We’re at City Cellar in the suburbia known as Long Island, celebrating Melissa’s birthday (I dare not ask which birthday, all I know is she looks more beautiful now than at 20…the pictures prove it.) I am interviewing the lovely Ellice and birthday girl Melissa, two women who have been friends since 1987. A time when snap bracelets were cool, the Breakfast Club reigned, and spandex was part of your outfit of the day (#ootd); all before the internet and hashtags.
How does a friendship of almost 30 years look and feel? It’s deeper than mutual interests and similar life situations. Fate brought them together. Instinct keeps them together.
Take a peak for yourself. Fair warning, feeling jealous is normal.
How old were you when you met?
Melissa: I was 28 and I had 3 children.
Ellice: I was 31 and I had 2 children.
How did you meet?
Ellice: We had moved to our current home in 1986, and we must have met in the spring of 1987.
Melissa: Our backyards shared a fence.
Ellice: Yes, I was in our backyard, and my son was pointing saying “Oh, oh, boy.” And I said oh, little boy, come here. The little boy, who must have been 3 years old, I asked him to come over to the fence that separated our backyard, I got a little piece of paper and I wrote my name and number, and asked him to give the note to his mom. Melissa called me later that day. We liked one another immediately. It was immediate. I just knew “I could be her friend.” Even before we knew all our commonalities.
Melissa: There was a kinship from the beginning.
Do you feel like there was a point in your relationship where you could take your friendship to the next level?
Melissa: It happened when I knew I could trust her, and that she would keep my secrets.
Ellice: I think that’s the point of all this. I just wanted her happiness. We would sit on the stoop and talk. I am her biggest cheerleader.
Do you think there are other friendships or relationships you can compare this friendship to?
Melissa: There are other friendships, but no one I would confide in the way that I do with Ellice. It’s not work for us.
Ellice: There is room to have all these friendships.
Melissa: You can’t just have one friend. We have different relationships with each friend.
Ellice: She understood me. There was no judgment. It’s an unconditional understanding of each other’s feelings. I understand that her job makes her busy, and I don’t oblige her to call me and spend time with me when she’s busy.
Melissa: You have those friends, that when you don’t call them you feel guilty for not calling. Weeks could go by with Ellice, but I never feel guilty.
Ellice: There is a level of…
Ellice: Yes, acceptance is the perfect word. In friendship, you never want to see your friend hurt. It’s like I have a soft landing with Melissa. I know she will catch me. It’s hard to define what it is.
Do you think your relationship is deeper than friendship? Would you compare it to having a sister?
Melissa: I have 2 sisters who I love. If I could have chosen a third, it would have been Ellice.
What differentiates this relationship from others?
Ellice: It’s instinctual. I feel sorry for people who don’t have this.
Any advice for making new friends?
Ellice: You have to seek it out. There are very few people you really connect with. And sometimes it’s just about timing.
Is there a piece of advice you would give someone to maintain a friendship?
Ellice: Any relationship needs nurturing. It could be a text saying “I’m thinking of you.” It doesn’t have to be face to face nurturing. I think that we never take one another for granted, that’s very very important. I think it’s wanting the best for that person. We are on the older spectrum of this, and we have matured. And there are things in our life that we are not willing to tolerate.
Melissa: We don’t tolerate the things that we did when we were younger.
Do you feel technology has helped your relationship?
Melissa: I feel that Facebook has replaced the personal touch. People are texting and not speaking anymore. Technology I see how it’s changing, I think social media is going to change the world. And it scares me.
Ellice: I think it has to reverse itself, otherwise there will be no relationships. It’s going to go backwards.
Melissa: We text a lot to make plans, but we never lose the face to face. And sometimes you have to see someone to know what they’re feeling. I know when I hear her voice, “What’s wrong?”
Ellice: A really good relationship like we have isn’t necessarily exciting.
Melissa: We don’t have great stories we can tell. We don’t have highs and lows.
Ellice: It’s a consistent relationship. The best relationships are built on many things, not one experience. I honestly don’t remember my life without her. I can’t envision my life without her.
Beautiful words from beautiful women. Looking for your own “instinctual” friendship? Start at Lumelle.
Friends make life more fun.