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Sex and the City,  as a book or as a TV series, never focused on the origin stories of its four main characters. As far as fans were concerned, Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda Hobbes, Samantha Jones, and Charlotte York, were merely dropped into Manhattan and somehow found each other. That was, reportedly, by design. Candace Bushnell, the mastermind behind the column that eventually became a book, that ultimately became the hit HBO series, didn’t want to delve into their backstories, because, ultimately, they didn’t matter. How the four women became friends, however, was explored in Summer and the City, a young adult novel that focused on Carrie’s life as a newcomer to Manhattan.

How did Carrie Bradshaw meet Samantha Jones?

Sex and the City fans have long assumed that Samantha and Carrie’s friendship was the longest standing relationship within the group. Bushnell confirms that assumption in Summer and the City. In the book, Carrie meets Samantha because she was the cousin of a high school classmate. The pair became friends because Carrie called Samantha out of desperation after losing her purse.  

Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and Sarah Jessica Parker.
The cast of ‘Sex and the Cirty’ | Paramount Pictures

Bushnell sat down with Atlanta Magazine in 2011, and explained how she developed the story. She explained that the 1980s were a much different time in Manhattan. Without cell phones, internet connections, and email addresses, people were forced to meet more organically. She told the publication, “ In those days, going to New York was a pretty big deal and people would say to you, ‘Hey, I vaguely know this one person and here’s their phone number.’ And you would call that person! There were no cell phones. It was a very different time in technology. It really came down to word of mouth.” Samantha’s familial connection was an example of that type of “word of mouth” friendships.

Sex and the City 2 included a voice-over by Carrie, explaining how she met her four friends, but the monologuenever mentioned  Samantha’s connection to one of Carrie’s old classmates. Instead, Carrie explains that Samantha was a bartender at CBGB. CBGB, the birthplace of punk, was the center of the Manhattan nightlife through the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. The establishment closed its doors in 2006.

How Did Carrie Bradshaw meet Miranda and Charlotte?

According to Bushnell’s 2011 novel, Carrie met Charlotte when they happened to be sitting on the same train car late in the evening. A homeless man entered the car and dropped his pants in front of them. Charlotte, who had been reading Bride, and Carrie became friends through the shared experience. Sex and the City 2 told a similar story in the opening voice-over. According to the intro, Carrie arrived in New York in June 1986 and met Charlotte in 1987 on the subway.  

Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall in 'Sex and the City'
Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall in ‘Sex and the City’ | HBO/Newsmakers

Carrie’s close friendship with Miranda is a bit more confusing. The book and the film tell two different stories about how the pair met. According to the film, Carrie and Miranda met while Carrie was working at Bloomingdale’s. As the tale goes, Miranda was crying in a changing room while Carrie was on duty; the year was 1989. The book, however, painted Miranda as an activist who was protesting at Saks Fifth Avenue when she met Carrie.

Summer and the City reveals that Carrie binds the friend group together

Summer and the City offered fans a glimpse into Carrie’s early years in Manhattan and also seemed to confirm what fans have long assumed. Carrie was always the friend that bound her group together. Fans have always thought that, without Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte would never have been friends. The three didn’t have all that much in common, and, in many ways, had clashing personalities.

The cast of 'Sex and the City'
Miranda Hobbes, Carrie Bradshaw, Charlotte York and Samantha Jones | Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

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Carrie served as something of a buffer between the sexually-liberated Samantha, and the far more prudish Charlotte. She also seemed to be the voice of reason between Miranda and Charlotte. Workaholic Miranda and romantic Charlotte didn’t see eye-to-eye often. Even if Carrie was the glue that kept her pals together, their dynamic as a group was more interesting than any one-on-one relationship.