Behind the Scenes: A Friendship that Spans Decades

Behind the Scenes: A Friendship that Spans Decades with Elise Enriquez - Episode 51 of the Friendship IRL Podcast

Podcast Description

What does it take for a friendship to be a constant in your life for two decades?

That’s what we’re talking about with today’s guest, Elise Enriquez, a productivity coach who gives us a behind-the-scenes look at her friendship with Andrea, which she says is one of the most meaningful relationships in her life. 

Elise tells us about how she and Andrea became friends, how they built the friendship, how they stayed connected through life’s big transitions, and how they fill the time between the “bright light” moments of their friendship. 

They provide so many tangible examples of how they keep in touch. A lot of the time, that’s where the magic is – in the small, simple ways we show up for each other, those mundane details that can make the biggest impact.

In this episode you’ll hear about:

  • Elise and Andrea’s friendship: how they met, how they became close, and how they navigated through some major life changes, from divorces and kids to new marriages
  • Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in friendships, which gives other people an opportunity to really see us
  • “Doing life” with our friends – debriefing in real time or spending time with them – instead of spending our time together doing catch-up
  • Bright light moments in friendship, the darkness between them, and the everyday touchpoints that can fill that darkness
  • Creating more “roots” or strands in your friendship that make it easier to keep connections active, from a regular activity or shared interest

Reflection Question:

Andrea talks about the darkness between the bright light moments. What are your bright light moments with your closest friends? Is there something like Marco Polo or a tradition you can use to fill the time between the bright light moments?

Notable quotes:

“It’s hard to watch somebody else struggle and have a hard time and not be able to do something for them. I’m a coach, by profession. And so that’s one thing I have to be careful about as a coach. You can’t want something more for somebody than they want it for themselves. It’s true. It’s true in life no matter what. But it’s something I’m especially watchful for as a coach. It’s something I had to watch out for in all my relationships, because I just want so much for people – but it doesn’t matter if they don’t want it.” 

“If you really treasure that friendship and you want to grow it, figure out how you can nurture the roots and create more roots. For us, it just so happens that Marco Polo is our way to stay really tightly, lovingly connected to each other in an everyday way. My goal is to have an everyday life I love – that’s always what I’m working towards or working on. I literally do have an everyday life I love, and Marco Polo with Andrea is a part of that. Sure, there are gonna be the bright light moments. But I want everything in between to be lovely as well. I don’t want to be living for those bright light moments with Andrea.” 

Resources & Links
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Until next time…

Take the conversation beyond the new podcast on friendship! Follow Alex on Instagram (@itsalexalexander) or Tiktok (@itsalexalexander), or send her a voice message directly with all your friendship thoughts, problems, and triumphs by heading to AlexAlex.chat and hitting record. 

Episode Transcript

Podcast Intro/Outro  00:02

Alrighty, gang. Here’s to nights that turn into mornings and friends that turn in family. Cheers!

Podcast Intro/Outro   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 [Narration]  00:50

What does it take for friendship, to be a constant in your life for over two decades? That’s what we’re talking about today. On today’s episode, I am joined by my guest, Elise. Now, Elise is a productivity coach who helps women in charge, make the shifts from overwhelm to taking back control of their time. That’s what she does on the day to day. But when she’s off the clock, she is a wife, an auntie, a friend. Elise lets us in behind the scenes of what I think she would say is one of the most meaningful relationships in her life, her friendship with Andrea. She tells us all about how they became friends, the process of building that friendship, what it was like to go through, not one, not two, but I think three major life shifts, if I’m counting correctly in there. I’m sure that there are many more that Elise didn’t even share. We talk a little bit about what it’s like to let each other into the mundane, the day to day, and how that impacts their friendship. You know, you’ve probably heard me talk quite a bit about this idea that it’s the small mundane details that make the biggest impact in our friendships. It’s just those consistent little moments that add up. And that is definitely what Elise and Andrea have figured out how to do long term. Whether it was random chats about pop culture, walks, Marco Polo, and more. With that, let’s get today’s episode. I think that this is going to be an episode that so many people listen to, and get a little behind the scenes. Because this idea that maintaining a friendship for a really long time is somehow better, or, like I don’t want to say higher, is really pushed. But in reality, being able to do that is so much work. Like we’re not acknowledging what’s happening behind the scenes. And I tell people that all the time, like yeah, they might have been friends for 20 years. But most people aren’t talking about the highs and the lows and the pauses and the breaks and the heartbreak and the rebuilding. Like, this is going to be an episode that I think gives people like a taste of what it really takes. So do you want to tell us a little bit about your friendship with Andrea and how long you’ve been friends? 

Elise Enriquez  03:33

Sure. Andrew and I… oh my gosh. So Andrea is married to a friend of mine who’s practically… like he’s a childhood friend. He’s practically my cousin. Like, even though we’re not related, that’s how long we’ve known each other. That’s how long our families have known each other. And so he was like the single guy of all of us couples, right? And he kept looking for somebody land he finally finds Andrea. And I just was, you know, excited to meet her. And that was probably in 2010, I think. Oh, gosh, she’s gonna be mad at me. I mean… all the dates wrong, Andrea, if you listen to this later. But there were just like little things that happened where it was her trying to fit into this friend group, right? Where she just like… there were different people that she connected with at different times. And we kind of connected a lot over pop culture. And then her grandmother passed away. And her husband, I don’t even… were they even married yet? I don’t think they were married yet. But he was traveling for work when it happened. And her dad called him to say, “Here’s what’s going on. I’m about to call her.” And then he’s like, “I’m not there.” And so, he called me and he was just like, “Elise, this is going on. Like, can you go be there with her so she has somebody with her when this is happening?” Because her whole family’s across the country. And so I did and I don’t know… I don’t know if that was the beginning. I’m not quite sure where it all was. But there was something about being able to show up for her in that moment that just started to solidify us, I think, as people that could kind of be around each other and the hard moments. And I think that’s like, that’s, I think the biggest part of our… our friendship is just that ability to hang with each other in those hard moments as well as have like, just a ridiculously good time with each other and make each other laugh like crazy, right? Like, it’s a both the ends. So yeah, that’s Andrea and I. We’ve just been through it all. And she’s had kids and has been married to, like I said, this great guy friend of mine forever. And I don’t have kids. And I got divorced a few years ago, and I was married to a man and now I’m married to a woman. And so it’s just like, we’ve navigated a lot of stuff together. And it’s just kind of crazy to look back at. And I think that having a long relationship, long friendship is really cool and lovely. And sometimes you don’t meet those people later. Because like I was in my late 20s, early 30s, when we met. You know, this wasn’t like a lifelong friend from childhood. This was somebody I met as a grown up, and I wasn’t really, like accepting applications for new friends at that time. I kind of had my… you know, like, we had all these couple friends, you know, and I don’t think I’ve ever really had… and this is not anything against any of my other friends, but like, I didn’t know what a best friend was like until these past few years I have realized that Andrea and I are actually besties. You know?

Alex Alexander  06:29

yeah. Yeah, that she’s kind of like your person that you call when everything’s happening. Yeah. And I love that you’re calling out when you met. Because I do think that’s the thing is that a lot of people feel like they can’t meet this like, closest friend. Yeah, if they haven’t met them in their, you know, teens or college days. Like if they’ve missed the boat on that, that they’ll never meet someone. But you are proof that that can happen. We can make meaningful connections all the way until we’re in the grave.

Elise Enriquez  07:06

Absolutely. There’s obviously something to be said about shared history. But I think shared histories can keep people together longer than necessary. Yeah, I mean, that can be said about my marriage, my first marriage, and even like, meeting my wife later in life. Like, I met my wife when I was almost 40. And oh my gosh, like, now I know what love is, right? You know, it’s just like, oh, I get it now. And I loved my husband, but we grew up together, right? It was kind of like that growing up together thing that bonded us so much. And so for Andrea and I, it’s kind of funny, because she has like her best friend from childhood, she has these other close friends and there’s like little parts of me that sometimes feels like, oh, why was she talking to her about this and not me, even though she talks to me about everything too. But I’ll have these little moments of like, oh, I’m not one of those friends for her. But I’m a different friend for her and for who she is now. And that feels just as special. But you know, I can try to be jealous if I really wanted to be but I’m not.

Alex Alexander  08:03

I mean, I call that a present friend. So I call right like, currently, you and Andrew are doing life together. You are very much like in the know about all the present stuff. And I don’t know what Andrea is calling… it doesn’t matter what Andrew is calling, you know, her high school best friends about whether it’s to tell them the same things they’re telling you. Or there might be things that were before you two met. She could tell you about it. But it wouldn’t hit quite the same way. Because you don’t have the same history. And I love that you’re talking about that. Because so many people don’t want to acknowledge that there’s sometimes a little jealousy and you’re like, wait, what’s going on? And without really, you know, we don’t have a lot of language for friendships, there’s not a lot of ways to describe it. So we can say, best friend, but like best friend for what? Is something I say all the time. You may not be her best friend for childhood memories. Because you weren’t there. So that would be a reason she’d have to call them or she would call them maybe. When you understand that you can kind of logically rationalize it. You’re like, oh, well, yeah. That makes sense.

Elise Enriquez  09:13

That’s such a great distinction. Because when I think about Andrea and I, it’s like she has her friends for parenting and motherhood. I can’t be there for her that way and that was a… that was a big transition point for us to in our friendship that it wasn’t obvious that it’d be a transition point in terms of how we would relate to each other. Because like, she knew I was going to be like an all in kind of auntie with her kiddos, because she just knows I love kids and that’s how I was going to be. But it was different to kind of see her relate to my big sister, for example, who had kids at the exact same time. They had their kids one week apart. So they were trying to get pregnant at the same time. They were pregnant at the same time. They had their babies a week apart. And so it was like all of those things. And so it was kind kind of like… I didn’t have a membership card to that circle of friendship and communication with her. And not that, you know, she didn’t share some of her struggles with me as a parent or around breastfeeding around whatever it might be, but I certainly couldn’t relate in the same way. I could relate through my sister like, oh, yeah, my sister’s experiencing the same thing with… that’s not the same as being able to oh my god, I know, it’s so exhausting those first few, whatever. You know, like, I just couldn’t be that person for her in that way, but I could be the person that could be like, oh, I’m so sorry, honey. This is so hard. Is there anything I can do to help kind of thing or like, you know, you’re doing great. And I can encourage her, but it’s just in a different way. And so that was like another little bit of a tug on my heartstrings of like, oh, I don’t get to know her in this way that all these other women get to know her in.

Alex Alexander [Narration]  10:54

I love, love, love, love that Elise is talking about this. Because I think that so many friendship problems happen because of this exact scenario. We aren’t the right person for our friends. In this case, Elise is not a mom. She couldn’t quite relate on the exact same level to all of the newborn experiences. And because messaging has really convinced us that in order to be this closest friend, we have to be this all or nothing, therefore everything, always available, always there person. When that’s not true, we can really feel like something’s wrong in our friendship. And either the person who needs support doesn’t go get it. Or the friend who feels in this case, at least, feels like she’s on the outside of this experience. Like, yeah, I get that you want to be there for they’re your friend. We all want to be there. But it’s knowing that sometimes we’re not the right person, and caring more that our friend gets the right support than caring that that support comes from us. Is there some sadness there? Sure. Yeah. We love our friends, we would love to be able to relate to them in all the ways and all the places and be the right person. But that’s not reality. And I think if we could accept that, a lot more friendships would make it long-term. Because a fight like this, quite often can be the reason… a moment like this, in a friendship, this discomfort, especially as we become adults, and we are dynamic, unique people. And we are different than our friends and life paths diverge, navigating that doing the work to stay friends, even though you’re going after different experiences and goals, that is where a lot of friendships break apart. 

Alex Alexander  13:10

Yeah, you know, you can listen, you can have more flexibility to show up and help. You can hear all the stories. But yeah, you can’t like quite relate the same way. I totally understand that. And I think that that’s such an important… it’s like, I don’t want to call it jealousy. Maybe the like tug that you were talking about is like I think we love people so much that we want to be there for them. But sometimes, we just can’t. So there’s that tug of I wish I could do this for you. But then you have to be happy that they can find like your sister or those other people who can support them in those specific ways that you can’t. But that doesn’t negate the fact that we wish we could because we love them so much. I’m truly dealing with… I think we’re all dealing with this. People are gonna listen to this episode and be like, oh my gosh, that happens all the time. Like, we have some friends, I’m actually flying down to go help take care of them. They have some life stuff going on. And they need someone to come deal with their dog and cook for them and things like that. And I have wanted to be there for them since the beginning, but it just didn’t make sense for me to be the person in the beginning. And now we’re months in. And you know, she called and said, “Can you come?” But like it doesn’t mean I haven’t wanted to the whole time or just wasn’t the right choice. Like it’s just because we love people so much that we want to do it. 

Elise Enriquez  14:41

And I think that’s… I know I’m wired for that a little bit of just kind of… like my wife kind of laughs about it… or not laughs about actuall. It’s more like she sees it in me and helps me see it when something is happening that I can’t do anything about is such a struggle for me. Like when something’s happening for somebody else and I can’t do anything like that, to make anything better or to fix it or to do is like, it’s so hard for me because I just want to like help, help, help. And there’s like, there’s nothing. Sometimes there’s nothing you can actually do in some of those moments, and it’s hard. It’s hard to watch. You know, Andrea and I have both gone through our own things in life. And it’s hard to just watch somebody else struggle and have a hard time and not be able to do something for them. And it’s also just like, I’m a coach, by profession. And so it’s just like, that’s one thing I have to be careful about as a coach is like, you can’t want something more for somebody than they want it for themselves. It’s true in life no matter what. But something I’m especially watchful for as a coach, or in my in a coaching capacity, but it’s like something that I had to watch out for in all my relationships. I just want so much for people, but like, it doesn’t matter if they don’t want it, right?

Alex Alexander  15:48

So, yeah, we always have to remember, like, we’re just really on the sidelines of all this. Even in the relationship, right? Even like when you’re in the relationship with Andrea, and you’re like a go to person she calls or meeting with my friends, like we’re still us, and they’re still them, and we can’t do all the things and fix all the things and be all the things. I say this all the time that like the older we get… when we were younger, and you had a best friend, your lives were so simple. You probably went to the same school, understood who was on that sports team they were on and you were on this sports team, or you were in ASB or whatever it was, and you knew what neighborhoods they lived in and your lives were pretty similar. And as adults, our lives are so different. The career paths we pick, the places we live, kids, no kids, married, not married, like life choices diverge. And we just can’t be all the things to someone because we’re too complex at this point.

Elise Enriquez  16:53

I love that you brought up that all things to people because that is something I’ve seen. It’s something that I experienced when I first started dating my wife. And also something that I appreciate about the relationship that Andrea and I have is that with my wife, I remember, we weren’t very far into dating, and she said something about the therapist that she’s had for like 18 years. And I remember thinking, oh, thank God. I don’t have to be managing her emotions. I was very codependent in my… I didn’t realize that I was very codependent my first marriage. And I was like, oh, she has… it is not just all on me. It’s not all on me to take care of her this way. And, and she’s already taking responsibility for that. And I think that’s one of the best things for Andrea and I and she talks about having a therapist publicly. So I know I can say that. But like we both have, you know, our mental health professionals that we work with, and that that we can go to and we do a lot of processing with each other. And we like do downloads from our sessions, and stuff like that. And so we’re like, oh, here’s what happened. It’s just like another place for us to be able to support each other, but we know we have… that each person has support outside of us. And I think that’s really important in any relationship. And I’m grateful for it in my relationship with Andrea for sure. 

Alex Alexander  18:06

Agreed. In any relationship, it’s so important. So something I’m curious about, like you and Andrea became friends. But you went to support her in a moment of grief. That’s a pretty vulnerable moment. Do you feel like that skyrocketed maybe like the vulnerability you have? Or do you feel like it just was that one moment and then you still had to like build trust? And I’m asking that because a lot of people I think, are looking for this in sometimes to really get close to someone? And I’m not sure if it’s really one moment. So, what was your experience?

Elise Enriquez  18:10

No, I think it was definitely a building trust thing. I took a much longer to be the vulnerable one than she did. It took me being in crisis to really be vulnerable. And I didn’t… I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing. But it took me going through divorce, which was only seven years ago. I’m saying only… I’m saying that in terms of my relationship with Andrea has been much longer than that. By that point, she and I were both aware of some highs and lows here and there. But it was more like obvious ones. Like somebody gets sick or dies or those kinds of family things that can happen that are hard and the life things that can happen that are hard. But it was interesting because it was her first going through stuff like after pregnancy and having kids and all that kind of stuff where I was kind of hearing more of her struggle and vulnerability. And then for me, it was going through the divorce where that really… where I really had to make a choice about not trying to carry things on my own anymore and letting people in. And I had my sister basically, my now wife, and Andrea. Like those were the people that I and my sister in law… I grew up with my sister and sister in law together, they’re married. And so it’s like I have those two, Andrea and my now wife to be able to navigate all the highs and lows and like just the raw raw emotions that I was never letting anybody into before. And I felt like I could do that with her because of how much she had led me in to a lot of her lows that she was facing through, having kids and all that kind of stuff. Trying to have kids and having kids and just navigating all that and health stuff that came up because of that. And so it’s just like there became so much to navigate. The funny thing is, is that we didn’t always do it on the phone or face to face, we did it over Marco Polo.

Alex Alexander [Narration]  20:55

Before the conversation shifts topics, something really great happened in this last little bit of the conversation. And I don’t want to glaze over it, I don’t want to miss the important message here. Elise was saying that it took her a lot longer to be vulnerable. And this really hit me because recently, this was actually a conversation in our household. You see, I think quite often we’re looking for the other person to be vulnerable. A lot of messages, say out there, you know, to get people to like you, to connect with them, to get them to care about you, pay attention to them. Look to them, to open up to you, right, we want everybody else to open up to us. But we’re not thinking so much about whether we are also opening up. Like somehow we’ve been convinced that if we just give all of our attention to our friend, that that’s enough. But we love being there for our friends, listening to our friend, feeling like we know things about our friends. And if we don’t reciprocate, and also open up them, we’re denying them that same opportunity. So let me tell you a little story. Recently, we had a very dear friend of ours, call us out a little bit in the most loving way. But he said, you know, every time we talk, you spend the entire time asking about his life, what’s happening with his family, his job, his feelings, his goals. And then he says, “You know, when I asked you, you just minimize yoursel.” You say, “Well, it’s fine. We’re busy. We’re working a lot. We have this trip coming up we’re really excited about. But like, what about you? What about you?” And we always redirect it back. And he said, “It’s getting really hard because I feel like I don’t really know you anymore.” And boy, oh boy, was that a stab to the heart. But he’s right. You see, Michael and I had just really convinced ourselves that our life isn’t as complex or hard or difficult as our friends life. That they had just made a big move , has two kids, wife went back to the job that she wanted, that we don’t have as many obligations as child free people, that our life is going pretty well. So we wanted to really give him a place to be seen amidst all the stuff happening in his life. And we love giving him that space. So we really wanted to offer it up. But in doing so, we didn’t give him the opportunity to see us. So this is my long story, my long example to say that as much as we focus on the other person opening up to us, I think we all need to turn an eye to ourselves sometimes. Myself included. We have a Marco Polo episode. Yeah, yeah. So

Elise Enriquez  24:08

Marco Polo became… because she was nursing at all hours right of the day and night, right? And that would be like her time to just kind of then in debrief and an update me because we just couldn’t catch each other at the right times. And it kept us together. Like, it’s so funny. And now we use it more than ever. Like we probably… like just today we’ve Marcopoloed it back and forth at least four times. And sometimes it’s like a 15 minute one, you know, where she was telling me something that went wrong with her website and blah, blah, blah. And she just like kind of updating me or whatever. And I can come back with a funny little comment or like, “Oh, have you tried this?” And we just have this back and forth there that actually works. And then when we’re together, it’s just like, we just pick up no problem, right? So it’s just… it’s kind of funny because we wouldn’t have time to be on the phone at the same time otherwise. But somehow while I’m making lunch, I can listen to Marco Polo that she did while she was driving her son to school. You know, that way, we get to stay connected. It’s completely unexpected. And I totally pay for the premium version of Marco Polo.

Alex Alexander  25:10

Oh, me too. Me too.

Elise Enriquez  25:12

Yeah, just so that we can have that. Like that is… I literally invest in our relationship.

Alex Alexander  25:17

Yeah. You need time, resources, and attention. Yeah. And I love it. Because you’ve made like an intentional choice. You’re saying you invest in but you have. You two have like, found a way that works in life’s currencies, and you’re paying for the membership, which people are like, why would you do that? It allows you to like send voice memos. So if you’re sending in the… nursing, and it maybe doesn’t make sense to send a video or text message, really does add a layer. This is not sponsored by Marco Polo. It adds a layer to it, and you are consciously choosing to do that, to stay close and present. I’ll say to stay present in the ins and outs of your day.

Elise Enriquez  26:04

That makes me feel closer to her, you know, to have that. And like I said, when we do our our debriefs on, like a coaching session, or therapy or anything like that, like, we could just do that and be like, okay, so here’s what we talked about. And here’s what’s going on, or like, one of us has a health issue. It’s like, alright, got just got back from the doctor. And here’s what’s happening.I had a partial tear in my ACL this spring. And so it’s just been like, the little updates, like, you know, after as I get in the car, right after I get off the phone with my wife, I’m like firing up Marco Polo for my drive home and telling Andrea everything that happened at the doctor’s office, you know, just like… it’s just what we do. It’s how we stay connected, and it works really well.

Alex Alexander  26:43

But it’s such a beautiful example. So many people, I think, wish they had, I’m gonna say, closer friends, right? Or this best friend. And I say to people all the time, like, I think such a big reason we feel close to our closest people is because we do life with them, like we are debriefing kind of in real time, or updating them or telling them about the doctors or, you know, turning on Marco Polo, while you’re in the car, go into carpool or, you know, if you have the flexibility and the possibility, like being in the car to go to carpool. Like it’s the mundane stuff that makes us feel really close. And that, I think, is what a lot of people want in these really long-term friendships. And when it doesn’t feel that way, but they’re like, this is my closest person, a lot of people are confused. Or like, why don’t I feel as connected as I once did? They’re my closest person. It’s like you’ve gone out there and intentionally made choices to keep this alive and feeling this way, even a decade plus into this friendship.

Elise Enriquez  28:03

Well, one of the things it makes me think of this analogy I’ve always had in my head about a string of like party lights. The bright light moments are awesome, right? Like, every year, we watch every single Best Picture nomination for the Oscars. She and I do. Every year somehow we watch them all. Even during the pandemic, we just would push play from our own homes at the same time. But when we were not quarantined, we go to the movie, we go to a theater together, or we rent it together. And we watch all of the Best Picture nominees. So that’s like a season that’s like a pocket of time where we’re seeing each other all the time, and we’re making an extra effort. It’s a lightbulb moment for us, right? And then in the holiday or actually this summer, we’re going to be with them on a camping trip. Right? And so that’s going to be another light bulb moment. Right? And so, those are great. Those are great, but in between can be darkness if you’re not careful. Right? And so we just make sure that in between, we have those, like you said, those day to day like just life stuff touchpoints and updates and I didn’t know how much that would mean. At first, part of having the premium version of Marco Polo and Andrea will laugh at this is like, is I can listen to her at a faster speed. Because Andrea’s Marco Polos are on the long side compared to mine, because she’ll do them while she’s driving. And so she’ll just kind of keep chatting the whole time she’s doing the drive, which means when she’s having to make a left-hand turn and she’s in traffic, she’s not really talking to me, but I’m sitting there you know? So, it’s so nice to have that premium version where I could do that. But those are the… like it’s on that drive when she remembers the most random thing that she might forget to tell me about before and where her brain is going and she can just share those things with me that I wouldn’t get you know if we met for cocktails like once a month or something. You know, that’s like, it’s just not the same for us.

Alex Alexander  30:03

Yeah, they get filtered out because you only have one or two hours. So it’s not important enough. But that’s the stuff that makes us feel close to each other. You can feel close in other ways, but there’s some sense of familiarity when you know what she was doing last Tuesday. When you know, the random, like, I don’t know, she bought the type of yogurt she hates, and it’s accidentally in her fridge, and what is she going to do with it now. That kind of stuff adds up over time totally. And the string lights, I use, like a similar analogy of like, you want to leave bread crumbs till the next cookie. Otherwise, if there are no bread crumbs, you just arrive at the cookie and like, that’s great. But then you have to, well, you don’t have to, but a lot of people end up spending a good amount of time on that barbecue, on that trip, trying to catch up. And then you’re missing out on being in the moment. So if you can just do these small things in the middle, you can really just fully be present in the moment.

Elise Enriquez  31:14

Yeah. It’s one of those things where I’m the type of person where I can see somebody after years and reconnect very quickly. I can kind of talk to anybody, whatever. But it’s not the same. It’s not the same as having somebody… that again, even from childhood I’ve known forever, like I was roommate with or whatever it might be, right? It’s just… it isn’t the same as having this kind of like, almost daily touch points. Like I actually was just thinking today. She didn’t send me a Marco Polo. I wonder what’s going on. And then like, you know, I get down to my desk, and there’s one in there. I’m like, okay, cool. I’ll listen to that at lunch, you know, because she’s usually the first one to do it. And then I respond, like, sometimes I’m the first to do it. But it’s like, I get to like… over the weekends, we don’t typically do it, because we’re both just with our families and new stuff. But it’s throughout the week when it tends to happen. And it’s just funny, because then on Mondays, oftentimes, we’re like, “Here’s what I did over the weekend.” Before we started recording, we were talking about, I was over at the Gorge in Central Washington for a concert. I was there on Friday night with my wife, my sister and her wife. And then we saw the lineup for Saturday. And we’re like, okay, we want to… you know what? We’re going to stay. My sister can figure out what they can do with the kids, we got dog coverage, blah, blah, blah, we’re gonna stay. And I’m like, we started thinking about other people we should talk into coming over from Seattle, which for those who aren’t local, it’s a long drive to go get to Central Washington. And I called Andrea. And it’s so funny, because like my sister called one of her friends that was in town, they happen to be in town. And that pitch was so different than the way I pitched it to Andrea, because I know how she is. I know how she thinks. I can’t just like spring something on her. She’s a planner. I was like, my sister and her wife and my wife are all laughing at me because of like, the tone of my call versus the tone of my sister’s call was so different. Because they’re just like, “I know Andrea. If I’m gonna get her to come over here, I’m going to have a certain way.” And so we got to have a bright, light moment this weekend, right? We got to have a nice bright party light moment, being at this concert together, having this impromptu trip together, where, you know, she had to make things happen, and her husband had to step in and help more with the kids. And like, she really had to pull that off for herself. But that’s like, part of our friendship, too, is supporting each other in those ways of like, “Honey, you gotta get out of the house. You got to give yourself something right now.” And likewise for her where she can help me. I was possibly gonna have to get knee surgery and she was just like, “Girl, you better not be going on that camping trip. If you got the surgery, like, you’ve got to not come on that trip.” Where she’s just like, “You got to take care of yourself on this. Or we can just kind of…” We know these things about each other because of these day to day interactions, and we can kind of call each other on things gently and lovingly. Like, it’s interesting how little friction we’ve had in our relationship, considering the way we’re able to kind of call each other out on stuff. And I don’t know if it’s because it’s Marco Polo. So you have kind of a time to like, take it in and process. But I also think it’s just the level of time we’ve had together where it’s like, I know she knows me. Like she knows me. Okay, she’s probably got this right. But I can handle it from her better than I can handle it from my wife, who is amazing. But there’s just something about how she and I are able to do that with each other that feels safe, even when it’s challenging. Yeah.

Alex Alexander  34:50

Yeah. And I mean, I would venture to say that part of that just has to do with the fact that when you are called out because you’re being so consistent and sharing so much of life and you each have a pretty clear picture of the backstory. So when somebody’s saying something, it’s not like there’s hidden facts in the background necessarily, where, then you’re coming back to like, well, you didn’t… I didn’t tell you xyz, that’s why I make that decision. And I think that helps a lot. It also might be the reason that a lot of people don’t. If you don’t have this consistency, you may not bring up something to a friend, because you realize, like, I don’t know if I know the full story. So I’m just gonna maybe not go there. Because they might be making that for a reason. But when you are really letting each other in the way you and Andrea are, that creates this space to ask these harder questions and push each other a little bit.

Elise Enriquez  35:54

No, I think that’s totally true. Because I watch myself do that in other relationships, where I’m like, I don’t really know what’s going on, I’m not gonna say anything kind of thing. Whereas, like, like I said, with her, I’m like, Ah, what did you just say, you know, you are not gonna say that about yourself or whatever. And she’ll come right back at me with you know, whenever I need that, too. It’s just, it’s so great. But you’re right, it is that we have, there’s very little that we don’t know about each other’s lives. And so, you know, what we’re saying is very informed.

Alex Alexander  36:25

When you’re in your friendship, like the, the tenure of your friendship, and I think this is specific, like your friendship is particularly interesting, right? Because you did become closer friends? Would you say your late 20s, early 30s. So you’re gonna pass the point of high school college where that consistency is super easy, because life doesn’t really have a lot of responsibilities. Was this like a natural progression? Was there a conversation about figuring out consistency? Like, was there a period where this didn’t exist? And you had to like, talk about it and propose, like, hey, maybe we should download this Marco Polo app. And this would help us like,

Elise Enriquez  37:09

who? Take it. Now I want to be like, Hey, can we pull Andrea in real quick and kind of Marco Polo her real quick and ask her Oh, we’ve got a Marco Polo. One of the things was we lived close enough to each other. At one point, like eventually, her and her husband moved pretty close to this crew of people that we all lived in this area. And so I was able to drive over to her house and do morning walks. And we were both wanting to just be more active. And so that was kind of like an anchor point for us to have that consistency. And then we had that for a long time. And then I got divorced, right and I moved out of the neighborhood I left the neighborhood. And so even though I wasn’t far away, I was also just going through a lot and I was further away for sure. It was definitely was not as convenient for me to just go on the morning walks anymore. Yeah, for sure. Went back to work was probably the first thing that slowed that down, but like that started to establish something some kind of like, rhythm of communication between us. And then over time, once we found Marco Polo, like that’s just like, yeah, like between like, divorce and Marco Polo, like those are the things that brought she and I close. We never had a conversation about it. It was kind of more that we just started building the Oscar tradition with each other like there were just things that became or like the fact that we both subscribed at the time to Entertainment Weekly. It was a magazine it’s no longer makes us so sad but like so we had like these kind of like connection topics that were really make that way to you know, when I read it like it’s like this weekly magazine, like oh my god, did you get the whatever episode, I can take a picture of it like before we did Markopolos like, I can’t even imagine what life would have been like if we had Marcopolo an entertainment with it the same time our minds would have been blown. But it was just like these little things. And again, those were everyday things like a morning walk a weekly magazine, that were just these little connection points. And you know, we grew up very differently. She’s from Nebraska, I’m from Central Washington. So we grew up differently. But we have these kind of pop culture connection points, that we’re still also different She’s three years younger than me and sometimes that’s enough younger that you you’re missing some overlap, but the majority of overlap is still there. But there’s just this like affinity we have for those things that were just again, these additional little things that just started like weaving this little rope of a friendship together. That was like early on but over time more kind of fibers kept getting woven in and woven in and woven in.

Alex Alexander  39:45

Yeah, I call those shared experience roots i this whole analogy that stood at the tree but basically they’re the things like you one created a consistent pattern with the walks like a thing that you felt comfortable doing together. That then created space for you to talk more and learn more about each other. And then the Entertainment Weekly is, again, like a topic that you were very comfortable texting about, or reaching out about. And you never probably really thought twice about texting about it or talking about are reaching out about it. But then because you have those, it allows space to say like, oh, well, how was your day? How was your week? How did that doctor’s appointment go? Do you still want to go do that thing next weekend. Like it removes the barrier for reaching out. And those are so great for people to have. There’s less resistance, I think when you can find those, and a friendship.

Elise Enriquez  40:45

Well, and those are the things that then can still hold when other strands fall away. Right. It’s like not having like one thing with somebody is having like so many things that when one thing falls away, there’s still something connecting you. And so when she became a parent, a lot of freedom fell away from her, right. A lot of us just going in meeting up for a coffee or drinks or going for walks, like on our own, like all these things, things started falling away. But because we had these other things like we could still connect on those and still just like rooming connected and so it was one her second child was born, that we were doing Markopolos. And he’s four, because that’s when we just started connecting that way. But because we had those other strands, you know, there we were able to hold on.

Alex Alexander  41:36

I love this, you’re confirming this whole framework I made. And I think that’s pretty good. But yeah, like I say a lot of there’s so much focus on vulnerability. But I think there’s something really powerful and variety. Yeah, like the more variety you have of ways to connect ways you feel comfortable topics to share. It doesn’t need to be all, but like building some variety, like you said means when I call it roots, you called strands, like when some of them die, there are still other ones that make it easy for you to stay connected. And then you can use those times that you are still connecting to figure out new ones and rebuild like joining Marco Polo. And that I think so many people focus on like the depth of knowing someone really well. And if we focus more on like this variety, it would make it easier when life transitions happen. Because they are going to happen.

Elise Enriquez  42:32

Yeah. Whether we want them to or not, they’re gonna happen. Yeah,

Alex Alexander  42:35

yeah, like, right, you’re getting divorced and moving out of the neighborhood. Suddenly, you didn’t have the walks, but you still had Entertainment Weekly, you still have the Oscars. And you could use those to then like, figure out new ways to stay connected, like adding Marco Polo, and it makes it a more natural transition for people. Absolutely.

Elise Enriquez  42:57

I think the pandemic did that too. Like it reinforced our Marcopolo time because it was like we weren’t, we just weren’t going to be able to be around each other at certain points, right. And so, like I said, for the Oscar quest, you know, we’re just like, Alright, we’re gonna watch this movie on this night. We’ll call each other at seven actually. Marcopolo seven. All right, we’ll chitchat a little bit like ready to go? Or no, no resume, sorry, resume at seven. And then like, alright, hit start right now. And then we would connect afterwards and talk about the movie together. Yeah. Just was like a way to keep that going. And, again, yeah, if you have enough of the roots, like you’re saying, if you have enough to roots, then you can do that.

Alex Alexander  43:37

Yeah. And they don’t need to be complex. I mean, this is showing like, they’re pretty simple things that are simple, like Entertainment Weekly, pretty simple thing that can really be something that’s like holding your friendships together. Yeah. But hopefully you have a few of those to make it easier. You know, when Entertainment Weekly is no longer a magazine and things and it breaks your heart.

Elise Enriquez  43:58

And you’re like, No, I don’t want people magazine. I want Entertainment Weekly. It’s totally different magazines.

Alex Alexander  44:04

Yeah, yeah. What would you say, has been like the hardest. I mean, you had some big like a divorce kids. Were any of those maybe like a harder transition to navigate than others. The kids

Elise Enriquez  44:19

part was hard for me. I mean, I know it was hard for her because it was a huge life adjustment. It was hard for me as a friend because like I was saying there was that part, there was a strand that I didn’t get to have with her, which was motherhood. And I chose not to have kids. That was a conscious choice. I’ve just at some point early on, I just chose I just didn’t really want to have kids. And it’s been a thing for me where it’s like it is hard sometimes because it’s a strand I don’t have with my sister. It’s a strand I don’t have with my mom. It’s a strand I don’t have with Andrea. It’s a route that I don’t have with any of them. Right. And so that was really sorry. I’m like, let me use her like No, no, you’re good and your audience will be more familiar listeners will be more familiar, right? That was a hard transition. For me and our Our friendship because I just felt a little bit like an outsider sometimes. And she never made me feel that way. I just felt that way. And, yeah, I was kind of worried that I was gonna lose her, I think that was gonna lose her to other moms that I was gonna lose her to the kids that she was gonna lose herself, you know, like, all of these different things. And the thing is, like, like I said, luckily, like, I genuinely love kids. And so I wanted to be around her as a mom, too, and around the kids and around their family. And so luckily, that was a want and a desire for me that allowed us to stay connected that way. I have to imagine for her and I’m gonna ask her this now, but I would mentioned for her it would be not so much the divorce, which I’m sure like, it shook up all the our friendship world, because my husband and I were very much like a hub. And we hosted all the things and we gathered all the people and stuff like that. So it was kind of shocking for people. But when I met my wife, Kim, and found somebody that I could connect with so well, who wanted to listen to me and who wanted to spend time with me, Kim is my best friend in a different way. Right? Like Kim’s my person in such a different way. But there is that vulnerability that but safety that comes fostered within our relationship that I can share these things is actually fed into my relationship with Andrea. Now that’s made me more vulnerable. But I couldn’t imagine that it can be harder, because like, by the time Andrea can see like a certain movie because of kids schedules and whatnot. Like Kim, I’ve already seen it because Kim actually likes to watch the movies I like to watch whereas my husband didn’t, right. And so it’s like, there can be those kinds of things was so great, because like Andrew is so sweet. Because like, my wife is like on the Oscar request with us, like Andrea and I have top priority of like, schedule around each other. But her and my wife get along so well is like super sweet. And it just makes me so happy that they have their own friendship. Yep. Because I think that is important. You gotta like your people’s person. I think it’s hard to not like your besties partner. Yeah, that’s a hard thing. And so I feel grateful that I love her husband and she loves my wife. And that helps our friendship

Alex Alexander  47:15

a lot. And that you’re all making it a priority to not only have it be like you and Andrea’s friendship, but Andrea’s friendship with Kim, your wife and your friendship with Andrews cousin like to nurture all those dynamics, even though they are different.

Elise Enriquez  47:31

Yeah, well, like even like we have, you know, obviously, we’ll have like, double date time sometimes. But other times, like, hey, we’ll take care of the kids. So YouTube, you know, she and her husband can go out, right. And so there’s that part of it too, of like, supporting her other relationships, right. And so like, or one of her besties from high school, right that, like, we’ve all gone on trips together, and I adore her and like, it’s like fostering that friendship too. And that knowing it’s kind of like a romantic partnership in that way to where it’s like having faith in your relationships. So you don’t have to worry about jealousy, like, you know who you are to them. And you can be okay with them needing other people and having other people.

Alex Alexander  48:11

Yeah, and you want it, you want them to have the support in those ways. Or those other friends like it can’t hurt anything. It just makes them a happier, healthier, more supported person. Which is like, good for your relationship, too. It really just like goes around and around and around. I totally get that. I try and make that a very big priority. Like it’s not just about my friendship with someone, it’s also about them having the other pieces they need. And that’s not always me. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. At least, I think we could talk about you and Andrea all day. This is like such a beautiful friendship. And I think so many people are gonna listen to this and maybe have a new appreciation for a friendship they have that sounds similar. Or they might try and develop some new routes and find a little more present time like using Marco Polo. I’m just really curious to see because I think that we really did kind of like lift the curtain back today on a friendship. And I know there are lots of people out there who are feeling like strain and friendships that they wish felt a little different. I think you have so many beautiful, tangible examples. I can’t thank you enough.

Elise Enriquez  49:26

Oh, I’m so glad to be here. And I just have to say like, if somebody is filling that strain that poll, it’s like it really like find your way it wasn’t super intentional for us to find Marco Polo, the way that we have, and it can sound silly that some app like it’s gonna be a bit like it is it’s what works for us. So like, don’t worry about what works for you and your friend. But find something like if you really treasure that friendship and you want to grow it like figure out your way that you can nurture the roots and create more roots possibly right with each other and so for us, it just so happens that Marco Polo is our way to stay just really tightly, like lovingly connected to each other in an everyday way. Like my goal is to have an everyday life I love that’s always what I’m working towards or working on. And I literally do have an everyday life I love and Marco Polo like with Andrea is a part of that, right? It’s like the I sure there’s gonna be the bright light moments. But I want everything in between to be lovely as well. Yeah, I don’t want to be living for those bright light moments with Andrea, I want us to have a nice constancy with each other where we don’t have to catch up.

Alex Alexander  50:40

Yeah, where you’re really trying to do life together and be there for each other. Yeah. I love that. 

Alex Alexander [Narration]  50:47

There is something so special about episodes like this one. And by that I mean episodes that are on the surface. So simple. You know, we talked about navigating big life changes like divorce and having kids and remarried, we talked about something so simple, like integrating Marco Polo or daily walks, talked about what it’s like to have friends that you reach out to every day and tell the mundane details, those light bulb moments. There are so many tangible examples in this episode of ways that you might approach your friendships. And I know that a record episodes like this, and on the surface, they might just seem kind of boring. But I think a lot of times the magic is just in the simple, small ways we consistently show up and that is from my understanding from my vantage point. That is what Elise and Andrea have done in this friendship is they’ve just showed up consistently been there for each other, trusted the process of building their friendship, rebuilding their friendship, navigating big life changes. And now they have this really beautiful story to tell a friendship that has lasted decades and I’m sure is one of the most meaningful relationships in their life. With that, I’ll talk to you next week.



You’ll get the full scoop on everything we’ve been up to in the last seven days – podcast episodes, blog posts, and updates, plus an exclusive note from Alex every week with her latest, unedited thoughts. 

Podcast Intro/Outro  52:18

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.

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Hi! I'm Alex.

I am just a person who has spent an extraordinary amount of time trying to understand some of the relationships that I hold most dear. I invite you to join in on the conversation below in the comments section below.

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Hi. I'm Alex.

I'm just a gal who cares deeply about community + friendship. Why? Well, I didn't have a healthy support system growing up.

So I built one... out of friends. I believe a healthy support system is the ultimate self-care.

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