A Friendship Challenge

I love a challenge. Or maybe I love a project.

Clear cut parameters–rules! regulations! tangible results!–propel me to tackle missions I would otherwise laugh off.

Take last week. I went off gluten. A friend told me that tennis superstar Novak Djokovic went from number 15 to number 1 in the world in only one year, and credits going gluten-free with his unstoppable rise. My friend said, “If you were off gluten, you’d have written five books already!”

Challenge accepted.

When it comes to food, I happen to enjoy changing it up. I’m a carb-lover all the way, and if I could eat anything in the world and health were no issue, I’d have chicken fingers and fries and mashed potatoes for every meal. Throw in some pad thai for good measure. But I’ll try any eating plan once. I like rules (all or nothing is always easier for me than moderation) and I like seeing how different diets (hate that word, but we should call a spade a spade) make me feel. Oh, and gluten free? After a week of it and a weekend back on gluten, I can tell you it made me feel good. Less bloated, more energetic. I’m going back for a little. Screw the glute.

And, of course, a project is what finally forced me to get off my tuchus and start making friends. When I used to sit around lamenting my lack of local pals, I couldn’t quite get myself to do anything about it. I’d think about it, or complain to Mom or my long-distance BFFs, but actually asking anyone out was too daunting. Until I made a challenge: 52 first friend-dates in a year. Suddenly it felt like I had no choice. I’d set for the challenge, so I had to deliver.

I talked to my BFF Callie over the weekend who said that reading an advance copy of MWF Seeking BFF inspired her to write an email to a “friendish person” to ask her to dinner. And, when she was doing some work for a local board she sits on, she suggested that a group of them go out for drinks. She undertook the friending mission.

So for this week, lovely readers, I’m extending a challenge to you: Ask one, just one, potential BFF on a friend date. Shoot the new-in-town girl an email to see if she wants coffee. Or suggest to another local mom that your kids get together so you can hang out, too. Or invite the girl in the next cube over for a drink after work. Or maybe a friend of a friend could come over to watch one of the 48,000 season premieres this week.

It’s not a crazy mission. I’m not suggesting you take on 52 dates. Or even 2 dates. Just one. Because for most of us, the asking is the hardest part. It’s awkward, it makes us feel desperate. But it’s easier than you think! I promise. Just go for it. If it makes you feel any better, I’m going to do it too. I’ve taken a new-date break, and it’s time to get back on the wagon.

So go forth and friend! And then share with us in the comments: success stories, questions, fears. As Sharpay would say, we’re all in this together.

So…. Challenge extended. Do you accept?

8 Comments

Filed under The Search

8 responses to “A Friendship Challenge

  1. Megan

    I just found out I’m gluten intolerant – which wouldn’t be so difficult if it were just that (I’ve got a lot of intolerances to food as well). At any rate, gluten is hard enough to avoid, so I’m impressed! :-) Oh, and I pre-empted your challenge: last week, I asked a new girl in town if she and her husband would like to go on a double date with us. It was fun, so we’ll see if it goes anywhere! :-)

  2. katieleigh

    I love that you threw in Friends references AND a High School Musical reference in this post. (When I read the words “Challenge accepted,” I heard Ross’s voice in my head.)

    I’m going to NYC this weekend to meet a blog-friend, whom I’ve never yet met in real life. Does that count as a new friend date? :)

  3. Callie

    I really was inspired! I think the most important take-away is that as a society we have become a little anti-social. I consider myself to be a very social person, but when I think about it, I have become pretty anti-social in the post-marriage, busy job phase of my life…and also just plain lazy. I try to make dinner plans with a great new person I meet…we cant find a time that works that weekend and then I give up. It is WAY easier to sit on the couch and watch White Collar than it is to go out and have dinner with someone who you may or may not end up having a good time with. The book really inspired me to go outside my comfort zone because even though right now I feel comfortable with the way things are, I know I can only go so long before I start feeling like i need some new friends. The book REALLY gave me that push to get a head start and start changing my habits now. You should all get very excited to read it!

  4. Meghan

    I must have known this was coming too! Over the weekend my husband made plans to go out with another husband in the neighborhood. Normally I would stay home with the two kids (3 year-old and 6-month old) and feel sorry for myself, but I texted the wife to see if she wanted to get together with her two kids. We went over there, the kids watched a movie, and we drank some wine and hung out for a few hours. Thanks for the inspiration! Now that I have kids I really don’t get much friend time, but I realized I have to make the time

  5. Argh! Now you’ve put the HSM song in my head! Here is a better (in my opinion) song called “We’re All In This Together”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geZehkuUvuk

    “I’m made of atoms, you’re made of atoms, and we’re all in this together”. Love Ben Lee!

  6. Challenge on! There’s a local blogger I’ve been wanting to meet so I’ll ask her out :)

  7. Ana

    Not really a friend-date, but you did spur me to join a meet-up group yesterday. Now I just have to GO to one of the events—if I meet a PBFF, I’ll take on the challenge and ask her out!

  8. I texted a newish friend to see if she wanted to go to hear a speaker with me. Turns out she was already going with her mom, but it felt good to put it out there. I also contacted an old friend I haven’t seen in years who happens to live in my new neighborhood. We’re getting together for ice cream! Thanks for the challenge.

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