Friends may come and go, but best friends are forever. In Elite Daily's Bestie Check, we're celebrating the stories that make best friendship so special. Whether they grew up together or recently met through an app, this series explores the unique ways BFFs first bonded and how they maintain their strong friendship. Below, long-distance pals Sydney Gordon and Samantha Sanchez detail how they bond over Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte year after year.
There’s nothing like sipping a piping hot Pumpkin Spice Latte while spilling the tea with your bestie. Self-described “fall freaks” Sydney Gordon and Samantha Sanchez know that all too well. The lifelong pals — who, in Samantha’s own words, “both love fall and the cozy feels” — always find a way to enjoy their first PSLs of the season together, even when they’re countries apart.
“It started with a shared love for Starbucks, constantly sharing new drinks we found,” says Sydney, of what sparked their yearly tradition. “Then at some point we discussed how much we loved the Pumpkin Spice Latte.” Drinking it with each other was a natural next step.
Though the pair spend most of their time physically apart — with Sydney living in the United States and Samantha in Mexico — they carry on the tradition via FaceTime when they can’t be together in person. Samantha says sharing their first-of-the-season PSL experiences allows them “to feel close, connected, and in sync, which is hard to do long distance.” Their beverage of choice is one of the many ways they’ve bonded throughout their nearly two-decades-long friendship. What keeps them together is their unwavering loyalty, their never-ending laughter, plus a little bit of *unagi.*
Here’s their story:
- About Me: Traveler, expert guacamole maker, PSL aficionado, and Hallmark movie fan
- Age: 30
- Current Location: Flowery Branch, Georgia
- Zodiac Sign: Gemini
- About Me: Traveling social media expert and amateur salsa caterer
- Age: 30
- Current Location: Mexico
- Zodiac Sign: Taurus
How did you two meet?
Samantha Sanchez: In middle school.
Sydney Gordon: I moved to Buford, Georgia, in sixth grade, and I met Samantha at Buford Middle School. I was the new kid and all her friends started to like me, so she had no choice but to be my friend, too.
What was your first impression of each other?
SS: I think we didn’t like each other a lot back when we first met, but our friendship was meant to be.
SG: My first impression of Samantha was that I was not cool enough to be her friend. She was this punk rock, save the planet, straight-A student who could take you down with a look. I remember feeling intimated by her, but I was always jealous of her creative and artistic abilities in school.
How long have you known each other?
SS: Since sixth grade, so nearly 19 years.
SG: Since we were in sixth grade, so that would be about 19 years. Wow, I feel old now.
How long have you considered yourselves best friends?
SS: Seventeen years.
SG: I would say since we were sent to yearbook camp in middle school and shared the same room — that’s when I feel like our friendship became more than just friendly banter at school. So around 17 or 18 years I’ve considered her a best friend.
What initially sparked your friendship?
SS: I think it was destiny. Syd and I are like both sides of the same coin — we’re very different, but similar in a lot of ways.
SG: Aside from working on the yearbook together, I think Samantha and I initially got along so well because we have the same type of humor. We have always made each other laugh.
Do you know if you are astrologically compatible? Do you care?
SG: I actually don’t know, but we share the same birth month, so we have that going for us.
SS: Well, she’s a Gemini, so astrologically we’re not, but I still think our friendship is written in the stars. I might have to run our charts together soon to investigate this further.
What do you do for work?
SG: I am a senior manager of client services, which is a fancy title for marketing consultant.
SS: I work as a digital marketing strategist.
Have you ever lived together?
SS: We haven’t, but we hung out basically every day when we were teens and we’ve gone on to travel together as adults, so a lot of time (in number, I’d say weeks).
SG: We haven’t ever lived together, but Samantha did come visit me while I was living in Portugal in 2019. She stayed for about a week as we traveled from Lisbon to Sintra and finally Porto, finishing the trip with tattoos. Fun fact: I still cry like a baby every time I say goodbye to her. It never gets easier.
What’s the longest amount of time you’ve gone without seeing each other in person?
SS: When I moved to Mexico, we spent like five years without seeing one another in person.
SG: We graduated high school in 2009, and Samantha moved to Mexico City shortly after at the end of that summer. I said goodbye to her in July of 2009 and didn’t get to see her in person until July of 2014, when she graduated from college. We communicated through Facebook, WhatsApp, and Skype for five years as two broke college kids who couldn’t afford a flight, but I think in a way it made our friendship incredibly strong.
How often do you text/call/FaceTime?
SS: We text every day.
SG: I talk to Samantha at the least every other day. That could be a text or a funny video on Instagram, but we are in constant communication.
What was the last thing you texted about?
SS: Cute surfers.
SG: How co-work[ing] spaces should be beachside so she can watch cute surfers all day. She’s currently at the beach and working with spotty Wi-Fi at a cafe.
What’s the oldest throwback photo you can find of yourselves?
SG: This picture was taken on the eighth grade field trip to Savannah, Georgia. See what I mean when I say I was not cool enough to be her friend?
SS: Syd is going to hate me for this one, but I think I look worse. I honestly couldn’t tell you the specifics of this photo, but it’s definitely from eighth grade.
What is your favorite Instagram photo together?
SG: This is my favorite because it was the first time since high school Samantha stayed an extended period of time back in Georgia. It was the fall of 2020 and it was amazing to have her back for several months.
What’s one TV show you both can agree on?
SG: Grey’s Anatomy.
SS: We have a lot. We're always sharing recommendations with each other. Currently, I think it's Outer Banks, and we had a Bachelorette finale watching party. I know we both like Grey's Anatomy, Ginny & Georgia, Sweet Magnolias, Virgin River, and Younger.
What's your favorite underrated thing about each other?
SS: I love that we just get each other. We're very different people, but we just come together really well and we've got this *unagi* thing going on.
SG: We listen to one another. As silly as it sounds, when I talk to Samantha, she actually listens; she’s not just waiting for me to finish so she can bring up the next topic. Having a friend that truly listens to you is very underrated in my opinion. We also surprise each other often. We are the kind of people who, if we are out and see something that reminds us of the other person, we’re most likely scooping it up and gifting it to one another. Even if that means shipping it to another country. Most recently, Samantha gave me a plant-your-own pumpkin, and it’s doing surprisingly well.
What is your favorite memory together?
SS: Maybe the night she jumped into a pool fully clothed to fish my cellphone out and it got fried anyway.
SG: I think the hardest I have ever seen Samantha laugh was when I ripped my pants in Portugal. We took an Uber to Rua Nova do Carvalho — also known as Lisbon’s famous Pink Street — to get dinner, and the minute I got in the Uber, I knew what I had done. I didn’t say anything because I am an easily embarrassed person and I was low-key freaking out. So naturally I waited till we got out of the Uber to tell Samantha I needed her to look at my butt to determine if we had to go back. Samantha, just at the knowledge of me ripping my pants, doubled over in tears, laughing on a busy street, drawing even more attention to the situation. I couldn’t help but laugh at her laughing at me, and it’s a moment I’ll remember forever.
What’s one random memory you have of each other?
SS: Syd ripping her freaking pants in the middle of a very touristy road in Lisbon. I laughed so hard, I thought I was going to pee.
SG: One night, Samantha and I were sitting by the pool in early high school, carrying our first cellphones and feeling very cool. Then, as luck would have it, Samantha dropped her cellphone in the pool — and I was the one deemed appropriate to go after it. It was a moment of sheer panic and heroism and somehow her phone survived. I just remember when it happened, she looked me straight in the face and said, “Sydney, you have to get it!” Without hesitation, I jumped in after it, fully clothed. It felt like a very “If your friend told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?” moment. The answer that night was yes. If Samantha told me to jump off a bridge, I would most certainly abide.
Which one of you is better at keeping secrets?
SG: I would say we are both pretty good. I know I can always trust her with anything and I would hope she feels the same about me.
SS: I think we’re both awesome at keeping each other’s secrets.
What was your biggest fight about?
SS: The only one that comes to mind is when we roomed together at yearbook camp and I wanted to conserve energy by turning everything off and Syd kept turning everything on to annoy me.
SG: If my memory serves me correct, it was at yearbook camp, the same weekend we really became friends. I was not as environmentally conscious as she was, and I left all the lights and the TV on in our hotel room and I learned quickly that was a big no-no in her eyes.
Was there ever a time when you considered not being friends?
SG: I wouldn’t ever say it’s something I considered, but I do think it could’ve been very easy for us to lose touch after high school. I am really glad that didn’t happen.
SS: In my mind, this has never happened. Keeping Syd up to date with my life and hearing about hers on the daily is just something that’s automatic to me. Even being countries apart, I have never felt like we were falling out of anything.
What’s one word you’d use to describe your friendship?
Why do you think your friendship works?
SG: Because we actually listen to one another and are each other’s biggest cheerleaders. I know that even on Samantha’s worst day, I could tell her good news about me and she’s going to celebrate along with me.
SS: We both have a no-BS approach when it comes to our relationship. I can always count on her advice coming from the best place. Overall, I just think at this point she’s stuck with me till the end.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from each other?
SS: Honestly, I’m always learning from her. Like I said, we’re not exactly similar, so she teaches me a whole new way to look at life and the world. I’d like to think we’ve both taught each other to just go for it in different aspects of life.
SG: Samantha and I have fairly different viewpoints when it comes to politics and social issues, but that has never stopped us from talking about them. We also like different styles of music and have different hobbies. I think Samantha and I are constantly reminded that you don’t have to be similar to be best friends. I love how different we are. We can truly discuss two opposite opinions, and we listen and learn from one another. It makes each of us better.