Josh is my ex-partner and one of my best friends. He has always been one of my biggest supporters, advocates, and favorite people to bicker with. We call ourselves the same person in two different bodies because we think very similarly. When we stopped being partners, there was no question that we would remain friends. As a polyamourous person who is now practicing monogamy, remaining friends with exes just doesn’t seem weird to me. Monogamous people, however, often find it surprising that Josh and I can maintain a relationship. When asked what he adds to my life, my response is always “he makes me feel not-so-alone.”
When we started our podcast, we expected it to be like any other day on the phone. We would over-analyze pointless things, antagonize each other, and make each other laugh hysterically like we always do. The editing process would go much like my blog — Josh would essentially do everything. Seriously, for the podcast, he does everything. He has the equipment, he records our conversations, he edits our episodes, and he sends them over to our podcast network’s founder, Jess Branas. All I have to do is show up and be (arguably) funny.
Several weeks in, though, we started hitting some bumps in the road. We were struggling to find time to record, trying to come up with topics while recording, and most importantly, I just wasn’t enjoying myself at all. While every recording day was just a phone call with Josh (something that I always enjoyed), I found myself struggling to get excited. I would often zone out while recording and give canned, short responses as opposed to full, passionate ones. I chalked this up to depression and just decided to power through. Instead of opening up to Josh about my issues, I decided to try and work through them on my own.
Unfortunately, I quickly learned that this is not the right way to treat a podcast cohost, especially not one that you have a close personal relationship with. When it finally came out that I was unhappy, Josh was shocked and hurt. He had been having so much fun recording the podcast, and he thought that I was enjoying myself, too. I realized that unless I was honest with him, there was no way that things would get better. Throughout this first confrontation and our journey as cohosts, I’ve learned that there are some basic fundamentals of successfully cohosting a podcast.
Be honest and open with your cohost. Even if you think that you can handle your issues on your own, let them know what you’re going through so that they understand your experience and give them the opportunity to help you if they’re able.
My first thought was that my cohost was speaking up far more than I was. I felt like, while I sat back and waited to see if a silence would go on too long and I would have to speak, Josh was jumping in excitedly at every possible second to give his thoughts. I knew that I had strong opinions, but I was struggling to find them and know when to assert them. Josh and I host our podcast long-distance, so there isn’t really a way for us to see if the other is about to jump in and say something. While I hoped I could fix this on my own, letting him know that I was struggling to speak up enabled him to recognize while recording where to allow me some space to talk.
Make sure to allow and encourage your cohost to have a similar amount of air time. On the flip side, also be as present as you can while recording your podcast and assert yourself where needed, don’t assume that your cohost will always cue you to speak.
Once we finally started talking about my hesitation and brainstorming ways to help me be more comfortable, we quickly decided to change the way that we were doing the podcast. When we started discussing, I even found out that there were some things that would help Josh, too! We only made a few small changes to the format of the podcast and our recording schedule, but we were hopeful that these changes would be impactful. We also recognized that larger changes might be coming. Who knows?
You can always change things about your podcast, either big or small. Don’t get stuck in the mindset that your podcast has to stay exactly the same as when you started. Small things can be tweaked and larger things can be changed. The integrity of your podcast will remain as long as you maintain a healthy relationship with your cohost.
On episode 005 of her podcast “Podcast Penetration”, Jess Branas talks about the pros and cons of having a podcast cohost. There is no universal law about whether it is better to have a single or multiple hosts of a podcast, but Jess did discuss the risks of creating a podcast with a friend. Like creating a band, doing a podcast could definitely end up with the cohosts disagreeing and parting ways after a contentious argument. But with less fame and drugs than a band…so maybe not that similar at all.
Prioritize your relationship with your cohost over the podcast itself. Your podcast is important, but it will never be as important as your relationship with your cohost. I compared the contention that Josh and I had while creating the podcast to the contention that we had when we broke up. It was emotionally difficult, but we would undoubtedly get through it and still be friends.
Cohosting a podcast has definitely challenged me and my relationship with Josh in unexpected ways. I never thought we would hit another crossroad in our relationship, especially over something that seemed as small and common as a phone call once a week. Luckily, we learned early on how to properly communicate our needs and navigate this new space. If you’re planning on starting a podcast with a close friend, I hope that this insight can help you have both a successful podcast and a successful cohosting relationship.
I am very excited to host Josh on Buffalo Sauce Everywhere this week. Later on in the week, Josh will be posting a companion piece to this article about how he feels cohosting has changed our relationship. I don’t know about you all, but I personally can’t wait to read it!
And now that his post is live, you can find it here!
Photography by my talented fiancé. You can find him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hope_grows_here/