KEEPING A FRIENDSHIP ALIVE
FROM COLLEGE TO MOTHERHOOD

Sarah Noel & Kristyn Schauer

Sarah Noel and Kristyn Schauer met in college, when their (future) husbands were roommates. That chance pairing led to a friendship based on true acceptance, intention, and Busy Phillips. These two are masters of multi-platform communication and holding space for each other. Read on to see how they do it all.

Small Packages: What was the first thing you remember really liking about each other?

Sarah: Kristyn and I met in college—my junior year, her freshman year. We had some friends in common, but we weren’t really friends in college. Honestly, the first thing I noticed about her was her confident style. Sometimes it feels silly to mention those things, but I think a lot of female friendships are built on similar tastes. We’re drawn to women that we admire from afar, and these little style choices or personality quirks can be the very thing that sparks a friendship.

A year or so later, I found myself dating her boyfriend’s roommate. The four of us began spending more time together, and I especially appreciated Kristyn’s humor. It’s dry and gritty and there’s nothing you can’t say in front of her. By being herself, she gives everyone around her permission to be themselves also.
As our friendship has grown over the years, these two things are still the perfect indicators of our relationship. Which is to say, we have the silliest things in common, so there’s never not something to talk about—Busy Phillips, coffee, lady problems, mom jokes, some book we say we’re going to read but only just buy and never actually read. But she is also my most dependable confidant. With that freedom to be myself, that Kristyn probably unknowingly gave me all those years ago, I’ve learned that I can confess anything to her—my fears, my uncertainties, my disappointments. She’s the friend I go to if I have a question I’m embarrassed to ask anyone else. She’s who I turn to if I have a secret burning a hole in my head and have to get it out.
 

Kristyn: The first thing I remember liking about Sarah, and this will be funny because it was SO LONG AGO, was that she did not let people push her around. She did not play into the narrative that other people constructed for her, she made her own. I met Sarah in college, our boyfriends were roommates. I am now convinced they were roommates so that we could be friends! 

Small Packages: Now that you've been friends for a while, what's the thing that holds you together? Why has your friendship lasted?

Sarah: Ten or even five years ago, I think Kristyn and I both would have said that “the boys”, those college roommates who each turned into our respective husbands, were the glue holding our families together. Sure, Mike and Trevor are still good friends, but now Kristyn and I have found a connection outside of their friendship, and probably a deeper one too. Part of it is discovering how much we think alike, not just about those silly things we might have noticed at first, but also the issues that count. We parent similarly, work similarly, see the world similarly. We also have had different enough experiences to add some depth to these conversations. We’re not the same person, we are just like-minded, and sometimes that’s harder to find than we think it should be. To have found it in her is a treasure. Now, more than a decade later, we’re both wives, work-from-home moms, and still trying to find our senses of self in the midst of it. It is a comfort to have a like-minded person in the same place of life as I am. It makes me feel less alone.

Kristyn: We are very similar -- we are both 4s on the enneagram after all -- yet our personalities are different. We compliment each other with different strengths and points of view. I don't have to fully explain myself to Sarah, she usually knows what I mean before half of my words are out. Which is nice, you know? It's really nice to be understood. 

By being herself, she gives everyone around her permission to be themselves also.

Small Packages: Tell us something about your girl that she'd be too modest to share. Brag about her a little!

Sarah: Kristyn is super self-confident, but super modest. She doesn’t feel the need to broadcast her abilities because she has such a sense of self without needing approval from others. It’s one of the things I most admire about her, and she encourages me to be more self-confident too. She will laugh at this one, but Kristyn is also very present. We joke about how distracted the mom life is and daydream all the other personalities we think we’ve buried within ourselves; but I see Kristyn as a very present mother. She gracefully walks into each phase of life and just really lives it. I’m such a scattered person, worried that my attention to one thing distracts from my success in another area; but Kristyn is very whole. She focuses on what is in front of her, she enjoys it, and she’s patient for whatever might come around the next corner.

Kristyn: One thing I have always loved about Sarah is that she is confident in who she is and what she is good at. She is a phenomenal writer and one of the very best mothers I know, but I think something she wouldn't share about herself is that she is a damn good friend. She is always willing to listen, always ready to share the best advice -- patient and kind. Women can be really hard on each other, she never puts any pressure on me in that way and there is not one ounce of competition between us. 

I don't have to fully explain myself to Sarah, she usually knows what I mean before half of my words are out. Which is nice, you know? It's really nice to be understood. 

Small Packages: How do you stay connected? (Give us tips!!!)

Sarah: Up until last year, we always lived in different places. We made it a point to get together at least once a year. In between pregnancies, we would plan adults-only meet-ups, and sometimes my family would road trip to OKC so the kids could hang out. Kristyn’s birthday is New Year’s Day, so as a tradition, our families always celebrate New Year’s Eve together.

We’re now about an hour and a half apart, but that’s wayyy better than a nine hour road trip with nothing in between. We still have busy schedules, but we probably get the families together about once a month, and sometimes Kristyn and I try to take a special night out in between. We use Marco Polo a lot, to suss out get-togethers and all of our existential crises. It’s not real time, of course, but that means we’re getting each other’s full attention, whenever we have time. Of course we share all the hilarious Busy news over Instagram. And, this is ridiculous, but the only reason I have Snapchat is because Kristyn and I snap each other back and forth, often without saying anything, just posing with a terrible filter.
I think the thing that matters is that, when you’ve really connected with someone, there’s no pressure to be together to stay friends. Sure it helps, but you also understand life. But also when you’ve really connected with someone, you make it a point to see them because you want to. So even if it’s driving to Oklahoma or to Fort Collins, the Schauers are an important part of our lives, and we are going to make sure it stays that way.

 

Kristyn: Sarah and I stay in touch through all forms of technology, and usually have multiple conversations going on each platform-- Marco Polo (the video messaging app), Instagram, text messaging and Snapchat for the most fun filters. Staying in touch is always important in relationships, but I think something that can make or break a friendship is whether or not there is a pressure to fulfill a certain role for someone. Life is busy, especially life with children and careers, there has never been that guilt in our friendship if one of us is distracted by life and we miss a few weeks talking. I think that is key to a friendship being successful. 

Thanks so much, Sarah and Kristyn!!


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