All right gang. Here’s to nights that turn into mornings, and friends that turn into family.
This episode features my friend Jeffrey, whose voice you MIGHT recognize from the Friendship IRL introduction! We’ve known each other as long as I’ve been with my husband Michael, and we’ve been saying that “cheers!” for more than a decade.
Jeffrey is part of my “chosen family,” which as you know, is a concept I lean on heavily. For me, it’s a necessity. But one of the things that’s so interesting about Jeff: he has a strong, supportive family of origin, but also naturally leans into the idea of a chosen family, too.
In this episode, Jeffrey and I talk about our relationship and this idea of chosen family – with emphasis on the word “chosen.”
These days, the time we spend together is different from that of our college days – there are stays with 3-week old babies, now – but we CHOOSE to keep in touch, to be there for each other, and that’s what keeps our chosen family intact.
In this episode you’ll hear about:
- Trust, which is the foundation of our friendship; we don’t second-guess our intentions or whether we want to hear from each other
- Being OK showing up in sweatpants, and how that can set the precedent of coming as you are (AND eliminate reasons to not hang out)
- When chosen families expand to your friends’ families, and the things we do because we’ve decided to add someone to our chosen family
- How sometimes, adding someone to your chosen family means you’re committing to work harder – to fix problems and be there during the hard stuff
- Spending time together without plans instead of formalized settings or big events in place
- How being honest about what you’re looking for in a friendship can make all the difference in building your own chosen family
Do you have a “chosen family?” How did you meet, and how has your connection evolved over time?
Notable Quotes from Jeffrey:
“Do me and you talk every day? No. Do me and Mike talk everyday? No. Can it be months at a time that we go apart? One hundred percent. But that’s like a family thing. You don’t have to talk on a day-to-day basis to be a deep friend with somebody, because that definition can mean so many different things. Best friend, close friend, however you want to call it. I consider you guys a part of my family because of that connection.”
“People are just people. They can have that blood-related family thing. And they can be someone that you met randomly at a bar. The connection you establish with each other can be limitless, depending on where it goes. Not everyone is going to be compatible or in a line, but I don’t think you need to put people in categories based off of those titles.”
Resources & Links
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More posts about Chosen Family
Until next time…
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Podcast Intro 00:02
Alrighty, gang. Here’s to nights that turn into mornings and friends that turn in family. Cheers!
Podcast Intro 00:18
Hello, Hello, and welcome to the Friendship IRL podcast. I’m your host, Alex Alexander. My friends… They would tell you; I like to ask the hard questions. You know who I am in the group? I’m the person that’s saying, “Okay, I’m going to ask this question, but don’t feel like you have to answer it.” And now, I can be that friend for you, too.
Alex Alexander 00:53
You know, I just have to tell people off the bat, that if they are having a moment where they’re like, that voice sounds really familiar, that’s because I secretly tricked you, I didn’t trick you, I asked you for a favor, you had no idea what it was for. And your voice was obviously the main voice of the intro.
It’s wild to think. I still remember hitting play on your, you know, like your teaser of the podcast. And like, if someone was recording my face, because I was done, like, I had a feeling it was gonna be used for some sort of content, but the fact that it’s like the intro thing, I was, like, very flattered, but also like, oh, this is super cool. So, I loved it.
PODCAST EPISODE! Hear all about why I created Friendship IRL here.
Alex Alexander 01:35
Well, for anybody that doesn’t know, we’ll just give them some backstory into our friendship. That is a cheers. You’ve been saying probably a little longer than I have. Like, I’ve been… been around. You and Michael were prior saying that before. As they’re like, that’s like 15 years of saying that cheers. So when I had to come up with something that evoked like, a memory for me for friendship, that one definitely hit the mark.
It really does that. I mean, it’s pretty cool, just with all the things that you’re doing kind of in this realm. And I mean, obviously, the last line of it is, “Friends that turn into family”, which is like, you know, I just 100% like support that… that friends can be viewed just like family members.
Alex Alexander 02:18
Well, you’re seguing perfectly into why I’ve asked you to be here today, which you already know, you know what I asked you to come on here. You don’t really know where we’re going with this. But..
Yeah. I’m here for it.
Alex Alexander 02:23
Like I said, I mean, you and I have known each other as long as Michael and I have been together. So we just celebrated 13 years. We met in college.
Congrats to us.
Alex Alexander 02:40
Yeah, we should celebrate our friend anniversary.
It is our friend anniversary.
Alex Alexander 02:46
Maybe we’ll take today’s podcast date. And we’ll just use that retroactively.
There we go.
Alex Alexander 02:51
And we were roommates. That feels like a million years ago.
But I almost actually forgot about that. I was like we actually did live together for a while.
Alex Alexander 03:02
I think a little over a year.
Yeah, that’s great times.
Alex Alexander 03:06
It was great times. Right after college, Michael and I decided to move in together for… I mean, I haven’t told this on the podcast. And we moved in with his brother and Jeff. Basically, his two brothers.
It was a great time.
Alex Alexander 03:20
It was a great time.
We got to share a kitchen, which it’s always fun cooking with you.
Alex Alexander 03:24
We do love cooking together. That’s definitely one of our shared experiences.
Alex Alexander 03:29
And now here we are. Weddings, babies on your part. Not mine. You moved away to a different state. Now you’re back. I begged you to record this episode. When you were sitting on my couch just two weeks ago.
I’m here for it. I’m all about it.
Alex Alexander 03:47
The reason I asked you to come on here is because I lean very heavily into this concept of chosen family. Like it’s a necessity for me. It’s how I build my support system. But I think you’re so interesting, because you do have a great family of origin. And I feel like you’ve just really naturally leaned into the idea of chosen family as well. Like it’s supplemental, it’s additional value. Why not, basically. And I was trying to think back. I mean, we said we’ve been friends for 13 years. When do you think we decided we were chosen family? Like you and I?
Oh, I mean, that’s such a great question. And I think it just happens so organically with like, just me and you together but also your husband like kind of when we were talking a little bit about this podcast and stuff too. It’s like I come from a great family. Like I have amazing parents. I do have a twin brother which contrary to what a lot of people’s twins experience are, we are complete opposite people. We didn’t have the best relationship growing up. We are on great terms now and stuff but I wouldn’t say I was like yearning for something else. But I think when it comes to like, friendship is, I’ve never really seen like necessarily a divide between what makes a friend and what makes a family member. I think when you develop friendships, you connect on a deeper level, it literally becomes family to me, to meet family and friends. Yes, there are definitions behind family and it meaning things with like your blood and stuff. But I think with you, and Michael and his brother, it’s more of a feeling thing. And it feels like family. It’s kind of like that unconditional love that you have for people. I know you talk about it on your podcast and with a lot of your content. And something that makes me drawn like to talk about this topic with you is the fact that you can have friends… is there doesn’t necessarily like have to be a label on it and like good friends. And I think… so I where I was going with that is what you talk about a lot is how friendship evolves. And we used to see each other every single day. We lived together, I used to see Michael and his brother every single day, or at least every single weekend, if not every other, but as you transition in life, that got farther and farther apart. And what’s close, you talk about that now with people is a lot of people think of best friend is someone you see every day, who you talk to every day. Do me and you talk every day? No. Do me and Michael talk every day? No. Can it be months at a time that we go apart? 100%. But I’ve learned to feel that it’s like that’s like your friend, or that’s like a family thing is you don’t have to talk on a day to day basis to be a deep friend with somebody because that definition can mean so many different things like best friend, close friend, however you want to call it is like I said, I consider you guys a part of my family because of that connection. And it doesn’t matter how much time has gone by we can we can be thinking of each other and not even necessarily send that message of quote unquote, “how we feel about thinking of you”. It’s like, I know that they are even without having a message or something like that. And it feels like a family bond, even though it’s not technically connected by blood, in a way.
Alex Alexander 07:07
Yeah, I mean, it just feels like you’re probably right if I were to think about I guess when we started choosing this kind of like chosen family route. For a long time, I don’t think it was super necessary because we were in each other’s lives every day. But when Michael and I packed up that U-Haul and we drove across the state, it was still easy to go back and forth and see each other. But as time has gone on, and life changes more, we really had to like make that choice like choose that we were going to believe that the other person had our best intentions that we were going to try, that we were going to like, be okay, when there were those big periods of time that we would reach out if we did feel like it was too long and be honest. Like I kind of feel like we maybe started singing out loud more the further part we got. Because we didn’t have the every day little things.
Yeah, I definitely think that’s what made it kind of, I guess more apparent that it was, you know, a chosen thing. And that we do have that deeper connection, I think through all the different challenges, whether it be, you know, not seeing each other on a day to day basis, or just a weekend thing that we’d always had an event where we would always be at it together or something like that, the fact that you know, whether it was you guys moved and then I moved across even a couple more states is the feeling of the friendship and the quality of it didn’t change as much as the time spent definitely did. And I know I already said it earlier, but I love that you talk about that and allow people to just be educated on that, the fact that you don’t see someone on a day to day basis or talk to them, that doesn’t have to necessarily threaten the friendship. It doesn’t have to be 50-50 on who reaches out to who most. Like, we understand our lives get busy. And we understand the intentions when we reach out to each other or things like that. But I know if I was ever in a crisis or anything like you, Michael, Scotty would be someone that I could like reach out to, regardless of how much time has passed because there’s just that deeper connection. And I feel like states and places and the frequency of our communication, that stuff doesn’t matter.
Alex Alexander 09:36
I mean, it’s almost kind of like a trust thing. Like we just trust that when we do call the other person wants to hear from them.
Yeah. I love how you said trust like, I mean, growing up in a pretty, you know, great family, trust is something you have, you know, at least from my part like with your mom, your dad, you just… you know you kind of trust that they are making decisions with your best intentions or, you know, you in mind, and I feel like we just trust each other. And the fact of like, the three of you guys and stuff, it’s like growing up in college and stuff with each other, there’s a lot of two face stuff and people, you know, putting on fronts with each other and talking crap about each other’s back. I think between you, Michael and Scott, I don’t think I’ve ever second guessed that I’d be talked about badly in that. And I think that to me, it’s… that’s a family bond to me is obviously, you know, you’re married to Michael… too. It’s like, that’s not something you try and do, like, you can be honest with friends and stuff. But that definitely 100% agree with that, the trust word with that.
Alex Alexander 10:42
If I’m really thinking about it, I mean, I talked about this with the roots thing, right? We just decided to believe that we cared about each other, that we would show up for each other, that we want to spend time together. But like we’re gonna try and figure it out as we become different people with different dynamics. You know, spending time together now does not feel the same as when we were 20. And I think a lot of people can be self conscious about that, maybe. But we’re just kind of like choosing that we care about each other enough, that it’s okay that suddenly there’s added stresses about what’s gonna be stressed. It’s just different dynamics, like the kids are running around or worried about babysitters, or big life choices and moves and things that. Like, it’s okay to show up with that authentic life situation that we don’t always have to show up as quote unquote, like “the best version” of ourselves.
Part of where I think me and you feel like I guess, maybe bonded, or I feel super comfortable around you is that fact that things can be messy, like, friendship doesn’t have to look perfect. And because I mean, obviously, kids in their own, they’re just messy, you know, here and there. But I know you’ve talked about it somewhere before, but like, you know, the ideal thing of like a friend hangout being looking like a video out of Pinterest, but the fact that we can accompany each other in each other’s houses, and it doesn’t matter what it looks like, it’s just that we get to be together. And we see through some of those dynamics that other people might stress about when it comes to being with their friends, where it’s like, that’s why I feel that raw family connection is because I was able to bond with my family and stuff, it doesn’t matter what the house looked like. It’s like you live together every single day. And so feeling that connection with people and friends and stuff, like, it’s who you want to surround yourself with.
Alex Alexander 12:42
I think about that a lot, actually. So when we think about our family, right, you grew up with them, obviously. So they saw all your awkward phases, how messy your room was, that you failed math in sixth grade, whatever, all the weird stuff, like you can’t hide it from your family, because they’re there in your immediate vicinity. So then also, like friends, as kids see this, too. Because you’re dropped off at your friend’s house, you know what it looks like, inside, you’re in their room, you get in trouble in front of your friends, like, you know, your parents are like, “You guys can’t do that.” We’re just a lot more authentic. And then as adults, we are trying to put our best foot forward and show our best version of ourselves. And then we start to kind of like, push people out a little bit. Like in order for a friend to come over to our house, we feel like it’s all clean. But a lot of people want, you know, are fine, letting their family come over when their house is a mess. Like why does it matter? Their families have already seen the mess. And that… that kind of vulnerability is what a lot of people want. But they feel like they have to, like, work really hard to let people in or people need to earn it. And yeah, sure, to some extent. But I also think that we want to like call our friends in moments of need. Well, those are the hardest moments to let somebody in. You know, when I came after you guys had Loe and stayed. That was like a super vulnerable time when you have a… is she like three weeks old for somebody to come stay in your house and help you and if we hadn’t already kind of broken through some of those barriers because we just decided we were going to let each other in, that probably would have felt so uncomfortable for everybody.
PODCAST EPISODE! Navigating Big Life Changes with Friends. Listen here!
I mean, the quality you know, just kind of our friendship of where it like just kind of developed to that is just… I think we… we began to see each other just for… I think I was saying it earlier like their whole self. Like the messy, the challenges that life has. And yeah, like letting you into our house with a three week old, it’s just that trust that I had that you were here to just support. And in that crazy time of sleep deprived and all that it’s like, I knew if Alex came over and just was holding a baby, I could sleep and I’m not going to feel guilt of not talking with Alex on the couch, or, you know, if I saw her picking up at my house, I’m not going to second guess her stuff and be like, Wait, you don’t need to do that. I’m like, she’s doing it because she wants to and she’s helping right now. And that’s… that’s just that the family friendship that I feel. And, you know, that’s why, you know, I consider you a sister of mine and other people and friends consider a brother. And it’s not necessarily a terminology I throw around loosely. I don’t say that to it. But it’s a feeling based thing. And I don’t think contrary to believe and stuff, it’s a you know, it’s like I can call who I want a sister and a brother, it does have deep meaning to me. But it has just has a deeper meaning as somebody else’s blood related brother, too.
Alex Alexander 16:10
I mean, to me, the concept of family is that if I tell someone, they’re my family, I’m basically committing to work harder. Family to me, is, I care about you so much, that if we have problems, I will work harder to fix it, think about it, discuss it whatever. Like family is not some “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Family to me doesn’t mean like a guarantee that things are easy or whatever. I’m saying that as some sort of commitment to keep trying to put in the effort. And I think that’s maybe not everyone’s interpretation of family. Whether we’re blood related or not. I don’t need somebody else to make some big commitment to reciprocate that I think we know what we’re saying. But to me, that’s what it means.
That’s all… yeah, kind of a title. And as much as you have blood related family, you can still choose to expand that circle outside of blood, and bring those people in. And it can take time, it can take shared experiences and stuff. But I think that friendship can show up in so many different ways in people’s lives and in different ways. You know, you talk about a lot in your content and stuff, you can have multiple friends that aren’t someone you talk to that often. They could be in this one certain light that you see them in, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There really isn’t. I guess, like, you know, on our level, it can be a little bit deeper. But the fact that we can still consider each other close friends without having that day to day connection, or even like a… I wouldn’t say our cadence of talking to each other is actually consistent in any fashion. And I’m fine with that.
Alex Alexander 18:00
Yeah, we definitely go through phases where we talk quite a bit, and then maybe see each other spend some quality time together. And then it might kind of wane for a little bit. And I realize it’s been a little while and then we put in the effort, one of us initiates and then it kind of keeps going.
Yeah, but I guess… I think I mean, at least I believe the feeling is mutual, no matter how much time has passed, how many months, I don’t think that thought has ever crossed our mind where it’s like, are we still friends?
Alex Alexander 18:29
I mean, I have a similar friend that lives over in the Seattle area as well. And we go on huge, long sabbaticals,of not talking to each other. And it’s not for the lack of friendship or anything like that. But as soon as somehow our paths cross, or one of us sends a text that we need to talk or something like that. Soon as we get on that phone call, or Zoom call or FaceTime, we’ve talked to each other for hours like we had seen each other or the quality of conversation is great. And I’ve never wanted to think is this person still my friend, even though I haven’t talked to him in eight months? Like I know he is, but we’re not in each other’s lives on a daily day basis. We don’t live in the same area, like he has kids and stuff as well. But friendship can look so many different ways. We don’t need to evaluate them on such a level where we’re trying to decide who you know, the cutting of friends or you know, eliminating that stuff. Like I just… I don’t believe in that because friendship can look so many different ways.
Alex Alexander 19:30
I mean, I think there has to be some real grievances for me to do that. I just think there’s so many routes to try and trust to have before you ever get to that point. I was thinking about do you think… so we knew each other… I think you and Ally have been together about half the time. And so, her and I definitely knew each other. We’d spend a lot of time together and then you guys got married. You had Loe. Like her and I had not I’ve known each other a ton of time before I came to stay. Before she like, let me in. Do you think she just knew that this was like this chosen family thing? Were there conversations was ever like pushback of not maybe wanting to let us in. Does that make sense? Like I wouldn’t want to trust on her part to just be like, okay, well, we’re gonna let these people in now.
Yeah. No, what’s really cool about my wife, Ally, and the friendships that she’s developed with inside my other friendship and stuff as well is, one, I’ve never felt threatened by it. But I don’t think there was ever any pressure kind of for… I think she deep down knew like how highly I talked of people that they were important to me. But I don’t think any of the bonds that she has had with you and Michael and Scotty were… they were never forms of pressure, or it’s like you should meet these people that are awesome, you should form that kind of connection because I wanted her friendship with other friends of mine to just be natural, and to also be whatever level of friendship it’s going to be obviously, our paths are gonna cross just from, whether they’re the birthday parties or things like that they’re going to be at. But the level of friend that she’s going to be with you or any of the other people that I am, it’s going to be on her own personal agenda on how she wants to handle it. And I mean, I’m in an amazing spot with my wife and friends that we’ve shared them and she has grown fond of tons of friends that I have. And to be honest, I think she’s also developed stronger friendships with some people that I, you know, am great friends with says they connect more on a deeper level, whether that it because it’s female to female or things like that, or just have some other, you know, common things that they get to talk about. And I have never once felt… say you and her start talking a lot more about things, I would never… thought that never crossed my mind to threaten. I was like, Oh my gosh, is she better friends with Alex than me? It’s like, anything, I’m more like cheering. It’s like, fantastic. Someone that’s so important to me in my life is becoming an importance to another person that’s important to me. So, that kind of makes sense.
Alex Alexander 22:11
Yeah. I was just curious, because by the point that Ally… not that she ever had walls, but to like, let me come in and help her in the middle of the night after Loe, all these things. I mean, to me, it really did feel like like a sister was invited in. At that point, her and I were definitely friends. But we didn’t know each other. We didn’t have eight years of history, we only had a couple years. I mean, I’m always in awe when that happens. And it’s happened with a variety of friends. I don’t know what the magic of that is. Because I don’t think that happens with every buddy. You know, I think some people be like, “Well, I haven’t known you that long. And I get that you’re really close. Like you’re basically a sister to my husband. But like, I don’t really know if I want to like have you come sit with me in the middle of the night and nurse and then put my baby to sleep.” I mean, I’m beyond grateful. Like it’s kind of wild, if you think about it, right? It is she was just like, yeah, this is what we do here.
Grateful is a great word for that. And, you know, I consider myself very lucky to have that with my wife and friends. Because what’s been really cool about me and her life is there’s not much of a divide in certain areas with that kind of stuff. And like friendship and we have been extremely blessed when it comes to, you know, even just how hard our families intermingle with each other.
Alex Alexander 23:36
Your families together are really fun to watch. Everybody gets along so well.
Yeah, it’s so weird. Like just some backstory for people listening. It’s like my in laws live five or so minutes away from each other. They had met when me and Ally met, like they didn’t know each other beforehand, but they hang out on their own now. And it’s crazy to think that, you know, just me and Ally and I coming together created a friendship between two other adults and it’s cool that we can get together and it’s not like, oh, well now we’re… we gotta go spend time with your family or now we gotta go spend time with mine. I mean, that bleeds into like friendship and stuff too that whenever we go see certain friends, like okay, well, now we have to go see Jeff’s side of friends or things like that, is we just a friend is a friend to us. And the connection can be a little bit different or where they kind of show up. But it’s a really cool understanding to have between each other.
Alex Alexander 24:28
Well, and I would say that if you and I were out of town, and we went to Spokane, and your parents, or Ally’s parents were together, or separate or somewhere, we would go hang out with them. Like they’re just extra role models, I guess. I would have no question about showing up at your parents house to hang out. And I could say that’s because of how long we’ve known each other and the fact that we knew each other in college, but we were literally just at a friend’s house this weekend. And he was one of Michael’s roommates, her family, his wife’s family lives where they live now in NOLA. And we were like, do we get to see your mom this weekend? I do think that’s kind of a piece of the chosen family. Not it doesn’t have to be, but kind of that people’s parents, siblings, like, it just feels like some further extended piece of family that maybe you try and prioritize to like, see and connect with when you’re around.
Yeah, it’s a really cool, you know, bonding thing. And I’ve definitely been there with other peoples. And it’s like, you know, you get excited to go to like their parent’s thing. And I love the fact that, you know, I consider you like a sister, but like, if my parents were together, throwing an event, like you coming to that is just, they’re going to be welcoming of that. They know you’re important to me, which means you’re important to them just in being around and it can just be so natural and stuff. And I don’t think whereas some people might view that as weird. It’s just not something that’s ever come across to me that way. And it’s great. I mean, again, I’ve been blessed with a really cool in law relationship. And I feel like ours, you know, we… we’ve had time on our side. And yeah, me and Ally been married for quite some time now. But even just with her family and stuff too, it’s like there’s a lot of people with in law, relationships can be different. And you know, it could also depend on the people not all, my experience isn’t going to be the same for everybody. But I mean, I treat my wife’s family’s house like it’s my own. It’s cool. It’s like a comfortability thing. Like, just like I can come to your house, and who cares what I’m wearing and can open a cabinet or…
Alex Alexander 26:44
not feel good, lay on the couch, take a nap. Yeah.
Nap and not feel bad about it’s like, I have that really cool relationship with my wife’s parents as well. And we don’t have all that time on our hands. It’s felt like that for a long time. But I think it’s just those people, you know, you surround yourself with, and we’ve just been lucky that we’ve just gravitated towards that. We also built it as well, too. I mean, it’s not going to be natural, or it’s not always going to happen with every single friendship just because you want one to work to that level, it may not ever, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, either.
Alex Alexander 27:18
So that leads into my next thought, which was, yeah, the things that we do, because we’ve kind of like made this chosen family decision. I thought of some, like one is trying to make it a priority to call on holidays. We FaceTime, even if we’re not together. And part of that has to do with the kiddos. Yes, but I think there’s that and there’s just like vocalizing the, you know, I’ve told you this before, I find it so endearing that you call me sis, and which is probably why you keep doing it. Or like saying, you know, you’re like another brother, that like trying to prioritize seeing seen each other’s families, or at least when it does work out, truly wanting to connect with them, like, how are they doing, what is new, and not just necessarily hearing about it from you all the time, but trying to see them and ask them the same questions like caring about them as well.
We have things in place that I don’t believe are even planned out with each other when it comes to either our check ins and stuff. It’s like, you know, it comes time with like, I feel like anytime any of the big holidays come out, it’s like we are going to carve out a quick amount of time to FaceTime with you guys.
Alex Alexander 28:36
Yeah, sometimes it’s real fast.
Sometimes it is. And it’s just as valuable. And I don’t ever expect, you know, our long conversations, but it’s like, hey, you know something about those holidays and stuff, too. It’s like, hey, let’s just connect with some people that matter to us. But yeah, I mean, I think as our connection times have gotten shorter, and the frequency that we get to see each other has gotten shorter, just because of life and location, which is 100% fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. And I love that you can help localize that more where that doesn’t have to be a threat. It can just be a natural thing. But we reach out when we can. I feel like when we are together, it’s quality. It’s just quality, because there’s no… there’s no front that’s put on I mean, we were just over there a couple weeks ago, and it’s not like we have everything perfectly planned. So, it’s like a production when you’re here sort of thing. We went by the seat of our pants, and that was great. And it was more that we were with each other and who cares. I mean, you know, went to a one year old’s birthday party together and sat with a room full of kids screaming at each other and it doesn’t matter. It may not have been our most 100% thing where we wanted to spend our time with each other but we were together. It was great.
Alex Alexander 29:58
Yeah, I mean choosing to not have big plan was honestly kind of intentional. Because you guys were out of town, the kids were with Ally’s parents. Like, you don’t necessarily get to be that unscripted. Could we have made some plan? Sure we could have. But we really wanted to make sure that there was space where if somebody did want to take a nap, or sleep in, or be like, I don’t want to go out somewhere, I don’t want to put real clothes on, I’d like to stay in my sweatpants. But there was like room for all of that. And to like, just be honest, because it didn’t really matter as long as we were just hanging around together.
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Yeah. And I think that’s one of the beauties of our friendship is that just unscripted, this and casualness that it’s comforting. And I don’t think I mean, I’ve, you know, I’ve grown up having friends and things like that. And I think even before we met with Michael and Scotty, it’s like, that’s what I just kind of felt is with, I think, for me before meeting them, friendship was a lot more formalized and very event centered and things like that. But it’s like, just being able to… this is gonna be really silly example, that I realized when I found some like friendships with Michael and Scotty was, I was… I’ve been I grew up with military parents. Very structured life, very make your bed, things like that. I thought you always had to, like leave the house in jeans. And if you’re going over to a friend’s house, you had to have jeans on. And I started hanging around my friend, Michael and Scotty and I’ve never seen so many sweatpants and slippers in casual settings. And I slowly like sort of adapt to that, that like even just appearance wise, it didn’t matter. And it’s just, it was a funny example. Because I mean, I remember when I started to like kind of shed that layer of like, who cares? Like, even if you’re just going over there to hang out, it’s like, come from wherever you just came from I’ll even if you just came from the gym, throw some deodorant on and who cares?
Alex Alexander 32:04
Yeah, you want to go use the shower in my house real fast that? Like you got five minutes to rinse off.
That’s another one. Like just even showering at somebody’s house. And it’s like, yeah, that’s where I feel like, whether it’s your house or even theirs back when you know, in the college days, it’s like a friend. It’s like, yeah, use the shower. It’s fine.
Alex Alexander 32:21
That’s such a real thing, though. So, Sarah, who was previously on the podcast, I have two stories on this one. The first time I ever met her, was actually for my birthday. Michael was bringing her to my birthday. And I was running late. No one’s surprised. I was in the shower. They arrived. I came out in a towel, and was just like, “Oh my god, hi. So nice to meet you.” And she says to this day, she was like that was the most Alex Meet and Greet of all time. You just like wandered out. I think maybe it was in a robe. Not a towel. Not ready, not dressed, fresh out of the shower had never met her before. It was just like, “Hi. I’m so excited you’re here. Sorry, hold on. I have to go get dressed. But I’ll be right back.” Some people never, never, ever. But the other thing I was gonna say is that even to this day, when people come to our house, we actually make it a point sometimes to wear sweatpants. Because we want people to know, they can show up in whatever state and like set that precedent that if the difference between you wanting to show up and hang out and not coming is because you don’t want to put makeup on or jeans on or whatever, after a long Sunday, then don’t. But don’t let that be the reason you don’t come hang out. Now if you don’t feel up to it, that’s fine.
Yeah, but let’s eliminate some of the factors that are silly reasons that it’s like, hey, if you’re gonna tell me you don’t want to cover it just because you really don’t want to put a full face and makeup on and get dressed, like, let’s drop that barrier and be like, who cares?
Alex Alexander 34:10
Yeah, if you’re too busy today, to like, bring something to the potluck dinner, just tell me and don’t bring anything. That’s okay. I’d rather have you here than have you like, not coming over because you didn’t have a chance to bake some cookies. I don’t care at all. And I think people trying to like implement that more is just less reason somebody don’t want to excuses. It’s like less barriers to being together.
Yeah, the more of those you drop with friends, I think allows for more opportunity for you to bond more established things more together. And I think it’s more of like the rawness with each other where you’re just dropping some of those societal barriers that I feel like it’s all of putting your best foot forward. And I think some beauty and friendship that you will find is when you drop some of those, and realize that it’s not about presenting yourself in a certain light.
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Alex Alexander 35:12
No, I mean, life is messy. There are so many moments where you cannot present yourself in the best light, but you still need people. So I think it was just like practice, this is all practice for those hard moments. Then you are used to being in your sweatpants. So when something hard happens, it’s easier to do that, you’ve already done it. To close it out, if somebody had a friendship that they felt was kind of like that chosen family type friendship, do you have any thoughts on how they should approach it, how they should act or what they should say, or…?
I feel like with you guys and stuff, too, I mean, I feel like it’s something you could address if you want and just kind of talk to someone about how much they mean to you. But I think at the same time, it’s also one of the things that doesn’t necessarily have to be addressed. And just can be kind of like organic, I think, with our group and where we’re at, it was just we had time on our hands. And it was just kind of organic. And we had made it through tons of life, things that were thrown at us like moves and things like that, that it just organically… I don’t think we’ve ever like maybe actually officially talked about it until like kind of now, which is really awesome. It just, it just developed that it was you know, kind of there and I think types of conversations we’ve had the messy, we’ve seen in each other I think it was just something that was unsaid, and we knew of. But I don’t believe it’s, you know, anything wrong to like, address and talk about like, I think you know, even with like Michael and Scotty like even them, see even some really low moments in me, I think there was probably a moment of like a thinking or a gratitude of something maybe the next day on like, thanks for being there, like in a role. And I think those little things might summarize or feel like, hey, you know, like we’re kind of in this for the long haul and it gets reciprocated over time. It doesn’t have to be the necessarily that same messy type of environment. But yeah, I think experiences just kind of provided that. But I mean, if you have someone that you feel is, you know, a deeper level, or someone you kind of want to establish that with as like, what’s there to lose and kind of talking about it. But I think going into it with the expectation, me and you briefly talked about this, when you were over here a few weeks ago. I was like, well, what have you used someone in that sort of way? But maybe they don’t? And how do you kind of talk about it, but I think it’s, you know, just understanding that they may not align, and it’s okay for you to view a friend in this sort of fashion. And then to not back that way. It’s like, that’s fine. That doesn’t mean you have to, like sink to their level and not in a bad way where it’s like, you don’t have to eliminate how you feel about them.
Alex Alexander 38:06
Yeah, I mean, it’s just choosing this is how you’re going to act. All I can control is my side of this. But I do think, based on our experience, based on my experience with other people, I had to do this, that’s the thing I had to do this. I had no other option. If I wanted a support system, I had a trust fall into it, thank goodness, I got a bunch of green people around me. But I do think from my perspective, choosing to kind of like lean into this chosen family, I mean, I think kind of inspires some people. I think they want some sort of guarantee it’s going to be reciprocated first. I didn’t have that. I just took the risk. If you are somebody who’s in a situation where you do need this kind of support, being honest about that, I will say, like being honest has created a more vibrant support system than I ever could have dreamed of. And honestly, that I think most people have because I’ve said this is what I need. It’s like I’m putting it on everyone. I don’t expect everyone to like drop everything. But people have been really, I think thoughtful, like what roles they can fill for me.
Yeah. Well, that honesty, I think just opens that door up. Because I think having that courage and stuff. You never know where someone else may want to show up in your life. They may need that opportunity to present itself to know that they would love to do that for you. And it’s kind of like what’s there to lose. I mean, there’s obviously a bunch of courage behind that honesty and maybe for, you know, your factors. It’s like I need this choice. Like I need to find these people. And for me, it was maybe more of like, I would love some more of these people in my life.
Alex Alexander 39:50
It’s an added bonus. Why not?
Yeah, and so but I think people may want to show up as a friend to you in certain areas, just like we were talking about how like, what if they don’t align, it’s like you actually may align more than you think that honestly hasn’t been presented enough where that friend actually it’s like, you know what? Like, I want to be that friend for you and maybe a rougher time, we just haven’t had anything. But just because you’re the first one to bring it up, the first time that has an experience, like, what do you got to lose?
Alex Alexander 40:19
I also think I mean, you’re saying like offering like, you never know, you might align? I do think there’s a lot of things. I mean, I know I do this. I’m trying to think of other people doing. I’m sure they do. But there have been times where I like, offer stuff. That is what a sibling would do, what an auntie would do. Because I truly do want to do it. Because that is the kind of thing that in my mind, family does. Wouldn’t necessarily be expected of me. But once I offer it, like coming to help after baby’s born, I’m going to use that example. So, I’ll just use it again. You know, people be like, “Oh, well, we would love that.” So by me kind of like putting out this more vulnerable offer. Now, if somebody turns me down, I’m not offended. It’s not like, oh, well. That’s what sisters are supposed to do. They should have taken me up on that offer. But I did put it out there. They know I was willing. Maybe this wasn’t the right opportunity. I’ll put it out there again for something else at another time.
Yeah, not that it’s a two way street. But like, yeah, the offering or maybe the asking is just something you have to kind of put out there. You may be more vocal on like, “Hey, I want to help in this way.” And I think we need more people that want to vocalize their help, because maybe that will help establish the friendship even more. But also on the other side of that coin is people that may need the help and stuff too. It’s like being vulnerable, and even asking like, so you never know where someone may actually want to show up for you. And so, it’s honestly kind of on both parts. If you have a need. I do think there are some levels that friends can help fill a need that you may surprise yourself in.
Alex Alexander 42:02
Yeah. And I think when it comes to like a family of origin, there’s all these expectations and like, “Well, if I need them, and I call them, they will show up.” And I think where a lot of people get caught up with friends is they think, well, if I call them, they don’t have to show up. They’re just my friend. I mean, the truth of the matter is family are still just people, they don’t have to show up, they can say no. It’s still a risk to ask no matter what. So, maybe just becoming a little more practiced with broadening your asks. Because yeah, it might be people who would want to show up for you or would show up for you.
Yeah, you said it perfectly. I mean, we’re both I guess prime examples of maybe kind of the opposite ends is, at the end of the day, family is just people. And there are people that have family that don’t necessarily show up. And you have people like family that kind of do. And even on my end where, yeah, I had some great family. But like, Are there times where I’ve had friends show up for me and more of where some people might say as a family type of an impact. I mean, I use the example like me and my brother is like we are closer now. But I’ve had more friend brothers show up to me in a brotherly love way than I’ve had from my brother. And there’s no one to necessarily like blame on that or to say, well, you have a brother, like they should. It’s like there doesn’t have to be expectation. At the end of the day, there are people. And for the most part of my life with my twin brother, we are just completely different people. We weren’t gonna show up for each other that way. But I found some people that did. And my brother has shown up for me and other ways as we’ve evolved, and…
Alex Alexander 43:45
He sticks to his skill set. Like, he has certain interests, certain ways, certain connections, certain whatever. We all do, and he just hasn’t done that like guilt shame of like, well, I have to. And you guys have like found your way. Now you know what to call them about.
Totally. And yeah, I mean, people are just people and they can have that blood related family thing. And they can be someone that you met randomly at a bar. And the connection you established with each other can be limitless, depending on where it goes. I mean, not everyone is going to be compatible or in a line, but I don’t think you need to put people in categories based off of those titles.
Alex Alexander 44:26
Yeah. I mean, romantic relationships are like this, right? We just meet someone potentially in a bar, and then suddenly, they’re filling all these roles. The thing is, I think that society has predetermined what those roles are. So when you enter into the relationship, you have some sense of kind of like what you’re committing to. Not that that’s when people have a whole spectrum, but there’s some sens. Friendships don’t have that. And I think that people have a really hard time with that. Like you could meet a friend in a bar in your 30s. 20 years later that person could be the person that’s like picking him up from doctor’s appointment. You have no idea, but because we don’t know exactly what the trajectory looks like, and we get so nervous, trusting in the relationship for a lot of people.
Yeah, you never know where that trajectory will go. And I think… I think it’s just more freeing yourself of an expectation of where one will go, is to be open minded. And don’t try to put the label or the cap of where you’ll be with somebody. It doesn’t matter.
Alex Alexander 45:32
I agree. This has been amazing. I truly think this is gonna really help some people think about their relationships. And watch, I’m gonna get messages saying that people like, talk to someone and feel like they have a new chosen family member. I wouldn’t be surprised.
You never know. I love it.
Alex Alexander 45:52
I am grateful to you. Thank you for doing this interview.
Of course. 100%.
Alex Alexander 46:00
Thank you for listening to this episode of Friendship IRL. I am so honored to have these conversations with you. But don’t let the chat die here. Send me a voice message. I created a special website just to chat with you. You can find it at alexalex.chat. You can also find me on Instagram. My handle, @itsalexalexander. Or go ahead and leave a review wherever you prefer to listen to podcasts. Now if you want to take this conversation a step further, send this episode to a friend. Tell them you found it interesting. And use what we just talked about as a conversation starter the next time you and your friend hang out. No need for a teary Goodbye. I’ll be back with a new episode next week.