Friendship: A Love Story

Friendship: A Love Story

It’s no secret we are very fond of writing about love and all its faces here. Which is why I am surprised it has taken us this long to write about one of the most beautiful love stories - adult friendship. The way it begins, all its nuances and complexities, the rich intimacy and the exploration of self and growth within that safe space make it pretty fantastic subject matter. Real adult friendships create a space to laugh, overreact, cry, learn and open up your worldview - I personally have learnt more about myself through the very diverse love of my friends than any romantic relationship has taught me. So we asked eight wonderful wāhine to let us in on their love story.

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Sez.jpg

Tell us the story of how you met!

Sez: Well that is kind of a two part act: The first verbal meeting was when I interviewed Mon for her job over the phone - me in Auckland, her in London. I was running late, forgot to ask many questions, and at the end said "we should get a drink when you're home!" which on reflection was not professional. Then we MET met for the first time properly when she came in for her first day! (Spoiler: She got the job). On that day we got sandwiches for lunch and she did an Insta Story of me putting on a Ghillie suit. It went from a "here is how to manage the section" to a "do you think I should buy these culottes or will they make me look 'hippy'" type of relationship in approximately 6 minutes and 30 seconds.

Mon: On the phone! I was overseas, interviewing for Sarah's old job at Newshub and nervously awaiting her call from my London bedroom. She texted to say that she was running late and extremely sweaty, which I instantly related to. I'm not entirely sure how much work stuff we actually covered during our chat, but Sez wrapped things up by saying that whatever happened with the job, we would grab a wine when I was back in Auckland. I hung up and kind of stared incredulously at the phone for a minute, unsure whether I had scored a sweet job or embarked upon a beautiful friendship with a person I'd never met. Turns out, both!

 

A favourite memory?

S:We got wildly lucky and got to review a hotel together which was like something out of an episode of Gossip Girl. We got put in a luxury suite with free champagne, a doughnut wall and a dinner voucher, and fluffy robes and basically acted like children if you gave them free champagne and a doughnut wall. We drank bizarre cocktails at dinner and talked at each other about everything that had ever happened in our lives/relationships/families until 2am.

 M: It’s got to be the night we stayed in a beautiful boutique hotel together for a travel story. We hadn’t even known each other that long but I couldn’t have been happier to be holed up with her, eating donuts, ordering weird cocktails and eating our combined body weight in food. The waitress at the restaurant got increasingly annoyed at us when she had to come back three times to get our order because we couldn’t stop telling each other our entire life stories. That was also the night I learned Sarah is the best girlfriend of instagram one could ever hope for: honest and skilled. I’ve never felt so good about myself while also being told we definitely need at least five more takes to get the shot.

 

What’s something you admire in her?

S:There are so many things I have to narrow it down to a few. She is one the funniest people I know, effortlessly charismatic and can be dropped into any situation or conversation and swim like a duck. (Do ducks swim? is that a real analogy? who knows?) (Animal enthusiasts probably.)  She's also such a powerful lady boss, and smashes her job out of the water at all times. Her content is so funny and insightful; it both entertains and intimidates me. She also drinks like a fish which of course I enjoy, being a similar fish. God so many animal references in this answer.  

 M:  Firstly, she calls everyone around her things like 'bub,' 'sweetheart' and 'honey' in a way I've always wanted to, but have never been able to pull off. I think it has something to do with the fact that every human she comes into contact with instantly falls in love with her, but I'm still investigating. If it were humanly possible, she'd happily attempt to move a literal mountain for the people she loves, regardless of how sweaty it would make her. She's got a giant heart that she wears on her sometimes grubby sleeve and she's incredibly generous, empathetic and cries at YouTube videos of dogs even more than I do. I’d love to have the confidence to be as unabashedly myself as Sez is, too. Come to think of it, I suspect that ties into the whole ‘everyone loves her’ thing.

Can you describe a way/area the other person has helped you grow?  

S: Well firstly she helps me understand when I'm talking in a way that’s inappropriate for the workplace; approximately 16 times a day. Our co-workers are probably grateful for that. More than that, having such a strong and badass gal next to me has allowed me to speak externally in a way that sometimes I only did internally. We can go from cracking jokes to talking seriously about gender representation in a single conversation.  And she gives me permission express certain emotions I previously might have been embarrassed about - especially within my friendships and my relationship. She's a listening ear at all times, and I'm very grateful to have a full time friend/ part time therapist FORCED to sit beside me HA! Man I'm worried about her reading this. It’s really going to ruin this cool, stand-offish vibe I pride myself on.

 M: Despite taking the first bite of all of my food without asking, I’ve learned Sez is a great human to have around in a crisis. She’s helped me smile through some tough times, and had my back without hesitation, when I didn’t even know I needed it. For the less major issues, like when I get upset because I can’t decide what to have for lunch, she’s always ready with an impromptu desk aerobics class, well-timed meme or breathing exercise. She’s a walking master-class in loving yourself and I’m hoping I’ve picked up a bit of that along the way. Until I’ve nailed it though, I think I’ll stick to stealing her jokes and saying them way louder than her, which has so far been a great boost for my self-esteem.

Tell us the story of how you met!

Naomi: When I very very very  verrrry first met Abigail (we barely met) I turned up to a friends BBQ and she was there in all her long limbed beauty and we basically ignored each other the entire night. We actually met properly  some time later when we worked on an exhibition together, I think.

Abbey: We met through mutual friends and then realised a couple of years later that we’d had lots of similar experiences, both artists travelling overseas and working with justice issues. I was involved in a campaign at the University of Canterbury and asked her to do an exhibition of her photos.

How did your friendship grow from that point?

N:  We bonded over our outlook on life - particularly with art and using it to speak about social justice issues. And we frequented Smash Palace for a bowl of chippies and a Bodgie . Also we both had a rough 2016 and that really cemented our friendship. Really I think it’s most things that binds two humans. Heart ache, heart full, uncontrollable laughter, locking keys inside a running car, swimming , the local pub, tragic mistakes, tragic dates, 90’s rom coms, crying in public etc.

A: We were sort of going through similar things at the time. Feelings of being lost/heartbroken/confused about life. We drank a lot and did some pretty crazy things but it was nice to have someone going through the same things too. And she got me a job with her at the blog she worked at- she was the photographer and I was the writer and we got to road trip different places, eat food and get paid for it, so that was alright I guess.

What’s something you admire in her?

N: She’s loyal. She’s always fiercely seeking truth. She is so smart, she’s the most bizarrely brilliant, beautiful human I know.

 A: Her empathy. She is very understanding with people from every walk of life. And she’ll always give you her honest opinion even if it’s not what you want to hear. She’s also a real softy even if she pretends she’s not.

A favourite memory?

N: Honestly I think it’s just whenever we have laughed our faces off. There is a lot of zooming in on photos of our faces. There was one time she accidentally hit on this young guy working at a cafe and she literally crouched behind the counter out of embarrassment when she realised what she’d done.

A: She sat with me for three hours while I bawled my eyes out at a cafe, then transferred me to local dumpling restaurant and fed me while I continued to cry. Grim time of my life but don’t know how I would have got through it without her compassion and commitment.

Can you describe a way/area the other person has helped you grow?  

N: She has always encouraged me with to keep pressing into the things that I’m passionate about. She has this sort of belief in me that I’m yet to grasp, but it’s very nice.

 A: When you’ve travelled a lot it can be hard to sit still and be in one place for a while, but she’s taught me a lot about the beauty of community. I think we’re both trying to become healthier, happier people. Life is not black and white but can be pretty confusing sometimes. She finds grace in the simple things of life like sitting in the sun and swimming in the ocean.

Emily.jpg

Tell us the story of how you met!

Emily: We were friend match-made! Niki was introduced as my new BFF and I was like, "wow okay, I really hope we get along." She was fresh in town from the USA and fortunately, she was very cool!

Niki: Within the first few days of me moving to Hong Kong, multiple people told me about this girl I would be BFF's with. My first case of friend match-making!

How did your friendship grow from that point?

E: Miserably! I had sinus infections so often, I always cancelled plans and then ended up in hospital about 5 times over the next year, so I was pretty focused on working and getting through life. I quit every extra commitment and would go home and sleep early. So our friendship was actually a slow burn for a long time. Once I got better, we started to do a lot more together.

N: It took me quite a while to really realize that we were more than just casual friends. The first few months we were friends she was really sick, so we didn't get to hang-out as much as we had planned. But I knew I wanted to be friends with her! After she got healthy again, we steadily got to do more and more things together and as we got to know each other, I realized we were actually friends.


What did you bond over/experience?

E: I remember this time we had planned to meet up and a friend text me that could sneak me into a Neyo concert at the Formula one. So I asked if Niki was up for it and she was dead keen. Where we ended up was actually this section reserved for models and VIPS... We were completely underdressed and laughing about the whole situation. Afterwards, I was overly confident and led us down this weird dead-end alleyway and found a group of guys peeing against a wall. And she couldn't stop laughing at how I led her down this weird alleyway. Eventually, we found free-flow sangria and both shared really personal stuff that was going on in our lives. I wanted to keep her forever after that point.


N: In 2017 we were both going through very similar boy problems and she was so kind to me and always there to help me. Acts of service and time spent are my biggest love languages, so I felt a lot closer after this experience. On a lighter note, I feel like we have been to every high-tea Hong Kong has to offer. And the strongest friendships are built on a rock of deep conversations and delicious pastries.


What’s something you admire in her?

E: From day one, Niki has always been the most patient and chill person I've ever met. She really is such a loyal friend and very empathetic. But I mean this with a diverse set of people - not just people that are like her. The world talks a lot about creating genuine community and that doesn't look like a group of people that think and talk like you. Genuine community is choosing a diverse set of people and saying, yeah I'm gonna love you. She does this so well and it's not a hero complex, it's just real compassion and empathy. I really lack that same level of patience.  Plus, my girl knows how to plan a party! I've never met anyone who can coralle a group of friends together and have all the ducks lined up, while remaining so chill and nonplussed. There's not a detail out of order but you would never know by her manner. A-type without any of the stress. I'm still learning.

N: I think Emily is so grounded and wise!! I love getting her thoughts on situations. She has a perspective and maturity that I wish I could have. The way she is able to articulate and word things is so beautiful. Also. She is such a wizard in the kitchen! Anytime she would invite me over for dinner I would clear my schedule and be there.


Pls share a favourite memory!

E: We holiday so so well. So I could talk about how we've totally destroyed our expectations of a honeymoon because we've had the best summer and winter holidays. But I think my fav memory is this one time we got dropped off at 4am in the pitch black and climbed 950m to see the sunrise and the chats + beauty were just next level. Just at the right timing, we realised we had climbed above the clouds and as we looked back, we saw this tiny ridge we had been laughing and walking all over. Apparently, we had started from the opposite end to everyone else but that suited us fine because we were completely in our own world as we trailed across this peak.

N: This is such an easy question- sunrise hike to the top of HK's highest hikeable peak. We had to start our morning around 3am and it took forever to get a taxi to take us to the trailhead at that time of the morning, but seeing the sunrise on that peak was actually breathtaking. Not to mention she brought homemade granola and coconut yogurt and coffee for us to enjoy at the peak. Amazing. Second favorite memory- driving from Queensland to Christchurch and listening to ASAP Fergie and 6lack the whole time.


Can you describe a way/area the other person has helped you grow?  

E: Ugh. Having the hard conversations. I think our culture doesn't like DTR-ing because somehow we have been socialised to think, girls can only handle one intimate relationship. But we can have so many and they all look so different! So actually talking about our friendship was really healthy.  Niki was able to explain that I'm not very good at needing people and not being very vulnerable about the hard stuff. Relationships gotta be two-way, honey! And sharing this with others in our friend group, was a big eye-opener because they mostly agreed that I have a very "got it all together" vibe, which is a lie because I'm human. So I'm working on being more vulnerable and actually better communicating my needs. I'm trying to tell her a lot more, which is so hard for me (and also because of the way I process) but I totally trust her.

N: I've always been very open about my life, but just in the shallow areas apparently! Emily was one of my first friends to start asking very direct questions and then to start holding me accountable. I did not like it and I still do not, but it's so beneficial to have someone who's not afraid to speak the truth to you. So this has made me really start thinking through my decisions and how they impact not just me, but those around me as well.

Tell us the story of how you met!

Tyler: We met at a BYO dinner at a Thai restaurant on  K’rd. I remember being intrigued yet imitated by the dark haired beauty at the end of the table whom I had heard a lot about. (Love at first sight?!)

Ellen: We met through friends over a drink at Golden Dawn.

How did your friendship grow from that point? What did you bond over/experience?

T: I wish I could remember how the friendship grew to what it is now, I think it was pretty instant and we connected quickly. What I do know is that Robyn and karaoke were involved…

E: Our friendship grew over many more nights at Golden Dawn, dancing to pop music at house parties, and going to gigs. Pretty early on we went on a weekend trip to Wellington with a group of friends and that kind of solidified it.

What’s something you admire in her?

T: That she leads and never follows. Her openness and authenticity. But also the way she conducts herself when she's drunk.

E: She is extremely kind and caring, thoughtful and patient, smart and beautiful and always has time for a cuppa if you just need to vent. She looks out for her friends, hard.

Favourite memory?

T: Us starting the dancefloor at any and every party.

E: There have been so many over the years it is hard to pick just one! My favourite memories with Tyler almost always involve getting drunk and dancing to pop music, or our Samoa holiday in 2017. We are a very good match, travel-wise. Chilled out, but organised; we like to lie on the beach, but under the shade, and we both like pina coladas - the ultimate holiday tipple.

Can you describe a way they have helped you grow?

T: By her being so open and ready to give advice in any situation she has helped me with my anxiety and shown me how to just be me, always.

E: She gives a great pep talk. She's helped build my self-confidence and trust in myself.

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