.

TC: I love that woman so much. She’s just her own being. She just does what she wants. I really appreciate individuality.

HG: You both have daughters. What is your advice to your daughters about being a good friend?

DB: Just being a plan maker. Setting up a lot of lunches, dinners, adventures, movie dates . . . I think friendships take a lot of work. But it’s not miserable work or hard work. But really, set up a lot of times to be together, and things to look forward to, and adventures to go on, and be a planner. I think that’s very important with girls.

TC: I want both my kids to know that they can be friends with anybody. It’s so funny as you get older, I kind of had this understanding that I had all the friends I was gonna have and I wouldn’t necessarily make new ones. But I keep making new ones and it’s so wonderful.

My daughter told me, she was at school the other day and a girl she doesn’t know came up to her and said, “I want to be your BFF!” . . . My daughter didn’t know quite how to respond. It was quite a declaration. I kind of helped her through it by saying, “well, don’t deny it. She could be awesome! But maybe just kind of say, ‘let’s hang out and see how we go. We don’t have to label it!’ So yeah, not judging people, and being patient with people. Some people aren’t as obvious as others initially.

Miss You Already opens Nov. 6. Check out the trailer.

Related reading: 

Drew Barrymore opens up about her experience with postpartum depression

Drew Barrymore gets super-honest about her body image, and it’s so refreshing

[Images courtesy of Roadside Attractions, credit Nick Wall]

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