Editor's note: Every Friday, HLN will bring you the "My First Time" series. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with sex (get your mind out of the gutter!). But it does explore the first time your favorite celebrities did something significant or memorable.
In this installment, actress Ari Graynor, along with the cast of “For a Good Time, Call…” — a film that portrays various stages of female friendship, from the late-night laughs to the drag-out fights — talks about their first best friends.
HLN: Who was your very first best friend?
Katie Anne Naylon: When I was 8, Samantha knocked on the door and said: “Do any kids live here?” My mom pushed me out the front door, like, “We’ve got this one and she’s about your age.” Samantha said: “Do you want to go to the park?” Of course, when we went to the park, we got into a disagreement and I had to find my own way home because we had just moved and I didn’t know where I lived. My Hypercolor T-shirt got all agitated, and I was all different colors. Then she actually came over and apologized and we ended up being friends and going to the same college, and we’re still in touch today.
Lauren Miller: Brooke and I met because she lived in my neighborhood. My mom took my brother and me on a walk, and she and her brother were outside playing. I was 2 and she was 1½ -- we were babies! I don’t really remember this, but what I do remember is they had woods next to their house and her brother said: “There are ducks in there!” There were no ducks -- it was a trick! There were a lot of bees in there though! And I got stung and found out I was allergic, but it really created an amazing relationship between Brooke and me. We would spend every Saturday together at her mom’s -- I called her mom my Saturday mom -- and she was in my wedding last fall.
Ari Graynor: Julia is my mom’s best friend’s daughter. We would always go to Cape Cod for the summers and we basically spent every day together since we were little girls. One summer -- I was 3 and she was about to turn 4 — we carried our dolls that looked like babies everywhere with us. And we would pretend to breastfeed them on the beach! We had strollers for them and we would make our moms buy us real diapers for them. And the two of us would sit on the beach with the fake babies to our boobs, complete with the towels, covering them. We got in some massive fights in our childhood, but we were both only children and we’re still family friends today.
Jamie Travis: I have to say that all my life I’ve always been friends with girls. I was that kid who was, like, “I don’t want to hang out with the boys!” So it’s funny when I read the script (for “For a Good Time, Call…), it was such a female-driven thing, and when I met these girls, I just said: “This is my posse! These are my people!” So this is a reflection of the best friend I never had.
HLN: What was it like working with all these girls?
JT: I love women … as friends! I find women so much more interesting. It’s funny, because when I was looking at scripts to direct, I read all these really testosterone-driven things that I really couldn’t connect to. I just feel like I connect to the psychology of women and I understand the closeness of their friendship. And working with these women has been amazing — I feel very close to them.
HLN: So, Lauren and Katie —you guys have been friends since college, so let’s talk about that friendship. What did you think of each other when you first met?
KAN: I think I prejudged Lauren. I thought that she seemed like she came from this really nice family, and she was … .
LM: I had long hair, I was wearing a Dave Matthews t-shirt, I asked where the recycling was -- all really awful things!
KAN: I just saw things that made me think, “Oh man … .”
AG: The most annoying person in the world, clearly!
HLN: So how did you become best friends?
KAN: It was really weird. I just thought, “Ugh, this girl’s not my type!” Lauren’s very specific: She has to go to sleep with her sound machine every night, and she has to have a clear shower curtain, and she doesn’t drink carbonation, and she doesn’t chew gum. And Lauren’s good at everything! It was very intimidating for me because I’ve never been around a Lauren in my life. And I love Lauren! So it just took a second, a beat, for me to realize what a great girl I had on my hands.
HLN: What was that one moment that sealed your friendship?
LM: Early on, I taught Katie how to make a jeans skirt out of her jeans! And I think that was a bonding moment for us.
KAN: We also made a late-night run to get white T-shirts and doilies and gold spray paint, and we spray-painted these cool designs on wife-beaters.
LM: And we bought lace trim and I remember we glued it onto the sleeves!
JT: Aw, they bonded over arts and crafts!
KAN: And then I taught Lauren how to do really dirty things! NO, just kidding!
HLN: Your film represents real female friendships: How women think and what they talk about, but also how they fight. Women can get mad at each other and be judgmental for no reason, and they can be stubborn and hold a grudge. Has that ever happened to you in real life?
AG: I think that women can be very passive aggressive and I think as you get older, you become more communicatively confrontational. That’s what I really loved about when Lauren and Katie do come up against a conflict in the film: The way their frustrations are laid out is both honest and really painful because they’re both hurt. That kind of conversation felt real. And then the makeup -- the friendship makeup is just the sweetest!
HLN: How do you get to the makeup part, though? What’s your advice to women on how to get over a fight and move on?
LM: I think that women often have a lot of judgment toward other women. It’s natural and it’s human and that’s fine, but I think that if you can let some of that judgment down, you’ll find that someone who peed in your hair 10 years ago could become your best friend.
KAN: Oh, and Ari said something really great the other day: Keep a gay best friend around, because then you’re not competitive!
AG: It’s true! The reason why women and gay men friendships are so strong is because with women, there can be a sense of competition, and with straight men, there can be sexual tension. But a gay friend takes it all away!
HLN: Is there anything you wish girls could learn from a male friendship?
LM: My husband (Seth Rogen), he’s always so flabbergasted when I don’t confront a situation, but girls really don’t do that. When he’s mad at his best friend, he’ll just say: “Dude, you really messed up,” and the other guy will say: “Yeah, I really did -- sorry!” And it’s over in five minutes. No one hangs on to anything. Girls hang on to stuff.
AG: And talk about it with everybody else besides the person they’re mad at.
KAN: But there are certain women who do confront things head-on and they get singled out! Sometimes, we’re really impressed by them, like, “Oh wow, I wish I could be more like so-and-so.” But then also it’s like, “So-and-so is a See You Next Tuesday” or “She’s really off-putting.” I’m personally very outspoken and assertive but also very nonconfrontational. Even in talking to Jamie sometimes, when I ask him for advice, he’ll say: “Why don’t you ask her this and tell her you’re feeling this way?” Sometimes you just need someone to remind you that you can do that.
HLN: What do you think girls do well that guys could learn from in a friendship?
JT: They allow themselves to get close.
LM: Again, with my husband and his best friend: They don’t hug. At our wedding, they didn’t hug each other! And that’s sad to me.
AG: I also think it’s funny when guys go to dinner with friends and they come back, and I’d say: “So, what’s going on with them? Are they in a relationship? What are they doing for work? When are they going on vacation?” And they just go, “I don’t know.” The answer is “I don’t know” to every single fundamental question! So what did you talk about? “I don’t know…”
HLN: What’s the one thing you hope your viewers learn about friendship from the film?
AG: I hope people realize that by really opening yourself up to friendship, you’re able to open up to yourself.
KAN: It’s true: Once you’re willing to not be guarded, you can acknowledge who you really are. That’s what’s really beautiful about the story: As Lauren and Katie reveal themselves to each other, they fall into who they really are. And that can happen in a romantic relationship or in a friendship. And not every relationship takes you to your grave. Not every friendship is forever or is the right one, but some of them really are and they’re right there for the taking.