Last week, I talked about Text Me When You Get Home and why it needs to be on every reading list, discussed at every book club, and just generally read by all women everywhere. Okay, I believe what I actually said was, “every single woman needs to read this book,” but, honestly, I stand by my earlier sentiment. If you haven’t read it yet, Text Me When You Get Home is all about the power of female friendships. It sounds corny, but I promise you it’s not. Recently, I got the chance to connect with Kayleen Schaefer, the badass woman who wrote Text Me When You Get Home. I know, I am truly v blessed. She talked about her own friendships, her inspiration for writing Text Me When You Get Home, her views on feminism, and much more. Read on for my interview with this boss betch.
What was the moment (or series of moments) that made you sit down and decide to write this book?
I was thinking about two phases of my life. The first was that in school and in my early working life, I hadn’t been friends with women. In school I competed with other girls—for guys, for grades, for anything really. I just thought that’s what I was supposed to do. Then, in my twenties, my first job was at a men’s magazine, and I thought I had to be one of the guys to advance in my career. But then when I thought about what I was like now, in my thirties, I realized the people I depended on for my well-being and everyday joy were my female friends. They were my support system, and I thought that was true for a lot of women. But there weren’t any books that validated these friendships, so I wanted to write one. I wanted to tell the story of our friendships being as important as any other relationships in our lives.
What reaction to the book so far have you appreciated the most?
I put a lot of myself in this book—it’s a kind of memoir—and to have the women who’ve read it say they’ve experienced the same things has been incredible. I’ve heard, “I do that too,” or, “phew, I thought I was the only one,” a lot. The other thing that has been a dream is hearing that women are texting or calling their friends after reading it to say they love them—that makes me so, so happy.
Do you have any advice on how to make friends as an adult?
Don’t be afraid. When I was first getting to know the woman who became my best friend as an adult, I asked if she wanted to go see Bad Teacher with me. Bad Teacher isn’t a movie you’d necessarily want anyone to evaluate your taste in movies on, but she had secretly wanted to see it too—and, in fact, was planning on going by herself—so when I asked her, she was overjoyed. We went and had a blast. Making a new friend is a courtship in a way—you want the other person to know you want to hang out with them.
Did you attend the Women’s March this year? If so, how did you feel it differed from its inaugural year?
Yes, and I actually thought it might be more low-key this year, which goes to show you what I know, because it wasn’t at all. The rush of hope and possibility and community while standing next to the other fired-up protesters was just as thrilling.
What are your thoughts on women who say they “don’t need” feminism?
I used to think of feminism as a personal stance. If it came up, I would call myself a feminist, but it wasn’t something that I felt connected me to other women. But that changed during the 2016 presidential campaign, when I started to join with and march with other women, and learn about issues that were important to them. But I don’t think that friendship is the same thing as political organizing—liking each other isn’t going to guarantee us equal rights—or that every woman has to say she’s a feminist. For me though, right now, publicly labeling myself a feminist and standing alongside other feminists makes me feel more visible and, perhaps more crucially, more comfortable.
How important is self-care to you in this political climate, especially for women? Do you have any self-care advice/tips/favorite practices?
I think self-care is important anytime. Moving around helps me chill out, whether that means a solo dance party in my apartment or going on a long run. Or, if I don’t feel like running, I take a long walk. I also think consuming any art you love is important self-care, whether it’s a book, a movie, a podcast, a museum exhibit, whatever. That can inspire me and lift me out of a negative headspace. And it definitely doesn’t have to be high minded. I hate the term guilty pleasure. If you like it, it’s just a pleasure.
Who’s your girl crush right now?
Chloe Kim! She’s this fierce combination of being totally driven but also seeming to enjoy the hell out of everything she does. I love that.
Did you do anything for Galentine’s Day?
I did! I went with five girlfriends to see Cruel Intentions: The Musical. At one point, I looked around the table we were sitting at and all of us were doing the thing where you’re laughing so hard you’re clutching your face because it hurts in the best way.
Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship is available here.