by Aimée Grant Cumberbatch
Blind dates are pretty unusual even in the world of dating, but what about being set up with a new friend? It might seem strange at first, but when you think about it, it’s actually a pretty failsafe way of making a new connection — provided the person doing the matchmaking knows you well enough.
In the case of friends Matilda Egere Cooper and Addy Frederick, who work in media and PR, the recommendation was made by the people who know Addy best of all — her brother and sister. She explains, “It’s pretty unique that there’s something about [Matilda and I] that’s so similar other people were saying this friendship has to happen.” And happen it did, with the pair’s friendship still going strong three years later.
In partnership with Maltesers, they explain how a shared love of running and a mutual understanding of the need to be generous and warm in all relationships have helped their friendship thrive.
Matilda: I'm a family friend. I was friends with Addy's sister first.
Addy: I'm one of four, we're all quite gregarious people. My brother and sister run a pop-up restaurant and Matilda used to work at Time Out. They met and that was the [initial] connection and obviously my sister [too]. Then they had a media event [for the pop-up] and my sister was like, "You've got to come." She put me on Matilda's table and said “Matilda likes running.” Obviously just because we like running, doesn't mean we would get on, but we did. We just clicked, and now here we are.
M: I think our friendship solidified when I started Fly Girl Collective [a running group for women of colour] in 2018. Addy is a runner, so she was really keen to get involved from the jump, which was quite shocking because [she travels] from Essex. I was like, “woah she's coming from far to my running group.” Addy has been really consistent when it comes to being involved, she’s a true original member.
A: Everything [Matilda does] is very deliberate. We share the same views and outlook. [Fly Girl Collective] is a space that I wouldn't have created but I value, so I wanted to support it. I've been running since I was 19 and always by myself. This is the first time I've run with people. I came to the first one to be supportive but you attract very warm people to you so it’s a lovely group to be around. There aren't many people who would make me travel to South London on a Saturday morning.
"Addy is really funny and I love humour. She’s proper jokes in the most subtle way."
A: Well I make Matilda laugh. So just write “Addy” for Matilda’s answer.
M: I'm quite selective about who I have in my orbit and it's usually people who are very positive and optimistic. I really like Addy because she's both of those things. She's very proactive. I'm quite introverted but Addy is very embracing and involves me. Our friendship isn't just about running. We're both black women and we have similar political views.
A: We just enjoy hanging out together. My friendship group has changed quite a lot in the last five years for the better. Matilda reflects who I am and who I want to be. What she's done with running, and beyond the running, what she’s achieved at the side of her desk, that reflects a certain energy, a can-do, will-do approach. She saw a problem and she solved it. She’s a doer and I'm that sort of person as well.
M: There's obviously like a seriousness to that, but also Addy is really funny and I love humour. She’s proper jokes in the most subtle way.
M: You can learn a lot from each other. So for instance, I only have a younger brother, I don't have any sisters. So I've always wanted to be around other women to have the sisters that I never had. You can learn from other women, we can motivate each other. We can give each other hair tips, makeup tips. Things that maybe, in my case, a big sister would have done.
A: I'm always saying to Matilda, “What am I doing with my hair? Tell me your secrets.” It's just a different community. The support and the love [are important]. Growing up there's so much focus on romantic love but there's so much that comes out of a friendship.
A: I had a best friend six years ago, we did everything together and it didn't really allow me to have space for other people. The friendship I have with Matilda is very valuable. Whenever we see each other it's amazing, but there's still space for other people. It's a very generous friendship on so many levels. It's very warm.
M: I think communication is important because the more you communicate the more you get a sense of what someone is about, their personality, their values. Also having an interest that connects you. All people I'm friends with, there's that one common denominator — whether it's our love for music, in this instance our love for running and our love for culture. A common interest can really help the friendship thrive.
"Growing up there's so much focus on romantic love but there's so much that comes out of a friendship."
M: I don't think it's about saying one is more important than the other, I think it's just about acknowledging that there's different types of love that give you different things. Friendship love is something that should equally be nurtured and invested in.
A: I think the key for both is that they're nourishing. Everyone needs both but for different things. And sometimes with platonic friendships you can become almost more like family. Especially if you don’t have a good relationship with your family. Your friends can become that family.
Photographer: Ruth Rose // Art Direction: Shelley Dobson // Makeup: Lauren Griffin // Makeup Assistant: Ellen Bolger // Hair: George Curran // Production: Julia Merenda / Lucy Haller
This post is in paid partnership with Maltesers