These Besties Met On Bumble BFF And Bonded Over Being US Expats In Paris
And yes, they have watched Emily in Paris.
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, Libby Aik and Abby Trombley detail how they met on Bumble BFF.
Packing all of your stuff and moving to France sounds like an absolute dream. With all the food, the culture, and the sights, it's hard to think of anything not to love. But as Libby Aik and Abby Trombley — two twentysomethings from the Midwest who picked up and journeyed overseas to the City of Light — learned, "It’s not all rainbows, sunshine, and Emily in Paris." Fortunately, the pair matched on Bumble BFF and immediately bonded over their shared experiences, laughing over the “ridiculous and unrealistic parts” of Emily in Paris in the process.
Thanks to Bumble's friend-finding mode, Libby and Abby connected in October 2019 and started hanging out in person in the four months that followed. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and they were forced into lockdown. "Our friendship was new, so it could have easily fizzled out during this period," says Abby. "But it didn’t, because we kept in contact through texts and FaceTimes."
Though they’ve only been friends for a year and a half, they both feel like it's been much longer. They've been through public transportation strikes and quarantines, and their bond has only gotten stronger. In Abby's own words, "Somehow, even though we weren’t with each other in person, I still felt that our friendship was incredibly valuable to me, and that's how you know it's a true friendship."
Here's their story:
- About Me: Businesswoman by day, writer by night, horse girl and hiker on the weekends. I like taking photos of fancy doors in Parisian streets and helping women make and save money.
- Age: 23
- Current Location: Paris, France
- Zodiac Sign: Gemini
- About Me: Fitness-obsessed dog mom who will never turn down red wine or a spritz.
- Age: 27
- Current Location: Paris, France
- Zodiac Sign: Gemini
How did you two meet?
Libby Aik: Bumble BFF. I had never tried the friend-finding mode on Bumble before, but a lot of my friends had recommended it. Abby was actually the first person that I matched with!
Abby Trombley: When I first moved to France, I had dreams of effortlessly blending in Parisian social circles and generally avoiding the expat community. This was a big mistake. I decided to use Bumble BFF after having trouble meeting people "naturally" due to a busy work schedule, adjusting to post-grad adult life, and living in a foreign country. Libby and I started chatting on Bumble BFF and met up for a drink in a café near my apartment.
What was your first impression of each other?
AT: I remember thinking that we had so much in common. I had so many things that I wanted to talk to her about.
LA: I thought that Abby was relatable and easy to talk to. We felt an instant connection.
How long have you known each other?
AT: We met in October 2019, so about a year and a half. It feels like longer.
LA: I just had to do the math and realized it’s somehow only been a year and a half. It feels much longer, though.
How long have you considered yourselves best friends?
AT: Libby was my first friend since moving to Paris, so I would say she was instantly my best friend here... by default. (Just kidding, Libs.)
LA: One of the things that I learned when I moved to Paris was that a lot of the foreigners that I met were temporary — many of my friends were here for a year and they moved back to their home country. Not only did Abby and I have an instant connection and become really close really fast, but I also knew she was in France for the long haul, so it let us get even closer.
What initially sparked your friendship?
AT: I believe what initially sparked our friendship was the shared expat experience. Life as an expat in Paris is thrilling, glamorous, and beautiful. It is also challenging, frustrating, and isolating at times. We immediately had that understanding of a shared experience, which bonded us quickly.
LA: When I came across Abby’s Bumble BFF profile, I saw that she was an American living in France, too, and we immediately connected over this shared experience. We were super comfortable with each other right off the bat. Living in a foreign country isn’t always an easy experience, but having someone who can understand this experience helps.
Do you know if you are astrologically compatible? Do you care?
AT: We’re both Geminis! I never thought about our astrological compatibility before this question, but I was curious and just looked it up: The internet says that Geminis are big talkers — we always have a lot to discuss and it can be difficult for others to get a word in edgewise. I immediately thought about when we met in person, and we talked for hours and hours — so I guess that’s accurate. The internet also says that arguments between Geminis are few and easily settled, and I couldn’t think of anything that we’ve ever argued about.
Where did you go to school?
LA: I graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2016, and moved to France right after.
AT: I graduated from Wake Forest University in North Carolina in 2019.
What do you do for work?
LA: I work in digital engagement and social media for Pernod Ricard, a wine and spirits company.
AT: I work as a consultant at an international management consulting firm.
Have you ever lived together?
LA: No, we have not. When Abby and I matched on Bumble BFF, I had already been in France for about four years and I lived with my boyfriend for two of them, so we never got to.
What’s the longest amount of time you’ve gone without seeing each other in person?
LA: March 2020 to the end of June 2020. We were in an insanely strict lockdown and could not leave our apartments for anything beyond doctor visits or grabbing groceries. In France, we had police guards checking our "permission slips," so it wasn’t even possible to try and leave.
How often do you text/call/FaceTime each other?
AT: Almost daily. She’s most often the person that I talk to when I want to recount things going on in my daily life.
What was the last thing you texted about?
AT: Trying to keep our spring plants alive.
What’s the oldest throwback photo you can find of yourselves?
AT: Not the most flattering, but one of the oldest! Back when bars were open.
LA: Definitely not our best shot... but fun!
What is your favorite Instagram photo together?
LA: Paris weather can be very unpredictable between December and March. It goes from 75°F and sunny to 45° and rainy in the matter of a day. For this photo, Paris was graced with lovely warm weather. Restaurants and bars have been closed since September, but some still do to-go food and drinks. There are a lot by my apartment, so Abby and I walked around and got some spritzes.
Abby and I are not the best at taking pictures together because we always prefer to enjoy the moment, but my boyfriend was with us and he took this one when we weren’t paying attention. We don’t remember why we were laughing, but we loved that we got a fun picture together naturally and unintentionally.
What’s one TV show you both can agree on?
LA: The Bachelor/ette. Yes, we still watch trashy American TV while in France.
AT: Of course, we both watched Emily in Paris. (OK, I couldn’t stand watching the whole thing, but I get the point.) We both have "Emily" aspects: being Americans living in Paris, I am from Chicago, and Libby works in marketing. It was fun to laugh about the ridiculous and unrealistic parts of the show that only American expats in Paris would recognize.
What's your favorite underrated thing about each other?
AT: Libby is a masterclass of how to live in France as an expat. Any question about visas, visits to the préfecture (capital), processes like job applications or renting an apartment, legal questions — she knows it all. Whenever I have a question about something, I don’t have to research it — I have Libby and she immediately has insight into any question that I may have.
LA: Abby is an investment and finance wiz! She has taught me more about investing and money-saving in the time that we’ve known each other than I’ve ever learned before. She can literally give anyone and everyone a piece of advice on smart investing.
What is your favorite memory together?
AT: In August of 2020, we took a trip to the South of France. We rented an Airbnb with some other friends, and in the evenings we’d sit on a balcony that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea. Just us friends, tanned and red from a day on the beach, sun-tired with wet and salty hair. We ate bread and cheese and drank rosé while playing card games. I remember thinking it was one of my happiest moments.
LA: I still reminisce on the first time we met in person after we matched on Bumble BFF. We met at a bar to get a drink or two and we ended up leaving the bar, getting a cheap bottle of wine, and going back to her apartment. Our conversation wasn’t dying down any time soon, and we realized that our bar bill would be quite high if we stayed there the entire night. We were hanging out as if we had known each other for years.
What’s one random memory you have of each other?
AT: When I was looking for an apartment to rent, I asked Libby to come with me for a day of apartment shopping. We made a whole day out of it — we walked all over the city together, stopped for a nice lunch and sipped on Apérol Spritzes on a terrace in between showings. We randomly decided to go into Tiffany’s on the Champs Elysée, where we were served cold drinks and pretended to look at engagement rings (where I took notes in case I’m needed for future advisement, FYI). The whole day was so fun.
LA: Not one memory per se, but I think that our experience undergoing the first confinement (quarantine) in France says a lot about our friendship. We had only known each other a few months at that point, but despite not being able to see each other between March and June, we managed to talk every day. Plus, she’s somehow still friends with me after I spammed her with about 216 photos of area rugs and 500 decor ideas as I had just moved into a new apartment before confinement. Clearly, we have a strong friendship if she can tolerate that.
Which one of you is better at keeping secrets?
AT: I don’t know if either of us are good at keeping secrets. (We are Geminis after all.) Although, if I had to pick, probably her.
LA: I have no idea. I don’t think we’ve really ever needed to keep any.
What was your biggest fight about?
LA: We haven’t had a fight just yet. Fingers crossed that this isn’t something we have to deal with any time soon.
Was there ever a time when you considered not being friends?
AT: Nope. Being an expat living abroad is a really tight community. You can’t get rid of me, Libby.
What’s one word you’d use to describe your friendship?
Why do you think your friendship works?
AT: Being an expat and living abroad is instantly bonding, because you get to share the joys and wonders of the experience while also deeply understanding the trials and tribulations. However, even if we weren’t expats living abroad, we definitely would still be friends. Libby is an authentic, genuine person. She has no pretenses or airs; she is who she is, and I love this about her.
LA: Not only do we both come from the Midwest, have common interests and experiences that we could initially bond over, but also, the fact that we are both foreigners living in France is a shared experience that ties us together. I wouldn’t trade a day in France for anything, but it’s not all rainbows, sunshine, and Emily in Paris. When I have a bad day, I have someone who’s there for me and can understand everything that I’m going through, because she’s most likely experienced it, too. We also love sharing wine and cheese, so that’s a bonus.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from each other?
AT: The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that friends are the family you choose, and the home you build. My friendship with Libby has been an essential part of building my life and home in Paris as an expat living abroad. Being a good friend isn’t about how often you see each other or do new and fun, exciting things together. Friendship is, of course, fun nights out and traveling to cool places together, but it is also about the mundane moments and the challenging moments.
LA: Since knowing each other, we’ve been through everything from metro strikes to quarantines, and we’ve been able to form a strong friendship despite all of it. When the metros go on strike for a few weeks, or the national guard is stopping us outside our apartments, we have to rely on texting and FaceTime. I’ve learned that not all friendships can survive that, but thankfully, ours has. We both put in the effort to make sure that our friendship doesn’t fizzle out and we are always there for each other, even if it has to be virtually.