Maintaining a Friendship As You Grow


Caroline and I have been best friends since the day we met. She moved here from Florida in high school, some mutual friends introduced us one night, I called her immediately after we went our separate ways, and it was over from there. I knew that I had found my person.

Our bond came easy to us (like, insanely easy) but maintaining our friendship during the different phases of our lives takes work. It is common to hear about friendships that fall by the wayside as people’s lives change. Here are some of our takes on the different situations that we have been in during our 13+ year friendship, and our tips on how we stay as close as we are.

Distance

Ally: Caroline and Ryan moved to Florida for college and it was really tough for us. One of the things that I thought was the most helpful was making time for phone calls in addition to texting and swapping photos. While I think texting is great (we still text all day now), there is nothing like hearing the person’s voice, being able to pick up on the inflection in their tone, hear them tell jokes and laugh, and be able to tell by their voice if they are truly okay or not. I wish that FaceTime would have been a thing back then, but I absolutely would FaceTime or Skype with Care as much as possible if we were separated for any reason now.

Caroline: It is absolutely terrifying to pick up and move across the country. But doing it without my security blanket best friend was ESPECIALLY hard. I had Ryan but there is absolutely nothing like being in the same city as Ally. She is my person. The one I go to with every up and down and end of the world catastrophe (you know, like running out of mayonnaise right as you’re about to make a sandwich. Important stuff). Phone calls, texts and Facebook became our lifeline during that time. I was also very lucky that my parents are insane and demanded that I be home for every holiday (and they were footing the bill for my plane tickets so whatevs). So we were able to see each other at holiday times!

Different Stages

Ally: Being happy for a person that you love comes naturally, but I think that it is really easy to slip away from one another because you are in different stages of your life. Caroline was married and had her first daughter, Grace, well before I even met Walter. I think that the important thing here is to make time to dip your toe in both worlds. I love spending time with Caroline’s kids. Her schedule is by far the priority between the two of ours, since she is responsible for other people and my only true responsibility is to myself. Having a relationship with her two girls enriches my life, but it’s also super important to our friendship. I don’t want to be a figure in Caroline’s life, but a stranger in theirs. I also want to be able to relate when she talks about them, and be able to be an outlet for her as I am in other aspects of her life. We also make time to spend just the two of us grabbing dinner or a drink, taking a walk, going to the Cleveland Flea, even just sitting in the backyard together. It is really important that not everything that we do and say is kid friendly, because we need to maintain the adult part of ourselves and our friendship.

Caroline: As Ally mentioned, maintaining our friendship and the core of who we are and not making every conversation about kids is extremely important. She is ALWAYS there for me when I want to gush or vent about my girls. But having her be my connection to my youth and still being able to be an early 30 year old and not just a mom is so important for me. I love my children more than life itself but having Ally to have girls nights with or go to happy hour with every once in a while makes me not feel like the 80 year old that I so frequently act like.

Sharing Interests

Ally: Caroline and I send each other music, articles, YouTube videos, podcasts, blogs, Instagram pages, etc. all day long. The important thing here is to actually take the time to go listen, watch, read, whatever it might be. It is really simple when you’re younger to have a lot of the same interests when you are with each other all of the time. You would be in the car listening to the same mix CD (what would now be a Spotify playlist - we are so old!) or having a sleepover watching movies together. If Caroline is watching a movie or a show and talking to me about it, I look it up and watch it for myself. I like feeing connected to her and having an opinion on the things that are influencing her. I feel close to her when we are learning together, or sharing an experience - even if we aren't physically together. 

Caroline: I trust Ally’s opinion on things probably more than anyone else in the world. We are always open to exploring new products, art, entertainment - ANYTHING - together. Sometimes her interests are so amazingly, hilariously out there but that makes her, her and I prefer it that way. I never know if I am going to get a link to a Loretta Lynn song or a music video for a Goth Rap song. It keeps me on my toes! I also trust her opinion on art more than anyone else. Every design or idea I have goes immediately to her.

The Future

Ally: Caroline and I are completely planning our future together. Thankfully, we both are super interested in moving to Nashville and our husbands are on board. I think that no matter where Caroline and Ryan were to end up, it would be under serious consideration for Walter and I. He knows that is a priority for me. I want to be close to her children as they grow up, and for my children to know her and consider her their aunt. As we progress with Oh So Graceful and all of the places that we are interested in taking this, we would benefit from being geographically close to one another. Emotionally, I feel my best when I get to spend time with Caroline face to face, and we get to experience things together. Our bond fills me with a lot of positivity that I can turn around and apply to other aspects of my life. I don’t want to be without that!

Caroline: We’ve lived in the same city and we’ve lived apart and we definitely prefer to be in the same city. It is pretty apparent that we unfortunately won’t be able to stay in Cleveland forever, as my husband is finishing up his residency and this area is just too saturated with podiatrists. So a move is imminent within the next 2 years. Of course Ally and I discussed what cities and parts of the country we liked because we have to end up in the same city. For our and our husbands sanity.


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