The Atlantic

How the Hosts of ‘Call Your Girlfriend’ Saved Their Friendship

“With friendship, there is this expectation that it’s supposed to be easy, which … is not an honest assessment of what any long-term, intimate bond looks like.”
Source: Wenjia Tang

Each installment of The Friendship Files features a conversation between The Atlantic’s Julie Beck and two or more friends, exploring the history and significance of their relationship.

This week she talks with two friends who are also professional observers of friendship. Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow have been exploring friendship, among other topics, on their podcast, Call Your Girlfriend, since 2014, and in their new book, Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close, they tell the story of their own relationship alongside an examination of friendship’s role in society. In this interview, they propose expanding the vocabulary we use to talk about our friends, and discuss how they nearly lost their own friendship, and how couples therapy brought them back together.

The Friends:

Ann Friedman, 38, a co-author of Big Friendship, and co-host of the podcast Call Your Girlfriend, who lives in Los Angeles, California.
Aminatou Sow, 35, a co-author of Big Friendship, and co-host of the podcast Call Your Girlfriend, who lives in Brooklyn, New York.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


Julie Beck: Let’s start at the beginning: How did you meet?

Aminatou Sow: We met in Washington, D.C., in 2009, at a Gossip Girl viewing party.

Ann Friedman: But we also met because a friend very intentionally wanted us to meet each other. Our mutual friend Dayo conspired to be the host that night in part so she could have both of us in attendance. So we were set up.

Beck: My meta follow-up question to that is: How many times have you told that story now?

My God, we’ve told that story too many times

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