We’re so excited to start our new series of friendship interviews about how people in the GNI community met in real life! Adult friendships are hard (to make and to manage!) so we want to illustrate examples of the beautiful stories behind how people came into each others’ lives. First up: Cara and Mallorie, our GNI Reads Manhattan hosts.

The Basics

When (and how!) did you meet?

Cara: We met about ten years ago working at the same company. It was winter 2009 and I was home from school while Mal was working full-time at the company I would eventually find myself at as well. I don’t remember the specifics of our first meet and greet but we were definitely one of those “opposites attract” kind of relationships!

Mallorie: It was actually 2010. 😉 I remember that I had just started working full time at the agency, and we were welcoming back a few former interns for the winter break. I couldn’t believe Cara was still in college – she was intimidating and a boss lady even when she was barely legal to have a drink! I was excited that she came back after graduation because we became fast work allies and eventually great friends.

How long have you been friends? Have there been “seasons” of your friendship?”

Cara: We should probably celebrate our 10-year anniversary. I’m not sure I’d categorize our friendship as having “seasons” per se, but I would say we’ve had moments and milestones that have changed our friendship over the years. Small things like sitting in the same nook at work, transitioning to hanging out in real life with a group of friends, being confidantes for one another and outlets for venting. The 5 years we worked together brought us together but even after parting ways and starting new jobs, we’ve remained close.

Mal: Totally agree with Cara here! We became friends during a pretty pivotal decade of our lives – we were done with school, becoming adults, making our own lives, etc – and being by each other’s side through all the ups and downs has solidified us as mainstays in each other’s lives. I also think GNI should sponsor our 10 year friendiversary in January 2020.

What’s your favorite memory with the other person?

Cara: This one is so hard!!! Since day one, Mal has been pulling me out of my comfort zone and forcing me to have more fun in life. The memories that come to mind are lots of silly, drunken nights where Mal has forced me (an old soul in a young body) to let loose and just have fun. But to keep it PG, I’ll say the honor of officiating Mallorie’s wedding and getting a front row seat to her marrying the love of her life. That one was pretty cool.

Mal: My favorite Cara memory is one she might hate. But I’m going to share it anyway because it makes me giggle and it totally exemplifies our personalities. We were still working together and the company did a retreat at a summer camp (bonding, etc.). Cara was the lead in organizing this event and was running it like a well-oiled machine. We had “free time” one afternoon and we were encouraged to do things like canoe or rock climb. I decided to hang out in the boys bunk with a bottle of wine I had snuck in. Cara caught me and I was grounded for the night. A very close second was being matron of honor at her wedding and getting to be by her side on such a special and beautiful day.

What do you admire about the other person?

Cara: SO MANY THINGS. Her confidence. Her intelligence. Her style. Her ability to make you laugh when you most need it as well as her ability to be rational and problem solve when you need a person to step up. I’ve also always admired her ability to keep in touch with people and maintain deep, meaningful relationships with so many people in her life. And maybe most of all, her honesty and knowing I have a person in my life who will always support me but also tell me the hard truths.

Mal: HOLD MY BEER, I HAVE THINGS TO SAY. Cara is a unicorn – she is equal parts creative and analytical; an extrovert who wants to do all the things and an introvert who wants to stay home and read a book; she’s emotional and rational; she is thoughtful about everything she does, but accomplishes more than any person I have ever met; she’s steadfast in her beliefs but is open to every new experience. Cara is four years younger than I am and she keeps me on my toes all the time and truly leaves me in awe. And ya know what, she’s fun. I always want to hang out with her.

The GNI Stuff

What have you learned about the other person since hosting book club?

Cara: Luckily, we’ve worked together before so planning book clubs together is like falling back into old rhythms. Between planning bachelorette parties, conferences for work, and more, we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and can rely on each other to fill in whatever gaps the other person has. It also helps to be in sync personally so if one of us has a lot going on with work or something else, the other can step up and take on more of the responsibilities!

Mal: I don’t think I’ve learned anything new, per se, but it’s just reiterated to me what I’ve always known about Cara. We complement each other so well at book club!

How do you work together (or play to each other’s strengths) when hosting book clubs?

Cara: Communication is important! We work pretty independently when it comes to contacting venues, partners, etc. and trusting that the other is doing the same on her end. When it comes to putting everything together we just keep each other up to date on what conversations we’re both having so we can put the puzzle pieces together and have a really fun event!

Mal: In addition to what Cara said (because I agree, obviously) I think we’ve also fallen into some routines at each event that we’re each responsible for. We never sat down and said “Cara will check attendees in; Mal will close the event” or whatever - but it just kind of happened. We’re super in sync and it was great to see that we could maintain that - and our friendship - in this setting!

The Lessons Learned

What has this friendship taught you?

Cara: The friends that show up for you time and time again are the ones you need to prioritize in life. It’s easy to be there for people to celebrate their successes, engagements, promotions, etc. However, the ones who you can call upon in the sad/hard times (or the ones who just show up without having to be called at all!) are the friends worth investing in.

Mal: True friends love you when life is ugly and they tell you you’re pretty. They also let you be a bad friend sometimes and understand when you can’t be your best. I had friends who I always had to walk on eggshells with. Having a friend like Cara reminded me that even though your friendship is 100%, you can’t both always give 50/50 - sometimes you can’t give as much but your friend is there to makeup the difference, and vice versa. They also love Party Mix snacks as much as you do.

What advice do you have for people who find it challenging to make or maintain friendships into adulthood?

Cara: The length of time you know someone isn’t always the best indication of how good of a friend they are to you. It’s been nearly 10 years since I’ve known Mallorie but she became one of my best friends long before that. Friendships in adulthood should add value to your life, not drama. I’m grateful to have found someone who I get along with, have fun with, and can count on with no questions asked.

Mal: Friendships should be easy and rewarding and fulfilling. If they’re not, it’s ok to wish people well and let them go. I think in our post-college lives we’re so afraid of letting people go and try so hard to make a friendship last that it sometimes jeopardizes our own happiness or potential to meet people who really make us happy. Friendships aren’t all roses and butterflies, but being around people that you laugh with is so important.

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