Ask a French Girl About Friendship
Our resident Ask-a-French-Girl, Laura, is back. And this time, she brought a friend: PR manager at a French brand, Nadia Josse.
Hi you two. You were both new here once. What’s the best way or best place to meet a new friend?
Laura Vidrequin: Most of the time, it’s through real friends that I meet new ones.
Nadia Josse: I love when a good friend tells me, “I need to introduce you to this girl, she’s so great and you guys will love each other.” It happened to me recently, the girl was amazing and she eventually became a friend.
Aside from friendship set-ups, work is a good place to meet friends. I’ve been in the same industry for almost 6 years and through it have made a handful friends. Not fashion friends — REAL friends.
In Paris, you’ve known your friends forever. You’re like a family it’s so hard to get in. In NY, people are open to the concept that the random you met while ordering an almond milk latte can become your best friend in a year. Dinner parties are also a great way to meet new people.
Now, I can tell you the worst places to make friends: Clubs, because no one is there to make friends. Being alone at bar, because you will attract creeps. The subway, because people will think you are a creep.
What’s a good friend pick-up line?
Nadia: Give me a good pick up line in general! I’m so bad at them. I don’t know…”You smell good”?
Laura: I recently said to a girl who I met at a wedding that I thought she was so cool and that I wanted to hang out and be her friend. She responded that no one had told her this before. If you are shy, simply say, “We should do a fun dinner.” If you want to hang out with them, there’s a high chance they want to hang out with you.
What’s the hardest thing about making friends as you get older?
Nadia: We’re so used to putting a huge wall between ourselves and others that we don’t really make the effort to get to know new people better or go deeper. We’re so quick at making assumptions based on stupid things. The funny thing is that I’m now friends with people who I really didn’t like the first time I met them.
Also, another thing that makes it harder — and it’s terrible to say: time. It takes time and commitment to keep the fire burning, even for friendships, and NY makes it challenging. All I want to do during my free time is hang out with my best friends. New friends come after. It’s like trying a new restaurant: you’re excited but you also secretly want to cancel last minute and go to your usual spot where it feels like home, plus you don’t have to look at the menu to order and they always get it right.
Laura: The thing is, you have already your childhood friends, your family friends, your high school/college friends, your work friends, your “I can just call her and hang out” friends, so when a new friend is entering your life, at our age, she must be quite special.
Nadia and I knew each other for a while, but it only really clicked this summer. She became special at a certain time, for a particular reason. Good timing and life events are not only a thing in love, they’re a thing in friendship.
Since you both have friends in France, how do you keep up your long distance relationships?
Laura: I am an early bird, and part of that is due to the fact that my family and friends are in Europe, 6 hours ahead. Before work, we play cat and mouse with the phone and try to catch-up. But it varies. One friend, Mali, she calls whenever she wants to chat. You are at the office? Too bad. She wants to chat now. Or ok, you’ll call back later. Pauline, she needs to know when the catch-up is happening: “Let’s say 6 p.m., Europe time on Saturday,” and I am sure she waits behind the computer camera for 15 minutes before. Victoria, she’s WhatsApp-obsessed. I actually just spoke to her, and it’s always so good to hear Euro stories instead of American ones!
Nadia: We Skype, we WhatsApp, we FaceTime, but I’m lucky because I go to Paris for work so much that I get to see them 4 times a year, at least. I have a very core group of friends in Paris. They are there for me no matter what. This summer I tagged along with them on their vacation to Mykonos after a break up. We laughed so hard every day that I came back with enough loving energy for a year.
It’s sometimes hard to be away. My childhood friend Jade is pregnant and all I want is to hang out with her and see her becoming a mom. But distance never changes anything with your true friends. You just sit down after 2 months apart and it’s like you saw each other last night.
When do you know someone’s a true friend as opposed to an acquaintance or a “going out” friend?
Nadia: When they don’t cancel on you 3 times in a row or send you an email that starts with, “Hi I miss you let’s plan something” (that we both know will not be planned) and then ask you for a favor.
NY is challenging but real friends are always available. We can randomly just meet for dinner with no 2-weeks-in-advance planning. I haven’t had “going out friends” since I was 18. I also rarely go out.
Laura: When they want to see you just to chat, to make sure that if you go through a hard time, you don’t do it alone, or if they trust you enough to tell you something that will make them vulnerable in your eyes. It is not easy.
A friend who laughs hysterically with you is also one to keep around. Laughing at someone’s joke is personal!
What’s the dumbest thing to lose a friend over?
Nadia: A guy. For sure.
Laura: Boyyyyyys. Boyyyys. Boysssss. And always tell your friends what you feel — especially when finishing/starting a relationship. Don’t expect them to understand what’s going on; explain it to them.
How do you handle a fight with a friend?
Nadia: I get really sad when a friend and I fight, so I just take a deep breath and call him/her. It’s hard because I’m a Leo — we are super proud and would rather die than show emotion (ouch!). But I have become so much better at opening up and for a friend, it’s worth it.
Laura: I am so bad at fighting. I hate it. I’m not comfortable with screaming and bad words. I either distance myself until we calm down, or I talk myself through it. I am a true believer that words can be as painful as a slap, and sometimes, I am victim of my own belief because I speak too fast.
How do you know when to break up with a friend? Have you ever done that?
Nadia: I did, and it was a painful and long process. We just grew apart. I moved to NYC and my life changed completely. I had to literally show up for myself, get a job, make friends and try to build a life, so I couldn’t talk for 3 hours on a Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. I had to work really hard every day and she didn’t completely understand. NYC taught me to be more open and positive and to always look forward and she was the opposite, so I knew it was time to break up.
Laura: I have, and I think it is healthy. Sometimes it’s good to acknowledge that you are meeting people who will lead you somewhere, somehow — and then will disappear. They are not true friends if they disappear, and that could be painful. But it’s okay. You are leading them somewhere, too. This is the beauty of the hazard.
How did you get over the loss?
Nadia: I just did, I guess.
Laura: By understanding that life is pretty well-done. If it was truly meaningful, the friendship would have survived.
Do you think “opposites attract” applies for friendship too?
Nadia: Yes. I think I would hate another version of myself.
Laura: Absolutely. Why not? I think opposites awaken questions and respect, which leads to lasting relationships. Both in love and in friendship.
What’s the most important trait a friend could have?
Nadia: Being able to laugh at herself, and kindness.
Laura: Well, my best friend is respectful, knows all of the history and therefore can play with stories but is careful with words. More than anything, I never have to speak in order for her to know and to get it.
Nadia is wearing: Reformation jeans, Chanel shirt, bracelet from street vendor in Mykonos (another thin bracelet option here); Laura is wearing: Calvin Klein jeans, American Vintage sweater, Céline jacket, Gucci bag, Gag&Lou jewelry.
Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.