"it's like a friend in your pocket"
Beck: Did you drift apart for a little while or something? Jess: No.
Aisha: No. Courtesy of Aisha Akhter Jess: I really kept to myself in middle school. Aisha: I specifically remember toward the end of junior year, I was in gym class friend chat of our other friends, Ariella. Normally, you get ready in the locker room, and then you stand around and chat with your friends before the teacher blows the whistle. And you do your stretches while they take attendance.
Chris Kwon: I have to interject: I hate how accurate this story is. I just remember one day being aware of him, and then the next day we were friends. In high school, we had a pretty wide friend group. Jess: But the frriends high school ended, almost all of us stopped talking to each other.
Beck: Did you guys go to different schools, or different cities for work, after high school? They were at one point roommates while going to school. Aisha: After we graduated, everyone [in our friend group] would log in and we would all videochat. Then, naturally, the videochats got smaller and smaller, and our chat group broke off into different things.
The three of us hung out often. Beck: At what point did Gchat become important to your friendship? Jess: Sha graduated a year before me from college. And she started working in [New York]. So she was in the friend, Kwon was in the city.
I had moved to the next town over from our college, and that was about an hour train ride [from New York City. And then that spiraled into talking to each other nonstop. We bridged the gap in our friendship that way, by meeting up whenever we xhat interviews. Aisha: Still, to this day, Kwon is my chaperone for everything. Aisha: I bring him everywhere. I have a funny story about this.
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I had a first date with someone and I was gonna meet him at the Russian Tea Room. We went to a gay chat, just to have a beer, because I get nervous. He was gonna give me a pep talk, like he usually does. And then, the rest of the night I have no recollection whatsoever, and I ended up dating this guy for a year. He walked you to our first friend. So you guys have at this point started Gchatting all the time. What sort of things do you usually talk about?
And is it just during the workday? Jess: A big chunk of it is during the workday. But after work it usually goes into like stupid shit my boyfriend says, the weird dudes on the subway, what we had for dinner, what my dogs are doing, anything and everything really. Aisha: Yeah. Beck: Does each person have a certain role that you play in your Gchat dynamic?
Chris: Yeah, all the time.
Jess: Which is hard because I literally type everything in acronyms. One time I was mocking some people at frisnds, and I said that they think that everyone is just an SJW, meaning social-justice warrior. Beck: Are there examples of times where your Gchat group played a chat in helping you through something? Aisha: I would say literally every day of my life. Jess: Honestly, yeah. Chris: Same. Aisha: More specifically, I mentioned it before, my parents were super strict growing up.
Jess ftiends Kwon have been my friends through thick and thin. Aisha: I feel like making friends is so friend these days. This little friend circle right here is just something else. Something that will never change.
Beck: Do you ever use Gchat to just vent to each other? A lot of people are attorney-represented, so I spend most of my day talking to attorneys. And a lot of them are chzt nice. But some of these people are so rude.
One day, this guy was just really railing on me for 30 minutes, and it got to the point where I hung up and I was fighting back angry tears. Kwon almost always has something nice to say, or cheers me up. Firends, Aisha and Jess.
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Courtesy of Aisha Akhter Beck: Have there been any other major milestones in your lives that intersected with your friendship? They were there for me, and that was really helpful.
They feel like they need to ask me stuff about interviews, stuff like that. Someone needs to appreciate my niece.
As I told you, Kwon walks me to things all the time and boosts my confidence. Chris: I never regret it. Any little decision, I always have frienrs consult them. Aisha: Also, Kwon had a major transformation. Kwon is so buff right now.
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Chris: Oh cha God. He eats so well; he goes to the gym twice a day sometimes. I really wanted to tell her in person, but then I just got so, so nervous and I chickened out.
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It was such a relief for me to hear that from her. And now I have a personal record of it on my Gmail. I just typed in the word acronym when we were talking about dhat and I realized this could be its own book—all of the acronyms that Kwon does not understand. Chris: I was just about to say, you always bring the receipts. Beck: Receipts for what?
Chris: She friehds records of you saying something—be careful. I remember one time, she caught me in a lie. As opposed to just the bigger moments.
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Does that feel true for you guys? Aisha: Yeah, I agree percent. Chris: Yeah, could she read our minds or something?
Aisha: When you asked for screenshots, I had the hardest time trying to find things because everything to me, friennds back on it, felt so mundane. I was like, Why would Julie want to see a screenshot of us sharing our lunches? If you or someone you know should be featured on The Friendship Files, get in touch at friendshipfiles theatlantic.