Every week, 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 three friends who instant-message one another on Gchat all day, every day. They’ve been friends since high school, but even though they’ve lost touch with other people from that time, they’ve only grown closer, consulting the group chat for everything from dates and interviews to whether they should eat the free cookies in the office. They discuss the importance of an on-call digital sounding board, struggles with acronyms, and why sharing the mundane details of everyday life can be more intimate than the big milestones.
Aisha “Sha” Akhter, 27, who works for an international health-research organization and lives in Queens, New York
Chris Kwon, 28, a book designer who lives in Brooklyn, New York
Jess Matusaitis, 27, a claims adjuster for an insurance company who lives in Waynesboro, Virginia
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Julie Beck: How did you guys meet?
Aisha Akhter: I met Jess in middle school. I was new; my family had just moved to town. I was there for three years and then got to high school, and saw Jess in the hallway. She was just casually like, “Oh, what middle school did you go to?” And I was like, “Girl, I went to your middle school. I sat with you at lunch every single day.” And she had no recollection.