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21 Then-And-Now Photos Of BFFs Show The Awesome Strength Of Female Bonds

04/30/2015 09:01 am ET | Updated Apr 30, 2015

When my best friend called to tell me she was engaged last month, I cried then joked that I couldn't wait to spend the rest of my life with her fiancé -- after all, the guy was essentially signing on to live out the rest of his days with my friend and me: her bestie of over 10 years and unofficial life partner.

While loving friendships like mine are fairly common, they're still special. There's something fated and utterly lucky about best friendship -- finding one can feel like meeting a soulmate or winning the non-genetic sibling lottery.

As Mindy Kaling described her bestie in her 2012 book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?:
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Thanks to the awesome community on HuffPost Women's Facebook, I've rounded up a collection of other tight-knit best friends who've lasted over a decade and have the then-and-now photos to prove it. If there's anything to be learned from their photos and stories, it's that there's no need to explain what makes you and your bestie work -- it just is.

  • Norah & Angela, besties for 46 years
    Norah Brennan
    "The first photo booth image is when we were 11 years old -- we're now both 51 years old. We've actually been best friends since we were 5 years old, so we've been besties for 46 years! Hard to say why we're such good friends -- we leaned on each other through difficult childhoods and share countless happy times too. Angela once said I was her soul mate. Angela is more than a best friend -- she's the sister everyone would want, and the friend that everyone deserves. I don't know a better person, and I love her very much." -Norah
  • Amber & Amanda, besties for 14 years
    Amber Chatraeu
    "We have been best friends for almost 14 years -- we've been through it all together! With our busy schedules, we don't get to see each other in person as often as we'd like, but we talk via text or email quite often. Best of all, we have one of those special friendships where when we do get together it's as if no time has passed since our last visit. We are truly sisters at heart!" -Amber
  • Catherine & Ruth, besties for 15 years
    Catherine Billings
    "We have been best friends for 15 years. We are great friends because we grew up together. We have found a way to balance each other's crazy. We suffered though violin lessons together, pulled all-nighters at age 8 because we couldn't stop talking and we planned out our entire lives at 10 so we would never be apart. Even though we choose colleges over a thousand miles away from each other, our friendship has never been stronger." -Catherine
  • Amy & Sanjita, besties for 12 years
    Amy Jensen
    "We met in 2001 at new teacher orientation at the school we worked together at for 12 years. We immediately became friends and have been best friends ever since. We've been through so much together, through struggles and tragedies as well as happy times, like our weddings and the birth of her children. She helped my husband propose to me and set it up in my classroom in 2009. I know she always has my back and I have hers. I would drop anything in a second if I knew she needed me. I love her and I couldn't live without her. I don't think anyone knows me better and even knowing all my flaws, she still loves me." -Amy
  • Katrina & Andi, besties for 25 years
    Katrina Willis
    "Andi and I have been best friends since high school -- which is now over 25 years ago. We love each other without conditions, without expectations and with a great abundance of laughter. Our lives have taken us to multiple states, through numerous jobs and have blessed us with a combined 9 children. I could not ask for anyone to understand, accept or love me more than this girl." -Katrina
  • Anam & Jessica, besties for 10 years
    Anam Iqbal
    "Jessica and I have known each other since 3rd grade. We ended up going to different junior highs, but met back up in high school and have been together since! We stayed friends, even after going to different colleges and moving to different states. Our schedules keep us pretty busy, but we still manage to have hour-long gossip sessions and pick up where we left off whenever we get together in person." -Anam
  • Julia & Jane, besties for 25 years
    Julia Berchem
    "We were both born on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands in 1989. My family moved to NC in November '96, and her family moved to Florida not long after. Once we both graduated from university, we both ended up moving back to St. John and rekindling our friendship. We are 25 and best friends to this day! We are such good friends because of the unique bond we had being born in the VI -- she is a true, genuine, free-spirit soul, and we both love traveling and adventures. We will be taking on Southeast Asia for 17 days over NYE and I wouldn't want to travel with anyone else! It's rare to find a travel partner who truly appreciates where they are in the moment, is always hungry to learn and understand other cultures and is also your best friend." -Julia
  • Kimberly & Djuan, besties for 15 years
    Kimberly Snead
    "Here's me and my bestie from 3rd grade. Her name is Djuan Trent. When I moved to Georgia, we hit it off and were inseparable. Life has moved us to different states, but I still love her all the same! She was Miss Kentucky in 2010, and I'm now flying around everywhere for Southwest. Time has definitely been good to us!" -Kimberly
  • Susan, Rachel & Dana, besties for 24 years
    Susan Kipp
    "I have been friends with both of these women for 24 years! I love them so! We met in college and, against all odds, have remained best friends through marriages, all of our children's births, careers and the sands of time! Why have we stayed friends? Love and a little bit of magic. These women are like my sisters, and I cherish my relationship with each of them every day. We take the time to really listen and be patient with one another. I can't imagine my life without them." -Susan
  • Katherine & Emily, besties for 20 years
    Katherine Johnson
    "We've been friends since 1995, making this our 20th year as the dynamic duo. She is the best friend a girl could ever ask for. I love her to pieces, and I can't imagine my life without her. Most people find this relationship in a sister, but I found it in a little girl who lived next door to me when I could hardly speak. We shared a journal in middle school and high school; we wrote letters back-and-forth; we spent hours on the phone with each other; and we got each other through some of the hardest times in our lives. Now we are both in college and continue to have the most incredible adventures together." -Katherine
  • Courtney & Paula, besties for 38 years
    Courtney Foster
    "Paula and I have been friends since I was born, and our parents were friends before that. At one point, our dads were in a band together called "Wives and Lovers." What makes this friendship continue to thrive after 38 years is our shared history. We went to different colleges and have since each lived in various cities. Though we've made other friends along the way, there is just something so reaffirming about that person that you don't have to explain yourself to. She already knows. So whenever we talk, no matter how long has passed, we aren't starting fresh. It feels like we have just spoken the day before. Now our children our friends." -Courtney
  • Emilie & Tracy, besties for 27 years
    Emilie S. Yount
    "My best friend Tracy and I were due to be born on each other's birthdays and were born in the same hospital. I was born on April 29th and she was born May 2nd. We met in grade school. I had pigtails that day, and she had a ponytail. We were about 6 years old. We are both now about to turn 33! We went to high school together as well and we have managed to keep our friendship going through some big personality and life changes." -Emilie
  • Helene & Trine, besties for 21 years
    Helene Alseth Haaland
    "We became best friends the day the teacher seated us next to each other on the first day of first grade in 1994. Here we are, still talking to each other every day, even though we currently live in different countries. We visit each other as often as possible and miss each other when we're not together. It's hard to explain why we go so well together -- everything is just so EASY with us!" -Helene
  • Amanda, Eliza & Linetta, besties for 13 years
    Amanda Robinson
    "If I could describe our friendship in one sentence it would be the quote, 'God made us friends because our mothers could not handle us as sisters.' All of the shenanigans we got into from elementary school through high school are some of the best memories we have. We first met when we were 9 and 10 years old on the fast-pitch softball field. If I had to explain why our friendship has lasted 13 years, I would say it’s because we pride ourselves in ALWAYS displaying two qualities: honesty and compassion. Now that we are older and life has taken us to different three different states (Arizona, California, and Utah), we still make sure to make time for each other. Even though we do not get to see each other as much as we used to or would like to, we make every moment count to laugh, smile and cry with each other. This is a special kind of friendship -- it does not waver and it continues to stay strong and grow. I adore these girls." -Amanda
  • Julie & Katherine, besties for 19 years
    Julie Burke
    "We are both 27 years old and met in second grade when we were 8. Katherine and I truly just get each other. We tell each other everything and talk every single day. We have experienced first kisses, first breakups, relationships, rejection, graduations, first real jobs and so many important life events together. We continue to encourage one another and can spend an evening talking about life issues and feminism or boys, books and inside jokes. We have the perfect friendship and I know we will be in each other's lives forever." -Katherine
  • Kristen & Lindsay, besties for 21 years
    Kristen Richter
    "Lindsay and I have been best friends since 7th grade, when we were 12 years old), and we are now both 34 years old. We have been best friends for 21 years last August." -Kristen
  • Rachael & Serina, besties for 20 years
    Rachael Vaner Linden
    "Serina Ruiz and I have been friends since the 2nd grade, when I moved into the same apartment building as her. We were the only kids in the building and instantly became friends! We went through Girls Scouts, sports tryouts, choir and the worst parts of school together. We were there for each other when our moms got married when we were pre-teens and when our younger siblings were born when we were both 15. After graduating high school, we moved out of state to pursue educational and career goals, but Skype calls help us stay in touch with all the ins and outs of each other's lives. Throughout the years, Serina and I have been able to reconnect as if we were never apart. Here's to 20 years and counting!" -Rachael
  • Nora & Ida, besties for 17 years
    Nora M.
    "My best friend Ida and I first met in the 5th grade in 1992. We were good acquaintances and schoolmates from that point onward, but 11th grade is when we really bonded for good and have kept at it since. So at the very least, we're looking at a solid 17 years of friendship! I think we're great friends because we both have a very morbid/twisted sense of humor, we share the same values when it comes to nearly every part of life (especially family/friends and career) and we've been lucky enough to continue living really close to one another all these years -- it's been possible to be spontaneous and see each other whenever we feel like it. Also, we've never allowed our ongoing Superman vs. Batman rivalry to get in the way of our laughter, and this rivalry has been patched by our very strong and shared love for Michael Jackson. I am super lucky to have Ida in my life, and I love that we chat almost every day via Facebook/texts, and get to see each other whenever we want. That is truly a gift." -Nora
  • Sarah & Crystal, besties for 12 years
    Sarah Contreras
    "Crystal and I have been besties (as we call it) for 12 years. Our relationship is one of the most important relationships in my life. She is incredibly special to me for hundreds of reasons -- I can't imagine my life without her by my side. I am confident that, in 50 years, we can sit down together as old women and laugh at our inside jokes just like we did in high school. She will always be my bestie." -Sarah
  • Stephanie & Olivia, besties for 16 years
    Stephanie Snow
    "My bestie Olivia and I have been friends since May 1999. The instant we met, I felt like I had known her forever and she said the same about me. We have never once lived in the same city but have been able to keep our friendship going strong. In 16 years, we have had our ups and downs, but we have always loved each other. She is the sister I always wished I had." -Stephanie
  • Krishen & Kreezel, besties for 18 years
    Krishen Narcelles
    "My best friend Kreezel and I have been best friends for over 18 years. The first picture is us when we first met at her 8th birthday party (I was 7 years old and on the right). The second picture was taken last month on the day she got engaged. I flew down that day just to help her boyfriend with the surprise proposal and I would not have missed it for the world! We instantly bonded over our frustration with our VERY strict dads. It was very suffocating, and none of our other friends understood what we had to deal with. From then on, we only grew closer. It definitely helped that our parents were friends! Although we live in different states now and do not talk everyday, there is never a feeling like we are not each other's best friends. She is still the person I go to when I need someone to listen and comfort me, while also telling me I am just having a bad day and not to freak out so much. And I am always there for her when she is struggling to juggle work, school and her social life and telling her that at least she is not bored and all the work she is doing now will be worth it and not to give up! In short, we are each other's rock. Although we are both in serious relationships, we still rely on the other to be there when we need it, especially now that she is planning her wedding!" -Krishen

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