Fashion profile Janka Polliani (43) had long dreamed of becoming friends with TV personality Lilli Bendriss (76). A joint Christmas dinner at the podcast producer “Podimo” was the start of a friendship they both would not have been without today.
– Podimo thought we were going to like each other and it was really love at first sight. We didn’t have eyes for anyone else and we sat absorbed in the rest of the evening, says Janka to Good Morning Norway.
– It clicked. I didn’t know who she was, it’s horrible to say, but then she said she worked in fashion and is at fashion shows and I just: “But I’ve dreamed of that all my life – to be like you”. Chatting was underway, and we talked about everything from living people to those who were no longer here, continues Lilli Bendriss.
“You and I are going to be BFFs”
Janka decided to strike while the iron was hot. She had for the first time had the opportunity to become good friends with Lilli, and refused to let the chance pass her by.
– So I called her a short time later and said: “Lilli, you and I are going to be BFF”, i.e. “best friend forever”, says the fashion profile.
She does not hide that there are several things about Lilli that fascinate her.
– That is the obvious; that she dares to be different. But then there is something about being allowed to sit down with another generation. There is more than a 30-year age difference between us, but she lives life as it is lived today and not as many older people might do, who live as it was before. I am very attracted to Lilli, she says and continues with a laugh:
– She is much more social than me, and is more often out at restaurants, at parties and at events and things like that. I am the old one in the friendship that has arisen.
Hate getting older
The 76-year-old confirms Janka’s claim, and points out that she uses every opportunity to live life, even if three podcasts, TV recordings, lectures and interviews take up a lot of her time.
– I just have to take the opportunity to live while I’m alive – every day. I can also relax with knitting and Netflix at home, but that’s rare.
Although Lilli has a conscious relationship with getting older, she does not like to think about it.
– I hate it. I don’t want to get older and I tell myself I won’t get older. It is what I feel inside that defines an age and I believe that when you are curious about life, have things to look forward to and look forward to something, then this age also becomes irrelevant. Yes, you feel it on your body, of course, but I don’t want to think that I’m old.
Loneliness and poor self-image
Despite the age difference, the friends have similar experiences in life. Both have experienced poor self-esteem and a low self-image. For Lilli, this was the worst in her teenage years.
– I was very shy, and I was very afraid of being rejected.
This became particularly apparent when she moved to Oslo, where she did not know anyone.
– I sat in the dormitory alone, desperately lonely and I didn’t know who to talk to. Finally, I plucked up the courage.
A change was needed. She took the train to the city centre, walked down Karl Johan and entered a strip club. There she made her first friends in the capital.
The TV profile felt lonely – went to a strip club
– She has lived, then, and that is what is so exciting about Lilli too! Because she has lived a long life, but she just keeps on living. I get to serve these stories of hers every single week in this podcast, and it’s fantastic, says Janka, referring to their newly launched podcast “BFF with Bendriss”.
The 43-year-old has also had to make tough decisions for himself over the years. Among other things, when she struggled with eating disorders for a long time.
– It’s also a lot about self-confidence, self-esteem and those things. It has been an extremely long journey, but I believe that in the end you become an adult, and if you are good at processing things, talking to professionals and using your network, then I think a lot has been done.
Friends in adulthood
Good friends are important for having a good time in everyday life. However, making friends in adulthood is not always easy. The new best friends have a few tips in store:
– It is difficult to get in touch with us Norwegians. I think we have to think that it is not so terrible to ask. I think we should be better at complimenting each other and engaging in dialogue and contact. We have to work on our self-confidence and not be so damned afraid, the 43-year-old asserts, and continues:
– Well, I can understand that going up to a person and saying: “Hey, I want to be friends with you” might sound a bit strange, but what do you have to lose? You can get a yes or a no and it can be a fun conversation.
That to dare is also Lilli’s watchword when it comes to making new friends.
– It has to do with self-conceit, and being rejected. You need to boost your self-esteem. Now there is a lot of coaching out there, so take a course, learn to communicate, dare to approach someone, sign up for yoga. Go to places where other people who are alone also go, because there you will always find someone you can connect with. But you have to take the initiative yourself, because you can’t sit and wait to be called.
– And now we also have social media, so it’s another place where you can get in touch with someone, if you see someone interesting, Janka points out.