How a Survey, a Facebook Post, and a Picnic Built a Group of Best Friends: Abby and Andrea’s Story

Abby and Andrea Hero

Rochester sophomores Abby and Andrea weren’t expecting much when they popped open the Marriage Pact survey last winter. But in a series of fateful coincidences, the pair emerged not only with a new suitemate, but a shared community of friends that have defined their college experience in ways they couldn’t have predicted.

In February of 2021, then-freshmen Abby and Andrea both approached the survey with an air of nonchalance, the prospect of new friendships hovering vaguely in the back of their minds.

Abby: I had a boyfriend at the time, so I was mostly taking it for fun. And during the middle of COVID in freshman year, it’s nice to meet people. So I thought it’d just be a good opportunity to do that.

Andrea: I wasn’t gonna do it at first, but I ended up filling it out with a bunch of my friends. I was buying into the mindset of just “whatever,” not really expecting anything. It wasn’t until I got my results that I was like, “Oh, this is an actual person.”

Match initials hit their inboxes days later. Abby and Andrea’s match was practically perfect — a little too perfect.

Andrea: The thing is, we have the same initials. So at first we both thought, “Oh, they messed up and paired us with ourselves.” It was on my friend’s birthday when I got the email, and I was really confused, and told my friends, like, “Guys, they messed up, it’s just me.”

Abby: I think it was also at the same time we got the percentage match, and we were like a 99.99 percent match. So that plus the same initials, I was like, there’s no way this is correct.

To their pleasant surprise, the algorithm made no mistake. And even better, their names weren’t totally unfamiliar.

Andrea: Immediately after I got her name, I remembered that she had just added me on Instagram like two days before. We’re in the same radio program, but because of COVID, we had never had a meeting in person. The most I’d seen anyone in the club was through Zoom, so I vaguely knew of Abby, but not really. But I was like, “No, I’ve seen this girl’s name before, she just requested me.”

Abby: You DMed me when the results came out, like, “Hey, we got matched!” And so we went out to lunch and chatted.

The ensuing sequence of coincidences that landed the pair in the same suite was nothing short of fate.

Andrea: The first time we had lunch was incredibly standard. We had a ton of things in common, which is no surprise, since we had a 99.99 percent match. But I remembered you mentioning at lunch that you were planning on living with your freshman year roommate again in the fall.

Abby: Then what actually happened was that one of Andrea’s roommates posted on our Class of 2024 Facebook page that they were looking for two additional roommates to their group of 4. And I had just gotten lunch with Andrea. So my roommate and I thought, “That’d be great.”

Andrea: And meanwhile, I talked to my freshman year roommate, and told her that we might be able to get this girl Abby and her roommate Erin to live with us. So I asked you to grab lunch a second time with the intention of asking you to room with us. But you also had the thought of asking me because you saw that post.

So we went into that lunch unintentionally with the same motive and just didn’t know. Everything about it was a very perfect coincidence.

Though COVID restrictions made it difficult, Abby and Andrea made an effort to unite the group of soon-to-be suitemates that spring.

Abby: There weren’t really any bigger social functions where we could all hang out. And my freshman roommate was actually at home that second semester. So when we decided we’d all be living together, they obviously wanted to meet her, so we did a FaceTime call with the six of us. And when my roommate came to visit in person, we all hung out then.

But at the end of the year, there was an outdoor picnic for radio, and that was the first time I had seen any of those people in person.

Both Abby and Andrea cite that picnic as a turning point in their college careers — the origin story for an abundance of close friendships that have defined their sophomore year.

Andrea: I honestly barely remembered meeting Erin that semester, because all of it was so go-go-go. But I remember that picnic, because it was the first time I met a lot of people that I’m currently friends with now. I think of it as the switch between my freshman and sophomore year experience.

And it was nice to have Abby there, even though we’d only really met a few times. I just felt like, “I get this person, this makes sense.” I think it’s just nice to have that sense of familiarity, so you’re not alone trying to make friends. It was definitely a turning point in my head for my college experience.

Abby: I also similarly had my core group of friends that I hung out with throughout the year, and this was my first time meeting this whole new group of people that I’d only seen virtually and never really interacted with. I think that it was nice to know Andrea and Andrea’s roommate, because they were kind of my people as I was being introduced to this bigger group. And now some of these people are our really good friends.

Abby and Andrea knew they were compatible on paper, but it wasn’t until reuniting after summer break that their similarities truly manifested.

Abby: I do remember that even during that first lunch, it made total sense why we had matched. Our personalities are so similar.

Andrea: But I don’t think we ever really talked about the contents or the actual taking of the questionnaire until later. It wasn’t until we started living together that I understood why we have so much in common.

One example immediately came to mind.

Andrea: I think our suitemates can corroborate this, but I think we’re the most stubborn people in our group.

Abby: That was what I was gonna say. You took the words right out of my mouth.

Andrea: And when logistical things need to be sorted out, it’s always me and Abby working things out to come to a conclusion. Not to toot our own horns, but when things happen it’s usually because we made it happen.

Abby: We’ll text in the group chat and be like, “Hey, does everybody wanna come over?” and no one will respond. So we’ll be the ones to kind of push things a little bit. We’re also very organized and like things to be done, and be done in a certain way.

Andrea: And I think part of the reason we’re so close with the people we met at the picnic now is because Abby and I and my roommate were actively trying to make it happen.

Despite their expert executive skills, Abby and Andrea note that some plans simply aren’t meant to be.

Andrea: In the fall, we tried so many times to make plans as a suite, and they never came to fruition.

Abby: My favorite instance of that was over Halloweekend, when we were all like, “Yeah, Sunday morning we’re all going on a hike together!” That was just not gonna happen.

Despite their myriad similarities, Abby and Andrea say they aren’t carbon copies — and continue to learn and grow from one another.

Andrea: One sort of way we complement each other is that I get FOMO really badly and will stay at a function no matter how tired I am, just to have the experience. Whereas Abby tends to go to bed really early and wake up really early. She’s always like, “Let’s just go for a little bit,” and I’m like, “What’s the point of that?”

Abby: I’d rather just say that I was there, hang out with the people I was with, and then leave.

Andrea: Yeah, one of the things I’ve learned from being friends with Abby is that you don’t have to stay all the time. The memories that you’ve made, you’ve made, and if you’re tired and hungry and have physical ailments or something, you need to go handle that or you’re not gonna have a good time.

Since last fall, Abby and Andrea’s fellow suitemates and mutual friends from the previous spring’s picnic have become integral parts of their lives. They shared with me just a few of the laughter-filled nights spent with friends over the past two semesters.

Abby: We had a video game night last fall. We played a bunch of Mario Kart. That one I almost fell asleep at. But honestly, one of my favorite nights was when we had this big game night, and a bunch of our radio friends came over. We just played a bunch of board games and had such a fun time.

Andrea: Our suitemates had previously been reluctant to hang out with our friends from radio, but that was the night we sort of bridged that gap, and they all found out they had a lot in common. It was really fun to see them interact.

Abby and Andrea’s story is proof that once one new person enters your life, it’s a matter of time before more follow. What seemed like an inconsequential survey has enriched and transformed their lives for the better, and the pair can’t wait for the friendships and adventures yet to come.