WW: When Friendships Get Tough

Bows & Sequins wearing a button down midi dress and ankle strap heels. Hallie from Among Other Things wearing a bell sleeve blouse and white denim skirt.

Good news, you guys! My Wellness Wednesday series is back this week after a little summer break. And if I do say so myself, I think it was definitely worth the wait! Hallie and I teamed up to do a little post about friendships and it’s kind of special because neither of us have read each other’s posts yet. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Bows & Sequins wearing a B&S striped dress with C Wonder ankle strap heels and Hallie Wilson from Among Other Things wearing a bell sleeve Zara top and Sergio Rossi pumps.

One thing they don’t tell you as you get older? Friendships can be really f*cking hard sometimes. As you’re going through so many big life changes in your 20’s and 30’s (moves, new cities, marriages, babies, divorces, deaths, etc.), it’s inevitable that you’re going to run into some rough waters that test even the bestest of friends. Whether it’s drifting apart from your high school crew, moving away from your college friends after graduation, or hitting a hard time with a bestie, there are bound to be some not-so-fun friendship moments as we all navigate this thing called life.

Jessica of Bows & Sequins and Hallie from Among Other Things standing in front of an avocado mural in Chicago.

Someone recently told me how it’s pretty normal for friendships to change and/or evolve every five years or so, and it makes sense when you think about it. High school is four years, college is four years, etc.

Fashion-focused lifestyle bloggers Bows & Sequins and Among Other Things tossing confetti.

Just like all other relationships take work, close friendships can take some work, too. I used to naively believe that good friends never had their hiccups, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sure, there are plenty of friends that you might not ever have a conflict with, but I’m willing to bet they’re more of the surface-level variety, as compared to a really close friend. And if you haven’t ran into any type of disagreement with your closest best friends, there’s a good chance you might be avoiding it and sweeping things under the rug. (And if you’re anything like me, it’s all going to come out later on when you least expect it, no matter how hard you try to shake it off.)

Chicago lifestyle bloggers Bows & Sequins and Among Other Things standing by an avocado art mural.

Originally, I was planning to keep this post pretty surface level in terms of personal details, but I feel like I can’t pack the punch that I’m trying to without getting a bit more into it. So here it goes…

Jessica Sturdy wearing a Bows & Sequins button down dress with a Clare V straw bag and Hallie Wilson wearing a yellow bell sleeve Zara top.

As a lot of you noticed, there was a little bit of a hiatus with Hallie and my usual shenanigans this spring. And if you didn’t, I’m thankful. While I’m so very grateful some of you are following along close enough to pick up on this, it made the situation even harder thinking that we were letting down all of you, in addition to what we were going through. I truly do appreciate the concern in the emails, comments, Snapchats, Instagram DMs, tweets, etc, but I hope you understand that I wasn’t in a place to respond at that time.

Bows & Sequins wearing a green striped button down dress and Hallie Wilson wearing a flare sleeve Zara top with a One Teaspoon denim skirt.

Earlier this year, Hallie and I went almost two months without seeing or speaking a single word to each other. Coupled with some personal shit going on, it was, hands down, the hardest few months of my life thus far. (Throw in some boy drama, fracturing my ankle and wearing the boot for 12 weeks, and my parents getting divorced all at the same time… Not the best of times, to say the least.) Since most of the internet knows us to practically be married (and our real-life friends, too..) and considering we actually live in the same building in Chicago, it was a really tricky few months, in addition to the emotional stuff. (Praying we wouldn’t run into each other in the elevator, dodging questions about the other in emails and meetings, not seeing mutual friends, etc.) And before anyone jumps to conslusions, it was absolutely nothing malicious and neither of us did anything ‘wrong.’ With so much going on in both of our lives, we simply kind of fell out of our groove for a little bit.

Bows & Sequins and Hallie from Among Other Things drinking Babe Rosé.

With the last five years of our friendship, we’ve been so lucky to be able to communicate without even trying. We’ve always been so in sync that we can literally know what the other is thinking even if we are on different continents. (It’s honestly kind of creepy, to be honest.) Sure, we’d have little tiffs every here and there or get on each others’ nerves occasionally, but we were always so good about chatting through things and moving on almost instantly. But over the winter, both of us were experiencing so many different things and changes in our individual lives and somehow we got to a place where communicating wasn’t easy. We weren’t so much on different pages as we were in different books (maybe even different libraries) and it was the most devastating feeling because neither of us could figure out how the fuck we got there. And we definitely didn’t know how get ourselves out of it! We’d try to talk it out like we always had before, but it just wasn’t working and to put it simply, something just felt off for both of us.

Bows & Sequins and Among Other Things sharing about friendships.

Before you know it, a random conversation in a bar turned into tears and arguing, me leaving, and us not talking for two months. It’s actually pretty surreal to look back on it, and I’ve since told Hallie how much I regretted not texting her the morning after that happened. As each day passed, it felt more and more bizarre. And as another day would go by without talking, it all seemed too complicated to try to resolve… I didn’t know what to say and I’ll admit, I stubbornly wanted her to reach out to me first. (Which is so stupid, by the way.)

Bows & Sequins and Among Other Things drinking Babe Rosé wine.

But I will say, having come out the other side, everything happens for a reason. Even though those were a dark few months, it was such a deeply transformational period for me personally, and something I’m very fortunate to have gone through. And for the both of us, too! I feel like I’ve grown so much in a lot of different ways, and our relationship has grown so much stronger, too. As they say, “Storms make trees grow deeper roots.” (Not sure who ‘they’ is, but you get the idea.)

Fashion-focused lifestyle blogger Bows & Sequins wearing a striped midi dress with a Clare V straw bag and fitness blogger Among Other Things wearing a Zara top with a raw hem denim skirt and leather tote.

Much like I’ve mentioned in this post about reflection, sometimes you’ve just got to take a step back. This rings true in so many different facets of life… Taking a rest day from your workout routine, taking a vacation from work, taking a few minutes out of your day to meditate, and sometimes taking a break from certain relationships or friendships. It’s hard to see clearly when you’re in the thick of it, you know?

Bows & Sequins and Among Other Things in front of an avocado art mural in Chicago.

Taking a time out from our usual antics allowed me (/us) the time and space to reflect on our friendship, what dynamics had shifted, what mattered most, and what I needed to let go of.

Here are a few lessons I’ve learned about friendships (or really, relationships in general) this year…

Jessica from the blog Bows & Sequins wearing a button down tie waist dress and Hallie Wilson of Among Other Things wearing a flare sleeve blouse and denim skirt.

  1. You’ve got to get comfortable expressing your needs and wants. There were a few instances where this came up for us and it basically comes down to the fact that people cannot read minds. This was tricky for me to grasp at first, because we’ve literally prided ourselves on being able to read each other’s minds. And I’ve realized vulnerability isn’t my strong suit. But it honestly all comes down to communication and being able to voice your needs in a friendship or relationship. If you have certain expectations, it’s only fair the other person knows about them. (And you’ll save yourself a lot of disappointment down the road!) If you feel as if your needs aren’t being met, there’s a good chance the other person might not even realize these needs exist. (Even if it seems obvious and you think they should ‘just know.’ Trust.)
  2. Love Languages. Do yourself a favor and read the book immediately. Piggy-backing off #1, knowing your friend or partner’s love language (as well as your own) can help your relationship in so many different ways. (Full Disclosure: I haven’t fully read the book yet, but a lot of the things I learned about myself went back to this. I’ve read a bunch of cliffnotes versions online, but it’s on my mile-long list of self-improvement books to read.)
  3. This one also goes along the lines of communication being key, but crosses over with the whole ‘never going to bed mad’ thing. One of Hallie’s and my biggest learned strengths is talking about the small shit so it doesn’t turn into big shit. It’s a whole hell of a lot easier to chat through something small, versus holding it in and running the risk of a big blowout later. And if something is going on, it’s easier to squash it sooner rather than later. (i.e. Don’t be stubborn and wait for them to apologize or reach out first. Swallow your pride and put yourself out there, even if you think they should be the one reaching out. It’s uncomfortable at first, but it’s worth it in the long run.)
  4. You can’t put a bandaid over a bullet wound. Sometimes there isn’t a quick fix or an easy conversation that will make everything better. Sometimes you have to dig deep and work through your shit both personally and together. And remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Sometimes it’s really hard and can take a few months of trying to work your way to a better place, which leads me to my next point….
  5. Hang on to the ones worth fighting for. I spent most of those few months thinking that Hallie and I wouldn’t ever get over our first big blowout fight. Never talking again and making new friends honestly seemed easier than trying to figure our shit out. Thankfully, I came to my senses and realized how ridiculous that sounded.

Bows & Sequins wearing a striped midi dress, Hadid tortoise sunglasses and a Clare V straw bag and Among Other Things wearing mirrored sunglasses and a yellow Zara blouse with a leather tote.

I’m no relationship expert, but I’ve come to realize just how many similarities there are between your friendships with your besties and your significant others. A few years ago I was talking to one of my good friends (who is married with kids) about the trials and tribulations of dating in NYC and how hard it is to find ‘the one.’ He told me, quite simply, that “you’ll just know.” And while we won’t get into my dating life, I think that rings true about friendships, too.

Chicago bloggers Bows & Sequins, wearing a tie waist summer dress, and Among Other Things, wearing a Zara flare sleeve top and One Teaspoon denim skirt.

I called my mom after the first night Hallie and I hung out (back in Chicago in 2011!) and told her how it felt like Hallie and I were long lost sisters. (I later found out Hallie called her mom that night, too, and said something along the same lines.) As they say, When you know, you know.

Chicago lifestyle bloggers Bows & Sequins and Among Other Things drinking Babe Rosé with bubbles.

I’ve actually read a lot about ‘soul mates’ recently and how we tend to put this fairytale idea on a relationship and if it doesn’t work out that way, the relationship was a waste of time and it’s back to square one searching for Mr or Mrs Right. I know opinions on this differ quite a bit, but I’m currently in the camp where I believe there will be a number of people that cross your path, that change your trajectory and help shape you as a person, and it might not always last for your entire lifetime. (Not saying this in a ‘your relationship is doomed’ type of way, but more so you could easily meet the love of your life at 45 and live happily ever after. I could go on a whole tangent about this, but let’s get back to the topic at hand…) I also believe these people can be males, females, and totally platonic, too.

There’s a saying that people come into your life for a reason, season, or lifetime, and no matter which one it is, there are always lessons learned and things you’ll take with you forever.

Chicago bloggers Jessica Sturdy and Hallie Wilson sharing about their friendship.

When I was operating under the mindset of thinking Hallie and my friendship was over, I kept thinking about how much our relationship had indefinitely changed me as a person. Even though it was over, I was grateful for the years that we did spend together. And while I was trying to remain optimistic about how “not everything lasts forever,” I finally realized a lot of it was my ego talking, trying to avoid the hard conversations and work it was going to take to rebuild the foundation of our friendship.

Jessica wearing a Bows & Sequins midi dress with C Wonder heels and a Clare V straw bag. Hallie from Among Other Thing wearing a bright Zara flare sleeve top and a white denim skirt with a cognac leather tote and pointed toe pumps.

Having successfully survived this little bump in the road (that definitely wasn’t so little at the time), I can confidently say it feels like we’re finally on the other side. It didn’t happen overnight, that’s for sure, but I think we’ve gotten to a place where we both feel like our friendship is the best it’s ever been. The last two months have reminded me how special our friendship is and how I’ll never stop putting in the work it takes to have a relationship like ours. Hallie is my other half (hence the avocados 😉), partner in crime, and honestly my favorite person in the world. From the dumbest day-to-day banter that has me crying laughing on a daily basis to the seriously sappy shit that I’ll spare you, I’m so grateful every day that I have her in my life. Having experienced the opposite for a few months over the winter was a little wake up call to not take a friendship like ours for granted!

Hallie of Among Other Things tossing confetti with Bows & Sequins.

You might be wondering, “What’s the point of this post, Jess?” (And honestly, I sort of wondered the same as I mulled over this post for the last few weeks.) Over the years we’ve gotten so many questions and comments about our friendship… Do we get in fights? Are we actually as close as we make it seem? Have we ever dated someone the other doesn’t like? “You two are friendship goals!” The list goes on and on and on. We got to chatting and we decided it might be beneficial to shed a light on the un-fun parts of friendship, the real life stuff that all of us have gone through or will go through at some point!

Jessica of the fashion-focused blog Bows & Sequins, wearing a green pinstripe midi dress, and Hallie from Among Other Things, wearing a yellow Zara flare sleeve top.

In today’s world where life tends to looks perfect on Instagram, I think it’s important to remember that everyone is fighting their own battles and facing their own hardships, whether it appears that way online or not.

Bows & Sequins wearing a pinstripe button down mini dress and Among Other Things styling a Zara bell sleeve top outfit.

And if you’re going through it with your bestie or need some advice, send us a note! (DMs or emails work if you don’t want to publicly comment below!) We thought it could be cool to do an Instagram Live talking about friendships and answering any questions this coming weekend when we’re in Paris together? Let us know! xoxo

Be sure to go read Hallie’s take on things here!

Chicago fashion blogger Bows & Sequins wearing Hadid tortoise sunglasses and a button down dress with a Clare V straw bag, and fitness lifestyle blogger Among Other Things wearing mirrored sunglasses, a bell sleeve top, and One Teaspoon raw hem denim skirt.

Jessica Sturdy wearing a Bows & Sequins midi dress and ankle strap sandals and Hallie Wilson wearing Sergio Rossi pumps, a Zara bell sleeve top and white denim skirt.

Bows & Sequins and Among Other Things drinking rosé wine.

Bows & Sequins wearing a green midi dress with Hadid sunglasses and Among Other Things wearing a Zara flare sleeve blouse and a leather tote.

Get the Look…

Bows & Sequins Striped Dress (similar here, here, & here)
Clare V Straw Tote
C Wonder Ankle Strap Heels (similar here)
Hadid Eyewear Sunglasses

On Hallie…

Zara Bell Sleeve Top (similar here)
One Teaspoon Denim Mini Skirt (similar here)
Sergio Rossi Pointed Toe Pumps (similar style for less)

Bows & Sequins wearing tortoise sunglasses and a tie waist midi dress. Hallie from Among Other Things wearing a yellow Zara bell sleeve top and a white denim skirt with a leather tote and Sergio Rossi pumps.

Chicago bloggers Bows & Sequins and Among Other Things sharing about friendships.

Chicago lifestyle blogger Bows & Sequins wearing a green pinstripe dress and C Wonder ankle strap heels. Fitness blogger Among Other Things wearing a bell sleeve Zara top and Sergio Rossi pumps with a leather tote.

Bows & Sequins and Among Other Things sharing some of their tips for maintaining strong friendships.

Bows & Sequins and Among Other Things tossing confetti.

Chicago lifestyle bloggers Bows & Sequins and Among Other Things sharing tips on maintaining friendships.

Chicago-based fashion-focused blogger Bows & Sequins wearing a striped summer dress and ankle strap heels. Fitness and lifestyle blogger Hallie Wilson of Among Other Things wearing a Zara flare sleeve top with a white denim miniskirt and Sergio Rossi pointed toe pumps.

Chicago lifestyle blogger Bows & Sequins wearing Hadid sunglasses and a striped dress. Hallie Wilson from Among Other Things wearing a Zara bell sleeve top and pointed toe pumps.

Bows & Sequins and Among Other Things drinking Babe rosé sparkling wine.

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Leave a Comment

19 Comments

  1. 9.6.17
    Merritt commented:

    LOVE this post! Glad y’all are back to being your happy selves!!

    xx
    Merritt

    • 9.6.17
      Jessica commented:

      Thanks love! Now come visit us in Chicago! xx

  2. 9.6.17
    Jess Zimlich commented:

    My favorite post from you, ever. THANK YOU. Thank you for sharing so much. While I don’t wish problems on anyone, it truly helps to know I’m not the only one going through it. It’s been a day here on my end and relationships (of all varieties) have been top of mind. I’ve been thinking a lot about unconditional love lately and how rare it is to find that outside of the family unit (and how it’s okay if you don’t have that in your family unit…which goes against what society says). I’m so lucky to have a few girlfriends who love me unconditionally. It sounds like you two have that. Have the best time in Paris together! 🙂

    • 9.6.17
      Jessica commented:

      Couldn’t hear you more, lady. And at the risk of sounding like a teenage punk, fuck what society says. Your friends are the family you choose and I, too, am so unbelievably fortunate to have a group of girlfriends that are always there, no matter what.

  3. 9.6.17
    Michelle commented:

    I was about the same age as you when my parents got divorced and now I’m 41. I just want to let you know it gets better and so much easier. When you get a little perspective on the situation you will come to see that as long as you still have a relationship with each of them it’s ok that they aren’t together. I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship I wasn’t getting what I needed from so they shouldn’t have to be either just because they’re my parents.

    • 9.6.17
      Jessica commented:

      Thanks for sharing this, Michelle! I never expected for it to be as hard as it was, but it really does turn your world upside down for a while. I found out this past Thanksgiving so thankfully things have leveled out a bit now and I’m able to have separate relationships with both of them. Don’t know what I would have done without my brothers, my therapist, and my college girlfriends… They were the glue holding me together this past winter!

  4. 9.6.17
    Elle commented:

    Thanks for the great post Jess! I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a friendship in the “spotlight” if you will. People pick up on EVERYTHING! So happy you two are back and your friendship is stronger than ever. True friendships are worth fighting for and if you both put in the fight you know that friendship is worth everything. Thanks again for being so real and honest with us. xo elle

  5. 9.6.17
    Margaret commented:

    These posts really prove that “you guys are friendship goals!” Thanks to both of you for sharing. Glad you’re back together! 🙂

  6. 9.6.17
    Brenna commented:

    Hey Jess,
    I’m the same age as you (turned 28 in August also) and my parents separated right after Thanksgiving almost 3 years ago now. I didn’t expect that it would turn my entire world upside down, but it did. It literally broke me, even though I was 25 at the time and had my own life now. Things were ugly for a long time but eventually the tide settled. It’s still not easy but you just learn how to work through it and make the best of it. Julia at lemon stripes wrote a few posts about divorced parents and it definitely was comforting to know I’m not the only one having these feelings and going through it. Loving these posts about real life struggles and honest confessions, please keep incorporating them into the blog!
    Brennna

  7. 9.6.17
    Gracie commented:

    I really loved this post. I should mention that I am that blog fanatic that loyally reads my favorite blogs each and every day (my “Must Read List” is quite long but ya know what #sorrynotsorry). My fiance always asks me when I am on my phone or Ipad–blog or insta? HA. When you follow blogs for awhile, you tend to gravitate more to the bloggers who seem relatable and just plain #REAL… (unless you are just looking for that no makeup makeup tutorial or that new pair of booties) which leads you to get involved in their lives beyond the blog…you go down the rabbit hole and you start to notice oh, Jess and Hallie aren’t hanging out as much (yea, I am the creep that noticed) or I guess Carly and Mackenzie maybe aren’t friends anymore (?). Ya know what it happens. Some friendships do happen to run their course.

    Sometimes people happen to go through a series of really unfortunate events and it is hard to figure out a way to be there for the other person which DOES put strain on friendship (been there), especially if the rules of the friendship were experiencing a rewrite (increased anxiety, new workload, new SO, etc). I just want to say, I really appreciate when bloggers are vulnerable and honest. I hate that you and Hallie have both had your own bad set of cards to deal with lately, but I truly believe that s*** makes you stronger (it just sucks trying to trudge through it all while trying to figure out how you can still be you and a good friend). I am glad that y’all have seemed to figure it out, and I just really loved your posts.

  8. 9.7.17
    Rach commented:

    Love this post! Thanks for being so open about this as I’m sure it is not easy. This post is so relatable. Friendships do change, just like anything in life but at the same friendships can be amended. Glad you guys are now okay!

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

  9. 9.7.17
    Nicolette commented:

    This is my favorite post you’ve ever written. Glad you got through it together and that you shared the experience. I think it’s true that we get multiple soulmates – and they’re not all romantic partners. I also think culturally people value romantic relationships more, but often our friendships are far more fulfilling, deep, and the “break ups” in those friendships can be even more devastating. I wish (culturally) we made as much room for platonic emotional intimacy as we do for our romantic relationships.

  10. 9.7.17
    Theodora commented:

    These posts were so good, thank you for sharing — and I’m sorry you guys had to go through this.

    I went through a nasty bff breakup in my mid-20s and it honestly scarred me from getting that close with anyone — friend, boyfriend — for a while. (Thank god for therapy.)

    I lost my mom this summer after she had a long battle with ovarian cancer and really learned a lot about who my friends were and weren’t. My BFF and I are a lot like you and Hallie – inseparable, creepy knowing what the other is thinking – and holy shit, did she go above and beyond to be by my side whenever I needed her, including staying at my dad’s with me between the wake and the funeral and snuggling with me while I cried myself to sleep. On the other hand, some friends have either been totally distant. I do now 100% believe that quote you said about reasons, seasons and lifetime.

    • 9.7.17
      Theodora commented:

      Sorry, adding a little more to my novel of a comment 🙂

      The part you or one of the commenters said about your friends being your family resonates so much with me too — I was so afraid of being alone throughout my mom’s illness and losing her, since I am single and an only child but my therapist reminded me my friends were far better than any family could have been 🙂

  11. 9.7.17
    tracy commented:

    First, I am so excited to see you friendship survived! And your recent trips look like so much fun! Second, there is magic in chaos, nothing more true then that. I had a best friend for 25 years and unfortunately we drifted apart and haven’t spoken in 5 and as much as I miss her and think about her, we are down very different paths. She was there when I lost my mother, every step of the way but after time and I needing more support she was fed up. I can understand as we all handle life in different ways. Finally, this post is something that should be read by every college student and young adult. No matter the relationship it will always be a work in progress, no one is ever perfect!

    Hallie and Jess have a wonderful time in Paris!

  12. 9.7.17
    Krista commented:

    this was so beautiful to read from both of you. i loved hearing your sides, and am so sorry the past year has been so hard for you lady. sending you love! xoxo
    Krista
    http://www.hundredblog.com

  13. 9.7.17
    Julia T commented:

    Amazing post! Glad you’ll back!

  14. 9.8.17
    AH commented:

    Thanks for this post, it’s really timely since I’ve lately been having some issues with a good friend. While I’ve learned a lot from the relationship with my husband (basically most of what you listed), I honestly never really thought to apply it to friendships! For some reason I knew a guy wouldn’t be a mind reader, but I expected my girl friends to be. Glad you two worked it all out, and thanks for sharing your thoughts!