You need to catch up with that old friend you haven’t seen for way too long

Why are our oldest relationships the ones we tend to neglect the fastest?

Caroline Grace-Cassidy and Lisa C Carey: How have we remained such close friends for the last 30-plus years while living on opposite sides of the world? We worked hard at it. Photograph:  Michael Chester

Caroline Grace-Cassidy and Lisa C Carey: How have we remained such close friends for the last 30-plus years while living on opposite sides of the world? We worked hard at it. Photograph: Michael Chester

 

You know that sound? The belly-aching, leg-crossing, raucous laughter that makes your lose your breath. Reminisce for a second. What springs to mind.

Your oldest friends? Thought so. Yet so many of us, women and men, don’t put a high enough value on protecting and nurturing those friendships. Why? Because that little thing called “life” gets in the way. Suddenly we become “too busy” or “too tired” as husbands and wives are added to our fold, with jobs and kids and parents and every other excuse under the sun demanding the limited energy that’s left.

Oh, we all make the “new” friends, the people whose worlds we show up in, at work, in the park, at the school gate. And, sure, we add lots of lovely “new” friends to our circles throughout our lives, but they don’t know the bones of you. They haven’t shared those experiences that made you who you are. They don’t know the unfiltered and unguarded “real” you like your oldest friends do. And most importantly, they’re likely not the people that show up when you really need them. Life is short, remember.

So, why don’t we make these oldest friendships a priority? Why are they the relationships we tend to neglect the fastest? That was our burning question when we wrote our first novel together, Bride Squad Runway.

Miraculously, the one great thing the Sisters of Mercy did was bring us together in secondary school.

I, Caroline, remember sitting at the top of the class (having been moved to beside the teacher’s desk) and looking around behind me at the sea of seriously big hair and maroon during that fateful first week at a new school. I just locked eyes with this blonde girl a few desks behind me, our eyes connected, and we started laughing. No reason. We just connected with one smirking wink of solidarity.

And I, Lisa, will never forget the two weeks of Breakfast Club-style detention following our rousing rendition of Barry Manilow’s Lola when we were caught insinuating that a certain nun teacher was in fact an undercover showgirl. It was all fun and games until that same nun appeared unexpectedly and immediately dispatched us to the principal’s office where we were asked to demonstrate what caused good old Sister Pauline to almost have a seizure. As in, sternly instructed to “act it out”.

So how have we remained such close friends for the last 30-plus years while living on opposite sides of the world?

We worked hard at it. Quite honestly, we simply refused to lose touch. Letter-writing in the mid-’90s turned into today’s daily banter on social media and the physical distance between us continues to feel completely invisible. For us, it’s about making our friendship a priority.

Writing a novel together this year, 5,166 miles apart, was always going to be a challenge but that was part of its charm. It’s easy to have lots of best friends when you’re a teenager, it gets harder as you get older and this is what we wanted to explore by using our own lives and those of our friends as the inspiration for Bride Squad Runaway. For us, the hilarious and constantly challenging trials and tribulations of fortysomething women weren’t being portrayed accurately – or at least, not as we are living it.

We wanted to dig deeper into what happens when life gets in the way and critical friendships slip down the priorities list and almost become permanently lost – with a focus on the countless challenges women approaching and in their forties face today.

We wondered why a lot of these topics weren’t being discussed more openly – perimenopause, the challenges of family life and the impact it has on friendships, panic-driven romantic relationships, post-baby bodies and lifestyles, the effect of “Mr Wrongs” among friends, the impact of the tidal wave of social media influencers and media on women of all ages (and the negative body image issues that result) and the controversial decision many women make to focus on a career over having a family….issues many women secretly stress about, but often struggle to talk about openly and honestly.

Bride Squad Runaway is dedicated to anyone who catches themselves feeling like they’ve delayed “real life” until it’s too late, anyone who’s surrounded by happily married friends with seemingly perfect lives, anyone who’s lost their friends to their partner or their children, and for all the glorious girls who pride themselves on putting “sisters before misters”.

Above all else, we hope we make you smile by resonating with its honesty, and it prompts you to get back in touch with that old friend you haven’t caught up with in way too long.

Bride Squad Runaway will be released by Black & White Publishing on May 30th. Now available for pre-order at Easons.ie.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Irish writer and actress Caroline Grace-Cassidy is the author of seven novels. She and her husband own Park Pictures, a film and TV production company, for which she has written and directed seven short films. She has been a panellist for The Elaine Show on Virgin Media One since 2012 and a contributor to Women’s Way, Irish Country and Weekender Magazine. She lives in Dublin with her family.
Lisa C Carey has been a copywriter, creative director, celebrity handler, screenwriter, Eurovision jury member, and Green Card lottery winner. She has also escaped a hurricane, survived earthquakes, dug her way through a glacier, and lived on a remote island in Fiji. Born and raised in Dublin, Lisa lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son. Bride Squad Runaway is her debut novel

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