Book Review: MWF Seeking BFF

I finally took time away from intellectual pursuits such as celeb gossip sites to read another actual book!

MWF Seeking BFF cover

MWF Seeking BFF is Rachel Bertsche’s year-long attempt to find a new best friend.  After moving with her now husband to Chicago from New York, Rachel finds herself without the support system she had in New York.  Though she has made a few friends in the three years she has lived in Chicago, she hasn’t made that one best friend.  As she wrote on the blog that chronicled her quest:

But on a Sunday morning when I want to grab an omelette 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.  I’m looking for someone to invite over to watch The Biggest Loser or to text “pedicure in half an hour?” on a Saturday morning. To me, that’s what BFFs are. Not just people who know your innermost secrets, but the ones up for grabbing a bite on a whim because they love being with you just that much, and getting together feels easy and natural rather than a chore you need to pencil in.

Tired of waiting for friendships to happen organically, Rachel decides to take matters into her own hands.  She will go on 52 girl-dates, one for each week of the year, in order to find her new BFF.

What I Liked

First of all, oh how I related with Rachel’s loneliness!  I couldn’t believe someone had written a book about the exact same thoughts I have been having about how hard it is to make friends as an adult.  The book was very easy to read, and Rachel described each potential friend vividly, which helped as the number of friend dates grew and it became more difficult to remember who was who.  I like that Rachel interspersed the dates with musings on various aspects of friendship such as what makes a good friend, the number of connections we could make and maintain, friend etiquette, the nature of adult friendships and used research to corroborate her experiences. Rachel also reflected on what she learned along the way and acknowledged qualities she needed to change as well as what she was doing well.  You could see Rachel deepen and mature as the year passed, and her quest to find a friend is also one of self discovery.

 

What I Didn’t Like

Sometimes it was difficult to relate to Rachel and her life.  She was a 28-year-old newlywed who lives in Chicago.  I’m a 34-year-old wife and mother who lives in North Carolina.  She has time for yoga classes, 2 book clubs, brunch on Sunday and dinners out several nights a week.  When I walk in the door at 6pm, we’re racing toward the finish line of Daniel’s bedtime at 7:45 and then if we have energy left, we might watch mindless tv or read.  While it might be possible and even good for me to dedicate an evening out for a cooking or exercise class, I couldn’t do it every night.  These differences don’t take away from the overall purpose and theme of the book, but they do make it more challenging to figure out how to apply her methods to my own life when time is a precious resource often in short supply and I have a tiny man whose needs often come first.

 

Conclusion

While I’m not sure if I would want Rachel to be my friend, I recommend this book to anyone who has wondered why it is so hard to make friends as an adult and apparently there are a LOT of us.   Earlier this week, in “I’ve Never Had a Best Friend, ” Fadra mused about her past friendships and how she doesn’t have that ONE friend.    All of them comments were along the lines of “OMG, Me Too!”  I retweeted Fadra’s tweet about her post, asking who else felt that way.  One of my tweeps replied that she had tried but realized, “the lack of a BFF was because I expected too much of the friends I made,” another epiphany Rachel made during her journey.

I picked this book because it speaks to where I am right now.  I do have friends (I’m not totally a recluse), but they live a few hours away or even a few states away.   I’m making friends through blogs and on Twitter, but sometimes it is nice to be able to get a real cup of coffee with someone, yet it’s difficult to balance friendship-making activities with the demands of being a working wife and mother.

I fully acknowledge my own faults in this area.  A few months ago, I admitted to being a lazy friend.  I often behave passively in social situations, waiting for others to make the first move.  This behavior might have served me well a few hundred years ago when ladies were expected to be demure ciphers, but it is causing me to miss out now.  A major inspiration for Rachel’s friend dates was her realization that friendships aren’t going to just happen; she needed to be more direct and active in seeking out friends.

I’m realizing that too.  I can’t sit back and wait for people to say, “OMG you’re awesome.  Let’s hang out.”  I need to make it happen.  Tomorrow I’m meeting a huge group of local bloggers, tweeters and all around fabulous ladies for dinner.  It’s a start.  Maybe I’ll need to begin my own series of friend dates.

And seriously?  If you are local and have a book club, let me know.  I’m eager to join one.

How have you made friends as an adult?  Please share any tips you have.

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10 comments

  1. So interesting to read this right now. I was just wading through old posts from two years ago and I came across almost the exact same one, about how I’d pushed my friends away because I was holding them up to an idea of an über-friend, one I’d never actually had, one that would be there for me no matter what, that was my ONE friend. I’ve never had that friend and while making the transition to motherhood I ached for one, for maybe the first time in my whole life. I think I ached for it then because I finally had something really amazing that I wanted to share with someone. After so many years of depression I had this huge light in my life and I wanted someone who cared about that, and I found my few college friends just didn’t really, because they weren’t THAT friend for me.

    My final conclusion was that those friends are REALLY hard to come by and very few people have them. Since I wrote that post I’ve met a couple of really amazing women and I feel I’m closer to having THAT friend than I ever have been.

    Thanks for reviewing this boko. I definitely want to check it out!

  2. Ha: figures Esperanza would comment on this one 😉

    I was lucky enough to make great friends in college, in London and now in this community. But there were some VERY lonely years in between.

    Is there anyone in the ALI world in near you? Kristin is in NC, although I’m not sure how close you guys are geographically. She’s awesome.

  3. I feel like it is easy to meet people, but difficult to develop and maintain friendships. Everyone is so busy, especially when they have children. It be great to read a similar book as Rachel’s, but from the point of views of a mother trying to make friends, especially a working mother who doesn’t have time to go to the morning and afternoon mom groups. My sister deals with this as she works full time. In MA, I think there is a lot of focus on families always spending time together more than making friends, for they have friends from childhood. When I lived in CA, friends were easy to meet, and they became ‘family’ as most were ‘transplants’ to the area. Friends in MA who I know have met through local meetup groups they found from searching on the internet.

  4. I’m a Raleigh native and therefore have a couple of friends whom I’ve known since elementary school in the area, so the act of finding a “best” friend hasn’t been a challenge that I’ve faced personally. If we ever moved from here, though, I’ve often thought about how difficult it could be to blaze new best friend trails. Even with local BFFs, though, it does become difficult after one becomes a parent. One of my best friends lives way out in Zebulon. She has a five year old and one on the way, and I have my two and it’s difficult to get together. If we manage to meet once a year, it’s an accomplishment.

    My other best friend is my “work spouse” (in a platonic way) and we see each other every day, but only at work. Other than that, I’ve met a lot of dear friends through Raleigh Little Theatre and other musical/theatrical endeavors in the area. If you’re a thespian, and I think you mentioned that you may be, you should check them out. http://www.raleighlittletheatre.org. They’re great to work with, and very welcoming to newcomers. Rehearsal commitments with them can be long, but even volunteering backstage a night or two for a production can get you into the “family.”

    I know you live in the triangle, but am not sure where. If there’s another local blogger get-together or something, I’d love to tag along!

  5. Making friends as an adult has been somewhat like dating. You have to wait for that perfect moment before you ask someone to coffee, and you don’t want to seem to needy or overbearing. It’s delicate and I don’t have the same time and energy for it as I did before. I’m 33 and I have a baby and a job. It’s been hard to put myself out there to find someone who I could call up and have a conversation about all the bad tv that I watch.

  6. Had to tell you that I just got this book today because of your review. Literally only two pages in because I kept getting called away from it, but I’m going to read it tonight. Thank you for writing about it!

  7. I’m reading that book right now (along with others)—I’ve read Rachel’s blog for over a year now; you should check it out, sometimes really good discussions there—including some on friendship & motherhood; one of my comments sparked a post about whether on not non-moms and moms can be friends.
    I think I love the book/blog and topic so much because for such a long time it seemed like being lonely or wanting more friends was a shameful secret no one wanted to admit. I remember moving here 5 years ago, not knowing a soul except my husband, and still trying to make it sound to my co-workers like I had cool social plans every weekend because I was embarrassed to admit that we had no friends. How would we have friends? We moved across country & I worked, literally, 80-hour weeks while my husband was unemployed. Yet still, I had that pre-teen attitude that if you didn’t have friends you were a loser. I still believed that if you were an interesting & likeable person, you would just suddenly make tons of friends. This notion that you have to go put yourself out there & make it happen (while common knowledge in the dating world) in the friendship realm was novel & inspiring to me. Now I’ve become much more open to admitting that my weekend is totally free (and “hey, maybe we should get together!”) and making the first move & getting contact info from women I may meet in various situations (the park, the mom’s group I went to once) & then USING the contact info. I still have very few local friends, but now I feel the situation is in my control & if I were to spend more time & energy on it (in limited supply with fulltime job& 2 little ones right now) I could make it happen.
    Good luck with your friendship quest!!

    1. Thanks! I skimmed her blog, but I’m going to check it out more thoroughly. It’s freeing to acknowledge that I need to work harder to make friends.

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