How two women with the exact same name became best friends

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(CNN) – Growing up in the U.S., Kim Fliger always thought her name was relatively unusual. Sure, Kimberly was fairly common, but she was one of the names with multiple available spellings, and she rarely met with another Pflieger. She thought her first and last name together were unique.

But with the advent of the Internet, Kim became aware of another Kimberly flier.

Whenever Kim creates an email address, she usually has to add a dot or dash there, as the alternatives were already taken. She established herself in the world of reality TV as a producer and then as a life coach, this other Kimberly Fliger, a Canadian health professional, often appeared next to her on Google, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Kim always shortened her name, while another Kimberly did not. Otherwise, they would have shared exactly the same name with the same spelling since childhood, and they also seemed to be the same age – both in their early 60s.

Naturally strange, Kim was intrigued by another Kimberly. Pflieger is a German name that Kim learned originated in a region of Europe that was once known as Alsace-Lorraine, which changed back and forth between France and Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries. Kim found herself wondering if the lineage of the two women was divided.

In mid-2019, Kim decided to put another Kimberly friendly message on LinkedIn, explaining her reasons for reaching out, hoping a stranger wouldn’t find it strange.

Less than an hour later, she received an enthusiastic response from Kimberly.

Canadian Kimberly says she has long lived a fascinating life working in television in Los Angeles, thanks to Google, knowing and being fascinated by her US counterpart, whom she knew.

“Wow, she has the same name as me, exactly the same way,” Kimberly recalls the first time she stumbled against Kim.

Kimberly never expected to hear from Kim, but she says she was happy to receive a blue message that day in 2019.

After a bit of back and forth on LinkedIn, the two women exchanged email addresses. Over a long email, they chatted about their respective lives as Kimberly Fliger.

It was quickly clear that the two Kimberlies shared not just one name, but a similar outlook on life. They were both deep thinkers, naturally inquisitive, sociable and eager for connection.

“It was so easy and fast,” Kim says CNN Travel. “Kimberly is so inquisitive, and so present and so much fun and so smart that we get rid of her so quickly.”

“We had a lot of similar values ​​and ethics and that kind of thing. So I think that kind of promoted our conversation and made a great connection,” Kimberly adds.

Zoom calls became a regular part of every woman’s social calendar; They will connect via video call and chat for more than an hour about their lives, their politics, their families and their thoughts.

Kimberly says, “I found Kim to be a very open, warm person.” And I felt comfortable discussing aspects of my life, even though I didn’t really know her. “

As time went on and the calls got longer and the topics got deeper, the two women started planning to meet face to face. In March 2020 while Kimberly and her colleagues were mapping a trip to Los Angeles, an epidemic thwarted plans.

“Canada has closed its borders, so we kept zooming back and forth, getting to know each other better, learning about families,” Kimberly explains.

For both women, maintaining this connection during the next two years of lockdown and uncertainty was a source of comfort.

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“It’s really rare for me to meet someone you really connect with at this age in our lives,” says Kim.

Face to face interview

Earlier this year, the epidemic subsided in North America and travel resumed, with the two Kimberlys finally able to meet. Kimberly and her partner Paul went to California to spend a week exploring with Kim and her husband Troy.

Kim and Kimberly say that the first time they met face-to-face it felt like just reuniting with an old friend, and this simple friendship extended to their partners as well.

“The four of us said, ‘Oh my God, I feel like we’ve known each other forever,'” says Kim.

The group enjoyed some great local food and bound by the shared love of fine wine, they went on a long trip to Malibu and enjoyed a lazy evening walking on the water.

“Zoom is nice and you can have a very intimate conversation, but sharing experiences with someone makes the connection really close,” says Kim.

“And it was a physical connection,” Kimberly adds. “I’m a big hug, so of course, we met that immediately we had to hug, because for me, that physical connection is really important.”

And the fact that the two Kimberlies shared a name was even more obvious when they moved together, face to face. It was a source of great entertainment.

“That’s when it really hits me, because now we’re with partners who used to call us by our name, and I’m hearing my name,” Kim says with a smile.

The group spent a lot of time hiking together and enjoying California.

The group spent a lot of time hiking together and enjoying California.

Courtesy Kimberly Fliger and Kim Fliger

Kimberly brought with her various information and research on her family tree in LA. There was no clear link with Kim’s family, but both women are now planning to have their DNA analyzed. They are still interested in whether there is a link somewhere below the link.

The two women are also planning their next visit, with Kim and her husband visiting Kimberly and her partner in Canada this fall, and they hope this will be the next of many vacations together.

Their dream trip is heading to Elsas-Moselle, a region of France once known as Alsace-Lorraine where they believe the name Fliger originated. They like the idea of ​​digging together in their family tree, while they enjoy plenty of good French wine.

There are many similarities between Kim and Kimberly, including a love of fine wine.

There are many similarities between Kim and Kimberly, including a love of fine wine.

Courtesy Kimberly Fliger and Kim Fliger

When Kim first reached Kimberley, she did not expect to find a best friend. Unexpected results confirm Kim’s belief in the importance of “being curious, believing in my intuition and being open-hearted”.

Both women also say that their unexpected engagement has given them joy and comfort in volatile periods.

Kimberly says, “I thought it was so heartbreaking and fun that you could connect with someone you didn’t know lived in another country.”

“You can connect with someone, despite all the turmoil going on, and you can promote it, and you can build a relationship and grow it.

And for me, that is, the biggest part of being human – being open and able to connect, because we all need social connections. “

Top photo courtesy of Kimberly Fliger and Kim Fliger. Kimberly is on the left and Kim is on the right.

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