Charles Boyle and the art of being a selfless friend

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Karishma Jangid
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Notes on vulnerability: Why we could learn from Charles Boyle about friendship


Here's what makes Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Charles Boyle the best friend one can ever get.

Have you ever found yourself in a friendship where you are constantly playing multiple roles like that of a cheerleader, soulmate, and therapist, while your friend seems to be preoccupied with their own life? You consider them to be your soulmate, but to them, you are just another friend. Despite their insistence otherwise, their actions do not reflect the effort they put in. We have all experienced such one-sided friendships, and I am no exception. It can feel like being Charles Boyle, the sweet, empathetic, and vulnerable best friend from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, to Jake Peralta. While I do love Jake, he isn't the best example of a best friend. Given the choice, I would always prefer to be a Charles in any friendship.

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Charles is not interested in a bro-code at all. He is willingly and comfortably a Beta. Remember when Captain Holt left Jake in charge of the office? Charles was so happy to be Jake's 'Tinker Bell'. "Tinker Bell is a loyal lieutenant, Terry," he claimed. He is not confined by patriarchy. He's not afraid to show his softer, more loving side, whether as a friend or lover. The way Charles feels and acts as a lover and as a friend is very similar. He is very comfortable screaming from the rooftops about his love for Jake. He gives tough competition to Jake's wife, Amy when it comes to his love for Jake. He gets jealous too, but he is not ashamed of it. He pines after his best friend and is comfortable expressing it. For instance, when Jake's cop friend Stevie showed up to solve a case, Charles was upset but proved to be right about Stevie being a bad cop and tried to protect Jake. Charles also gets deeply affected when his friend isn't okay. Case in point - When Jake was in hiding and the stress even turned his hair grey.

Charles is often seen as meek and incapable of standing up for himself, but this couldn't be further from the truth. At heart, Charles is a child who openly expresses his grief when heartbroken and isn't afraid to give his heart away, despite having it broken multiple times before. His love is unconditional and doesn't demand reciprocation. Even on days when Jake doesn't return his affection, Charles loves him just the same. So many of us hide our love in order to seem tough. Vulnerability is scary. Not for Charles though. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He is effeminate and stands against the stereotype of a macho friend. Charles finds happiness in Jake's happiness and shares in his sorrows.

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