I am travelling a lot in January and it starts tomorrow. I haven’t had a long drive in a while, somehow managed to avoid in this time of train strikes, but tomorrow I have no choice – it is my girl Inge Hunter’s launch party for her new company Clue Content and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Inge and I have a funny friendship. Funny as in we have spent approximately 15 days or snippets of days physically together in 4 years, but hours and hours on FaceTime, Zoom and Instagram. She is one of my very favourite people. And I don’t have many favourite people.
When the time is right I’ll write about some of my other favourite people because they all deserve their spot. But as we are here, at the eve of Inge’s big night (I’ve heard a rumour that there will be COCKTAILS with her FACE on) and I felt like writing an ode to my friend,
When I first met Inge, she was so effortlessly cool I could hardly bear it. This isn’t one of those “I didn’t like you when I first met you but now I love you” stories. This is a “I was obsessed from the moment I met you” story. Don’t worry, she knows. This isn’t some secret declaration I am fully open with my obsession. But back to the beginning.
We met as part of an online course, the modern day tale of how people meet. I can’t remember the whys and whats but it is likely I followed her on Instagram and bombarded her with messages. No sooner had we connected, she left the course! Nothing to do with the course, she just transferred onto another from the same provider. My connection with her was gone – but I kept on bothering her and through the membership we were in we ended up being “accountability partners”.
We were meant to chat every week about what we wanted to do in the coming week, then check we were doing it. We actually ended up coaching each other through life, through woes and wins and everything in between. Inge was the person who told me I was wasting my talent in my niche, then was my first consulting client in my fledgling systems business.
When I wanted to start a podcast, Inge was my first guest and when I got offered my job she is the one I hashed out the pros and cons with. When I had an idea for a two hander podcast, she was the obvious choice, and Now I’m Worried was born. When we get on a call and she sees my face she is the only one who knows there is something wrong, and gets it out of me no matter how much I vow the call won’t be about my problems she is always there.
It hasn’t been a friendship without rocks; both of us suffer from overthinking and anxious friendship issues, thinking the other is pissed off when we aren’t. There’s been weeks when we haven’t spoken, thinking the other is mad. They never are, life gets busy and intense and sometimes we fall by the wayside.
It’s funny, making friends as a grownup. It almost shouldn’t work, you don’t have a history or jokes and nostalgia to fall back on. On the flip side, these friends know you as your fully formed self. There’s no pretence or veil to hold up, you don’t have to pretend to like the same things – you are you, they are them and you can happily muddle along together.
And I think that’s why our friendship works. Even though we have a shorter history, it’s free from problems and memories. It’s just Inge and Zoë. Not wives, or mums, or employees. Just two women, who found each other by chance when they needed each other, and will always have this connection.
It’s hard to explain. I have friends who I’ve been friends with for 15-20 years that I love, and have this enduring need for in my life. It makes my life comfortable and cosy. But Inge makes it exciting (along with others who I have met in the same way) and I need both to make life interesting.
I described it to someone once as “I love Ben, sure. But I LOVE Inge”. And there’s not much more I can say about it really.