MWF Seeking BFF

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I recently read a really delightful book that I wanted to share with you guys. It’s not about dieting or fitness or weight loss, but I still wanted to share. MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend, by Rachel Berstche, was a book based on her blog recounting her year long search for a new best friend.

Rachel moved from New York City to Chicago with her new husband and even after several years of living there, was feeling like something was missing from her life. She craved female companionship and thus started this search for a new BFF. I could relate to Rachel so much in many different ways. First, I loved her writing style and her sense of humor. There were so many parts of the book where I was thinking I TOTALLY feel the same way!!!  Second, she watches the same TV shows I watch, she’s kind of a wallflower, and was really uncomfortable with stepping out of her comfort zone. All ME!

Her yearlong search for a best friend was comical, uncomfortable, sometimes exhausting reading all of the social activities she did to reach her goal of meeting 52 new people, and inspiring. It made me think about my own friend history.

“I think the waiters and hostess are beginning to recognize me. They must either think I’m the most popular girl in Chicago or a lesbian seriously looking for The One. Either option is far less embarrassing than the truth: ‘I’m here auditioning best friends forever!”

Most of my oldest, dearest friends were really based on convenience of youth. My best friend Rachel was the daughter of my boss at my first “real” job. I think I was 15 at the time and we became instant best friends. Passing the time at work chit-chatting lead to hanging out outside of work and the rest is history. I still consider her my best friend, even though she lives in Seattle and I’m in Portland.

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A few of my other friends are people I met in my early and mid-twenties at work. I think that’s the norm. You meet people at school or work and it’s so much easier when you’re younger. You have a common bond and that forges familiarity that can evolve into a real friendship. I also think it’s easier when you’re young and single. In my 20’s I had no problem going out for happy hour at the last minute because I didn’t have any other responsibilities (enter bff Erika). Of course now that I’m older, my schedule is booked with the boyfriend, gym time, house chores…the list goes on and on and I can’t even imagine how much harder it will be with kids!

“But on a Sunday morning when I want to grab an omelet over girl talk, I’m at a loss. My Chicago friends are the let’s-get-dinner-on-the-books-a-month-in-advance type. We email, trading dates until we find an open calendar slot amidst our tight schedules of workout classes, volunteer obligations (no false pretenses here, the volunteers are my friends, not me, sadly), work events, concert tickets and other dinners scheduled with other girls. I’m looking for someone to invite to watch The Biggest Loser with me at the last minute or to text “pedicure in half an hour?” on a Saturday morning. To me, that’s what BFFs are.”

I could relate to that quote so much! That’s me. Busy, scheduled, no down time. Most of my friends are the same way and we often go back and forth in a few emails in order to put plans on the books. It’s frustrating for sure. I only have a few friends who are “last minute plans” kind of people. Sadly, I think I often decline those last minute offers because of previous engagements.

When I was living alone in Portland, 22 years old and single, I decided like the author that I needed to make new friends in my new city. It was time. I’d lived in Portland for 2 years with a boyfriend before I moved back to Seattle temporarily at 21. While we lived together, I didn’t have a lot of “me” friends. I had couple friends that we’d hang out with, or became friends with some of his friends. That simply did not work after the breakup. Thank goodness the internet was there! That is how I made a lot more friends.

I joined Yahoo Groups for every topic I was interested in, from writing to history to dancing. I made new friends (one was Robyn, another person I consider a best friend and still hang out with a lot) and met a ton of new people.  Some of those fizzled out over the years, some stuck around. I met a lot of duds–there was a girl recently divorced and I felt like every time we hung out we were both trying to force the friendship. In the end we just didn’t have a lot in common. Another one was a guy that I met who was also a writer. I was 22 and naive and too trusting, and invited him to my apartment one afternoon to swap our writing and critique it for each other. Thank goodness he was just a weirdo and not a psycho. Needless to say, we didn’t click either and I never spoke or saw him again.

“Popular culture has made it okay to yell “I want a man!” from the rooftops, so why are we still embarrassed to say, “I want a best friend”?”

It can definitely be frustrating. There are dating sites, there’s places you can look for jobs online, but trying to find just FRIENDS can sometimes be so much harder!

The author described several people in her book which she called “friend connectors.” These are the people in our lives who KNOW EVERYONE and seem to be at ease with interacting, meeting new people and not feeling awkward or shy. These are the people who say “You would love my friend _____!” and then introduce you. I think those people are cool. I need to know more of those people. 🙂

I made several friends over the last few years through my blog and Twitter. I am really happy that that happened. One friend, Carbzilla, I would most definitely consider a real life friend and now her and her husband are “couple” friends that Michael and I try and see whenever we’re in the same town together! I think it’s so awesome that the internet can bring people together like that. And not only that, she introduced us to some of her friends who live in Portland and I’d love to spend more time with them and create a friendship there, too. Connector!

“‘It takes a lot of work,’ I say. ‘You’ve got to say yes to all the invitations that come your way.  The more you say yes, the more invites you’ll get. You have to follow-up with all those meetings where you say ‘We should totally get together!’ instead of just saying it to sound nice. And signing up for things helps. Oh, and asking for setups. You know, basically all the things you do when you’re dating.’”

After reading this book it inspired me to open up my own network. I’d love to meet new people. And I started thinking about my own habits…am I the type of person to stop and chit chat with people? Not really. When I’m at work I’m not a chatter. I get super focused and get tunnel vision. I’m not unfriendly, but I definitely don’t stop to smell the roses. I’m too scheduled, too focused. I NEED to take the time to invest more in relationships. You never know when you might meet someone really special who you’d otherwise miss out on if you don’t take the time.

So how does one essentially change who they are? The author definitely stepped out of her comfort zone and it paid off for her. She met a ton of people, not everyone turned out to be a BFF but she tried new things she’d never do on her own and met new people who enriched her life. Can I do the same? Step out of my comfort zone? Change the structure and routine and be more carefree and spontaneous? I have no idea. It won’t hurt to try!

Lastly, the book was a fast read and I enjoyed it. There were parts that were a bit tedious and sometimes it was really hard to keep all the people straight but all in all I’m glad I read it.

QUESTION: How did you meet your best friends? Have you tried making new friends recently?

10 Responses

  1. Yay for friends!!!! Big hugs from here, and we are SO thrilled that we are your friends!!!

    I’ve lost some friends by moving around compared to my friends who have stayed in one place. A lot of people aren’t willing to make the effort once someone’s moved to another city while I still write postcards, put out the invitations for visits, etc. I guess that’s how you know who your real friends are – the ones willing to make the effort. Some have surprised me in great ways while others who I thought I could count on have disappointed me. You just have to really cherish what you’ve got.

    We cherish you guys for sure!

    1. Both Michael and I are fans of you two. 🙂

      Agreed, the moving thing is hard. Even just moving to another part of the city! My neighbor Star is a very dear friend. When we lived in the same apartment building we talked every day. Now we don’t as much, since I moved, but I don’t feel like our friendship has suffered so that’s good.

  2. My friends are VERY important to me and I feel really fortunate to have good circle, both male and female around me. Some friends come and go in life, but the core ones (there are 2) are people I’ve known for DECADES (I met one in grade 9, and the other through a mutual friend when I was in my teens). We’ve been through thick and thin together, can tell each other anything, piss each other off sometimes, but always come through and I know we’ll be in each other’s lives forever.
    Roz@weightingfor50 recently posted..Running on Empty

  3. I need to read this book! I don’t have many friends. Since I moved to Glasgow I’ve been very lonely. I have my original BFF who I’ve known since I was 7 and Steph who I’ve been friends with since 2010 and who I went to Scotland with. I’ve only met one person here that I’ve become friends with, so I could use a book to help me out! Most of it is my fault though since I’m so bad at being social/meeting other people/etc. It isn’t as easy at 37 as it was at 7!
    Cindy recently posted..#Juneathon day 26- more running

  4. My BFF I met 20 years ago when we were both 12. Technically we met briefly two years before that, though we didn’t know if much later. Some times we don’t see much of each other, but I know we’re always there for each other when it really matters. She’s pretty much my soul mate. 🙂

    As for meeting other people, I suck at it due to major anxiety. Most of my friends now are people I met through my bf, but honestly, some of them are amazing people that now I can’t imagine not knowing. 🙂 I do have a few other friends I met in places like school over the years, and there are a lot of online friends too some of which I really want to meet one day.
    Deb recently posted..Wednesday Day 620 – Working Out!

    1. Aw, soul mate, I totally understand!!

      I met some new people last night. I walked over to where the Fitbloggin conference was and got to meet a bunch of people. I was definitely anxious about it, but so so glad I sucked it up and just did it!

  5. It is SO hard to make friends as an adult! I have read similar advice – be willing to put yourself out there, try new things, join groups, etc. It’s really scary! Way outside of my comfort zone. I think it’s also something that I put on the back burner after getting into a serious relationship.

    Definitely gonna look for this book; thanks for the review, Lisa!
    Alex @ Brain, Body, Because recently posted..god damn i wanna play katamari, give me a 3 paragraph of my pretty pet

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