Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow are the kind of friends Insecure’s Issa and Yvonne probably listen to on their L.A. commute. The kind of friends that have a nation-wide loved podcast, Call Your Girlfriend. The kind that casually write a book together on, you guessed it—friendship—that already has you pre-ordering because you know they’re funny. The book ships Spring 2020. And in the meantime, we got you covered.
Here’s some skinny into not only their relationship and what they’ve learned from each other, but also a sneak-peak into what you can expect from Big Friendship.
How did you meet?
We met in 2009. We were living in D.C. A mutual friend was hosting a viewing party for Gossip Girl. We hit it off immediately.
What attracted you to each other?
AMINATOU: Charisma. Uniqueness. Nerve. Talent. The sense of immediately feeling you are on the same wavelength with someone.
ANN: I was the same way. It was just easy being with each other.
What keeps you invested in the relationship—what do you get out of it?
AMINATOU: We’ve been friends for 10 years. We are still committed to the same things. There is so much messaging about how you’re supposed to find your romantic partner. But if you find your platonic partners, it’s important to hold on.
ANN: Were still interested in each other. I always want to know what Aminatou is thinking about everything. What jokes she has. It sound so dumb but we still want to be friends!
What have you learned from each other?
AMINATOU: How to make a delicious dressing. How to eat better. There are so many things I wouldn’t read if I hadn’t met Ann. And being a person who preservers and is faithful and just tries to be a better human. A lot of it is delicious life hacks. Art and literature and politics. Then there is a lot of my career trajectory. So much has been possible because I watch Ann work and listen to advice she’s given me.
ANN: Before we became friends, I was not interested in Beyonce and leggings. What greater life hacks than leggings and Beyonce are there? Ami is also one of my greatest critical thinkers about everything—making me reconsider beliefs I had about the world in interesting ways. Like being a good consumer. A lot of it is learned by observations. Watching how she lives her life.
How do you experience each others’ humour?
AMINATOU: All of my friends are 10s. Across the board. Humour is a huge part of our lives but not an affectation. We’re not comedians. The humour is not put on. We genuinely enjoy each other, we find each other funny. Humour is a good diffuser. Lots of stuff we talk about is very heavy and serious. I think that’s why people take comfort and joy in the show.
ANN: Sometimes it’s just true. Observation as humor.
What’s the hardest conversation you’ve ever had?
ANN: In terms of the book, a lot of what we’re writing about is what we wish we’d said or done. In real time, its difficult to have honest conversations. About the ways we are hurting each other. I don’t know that we have a specific, this was the hardest. In any intimate relations we always have ways to hurt each others’ feelings.
AMINATOU: There are friendships with defining dramatic arcs. But the truth is that’s not how life is. Usually, a series of smaller hurts become the undoing of a friendship. It’s the ways we can hurt each other in an everyday way.
Part of what we’re doing with the book is, through our own story showing people, this is stuff that happens in every relationship. And you’re not a particular monster if you hurt a friend in ways you don’t even know. And there’s a model for how to do that in real time, in the book.
How do you apply lessons from your friendship in other relationships?
AMINATOU: Everything is about communication. The story I always tell myself is I’m someone who communicates well. And that’s not true. Even if you’re a good communicator, in different relationships, you’re going to need that skill differently.
ANN: One thing I’ve learned is that I have a tendency to tell stories when the communication isn’t good enough. It’s a tendency I’ve learned to see in new ways from this friendship.
How do you navigate new romantic relationships vs. your friendships, eg. Managing time?
ANN: Same answer as last question. If something major changes, the friendship has to chance too. There is no universal advice.
How do you keep a relationship whole while also sharing work lives?
AMINATOU: Our friendship is very different from our work life. We work together and have fun but that’s not the only site of our friendship. The show is an edited version of our relationship.
ANN: We’re not over-sharers. We do one hour. And the podcast is not about us. Focus is important. We don’t get on the phone and speak about all things and press record. We were friends for a long time first.
Aminatou and Ann have a memoir-manifesto hitting bookshelves Spring, 2020. Here’s their biggest hope and dream for this book:
AMINATOU: One of my hopes and dreams is even though the book is about our story, that it will resonate with people and help folks think critically about their own friendships and create room for them to have really honest, good or hard conversations about their friendships.
ANN: That and Oprah instagrams herself with the book. With Gayle!
AMINATOU: Another is that whenever someone loves it they give it to their friends.