Do any of you listen to the podcast How To Do Everything? It’s a really fun NPR show hosted by two Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me… producers, Ian Chillag and Mike Danforth. It’s fairly new, and I didn’t know about it myself until about a week ago. The premise is true to the title. The hosts get experts to weigh in on how to do everything: how to make fake snow, how to avoid getting hit by a taxi and, soon, how to make friends.
So here’s an amazing story. (Or, amazing to me as I love a good coincidence.) A week ago, a listener called in to How To Do Everything because she, get this, just moved to Chicago and doesn’t know how to make new friends. And she’s newly married. And she’s from New York.
No, it wasn’t me. It was a girl named Kelly. She and her husband Nate are in their late 20s. She doesn’t have a job yet, Nate works nights and she isn’t sure how to find ladies to hang with. As she told Ian and Mike, she’s met cool girls out at bars a few times, but it’s hard and awkward to actually say, “Can I have your number?”
To solve Kelly’s problem, How To Do Everything decided to throw a party. A “Meet Nate and Kelly Party.” They invited their listeners to a bar, and introduced everyone to the couple of the hour.
Especially cool was that the party was on Tuesday night, the same day that MWF Seeking BFF came out. After my book celebration dinner/Hanukkah gift exchange with my family, I headed over. Because what better way to celebrate a book about how to make friends than a party to help someone make friends?
Kelly was great. We chatted for a while, laughed about our similarities and how awkward friend-making is, and I put my name and email on the “Be Kelly’s Friend” sign-up sheet that the HWTDE hosts provided. As party guests left (some stumbling due to shots of Malort–has anyone ever tried Malort? I learned the hard way that it’s the single most disgusting drink of all time), they hugged Kelly good-bye. When I left, she said “So, it’s cool if I, like, email you maybe?” And I, having been Kelly not so long ago, responded with a resounding: “YES! Please do! We should totally get together!” If I don’t hear from her this week, I’m going to track her down myself. She might still be new to this strange mission and feel embarrassed about emailing. Though she shouldn’t. (There’s also the possibility, if she doesn’t reach out to me, that she just didn’t like me, but I’m ignoring that option for now.)
That my book about friending came out the same day as her make-new-friends party seems like a bizarre coincidence. It felt as if I was passing the friend-quest torch. Like a friendship graduation. One girl’s mission ends as another one’s begins.
It’s possible I’m assigning too much weight to this. I realize that.
I love the idea of throwing a party for someone new in town and calling it what it is: a Meet The New Kids party. I want to throw one for someone next year. Add it to my resolutions.
Oh! And I’m on the latest How To Do Everything podcast giving advice on how to make new friends to those listeners who don’t live in Chicago or couldn’t attend Tuesday’s shindig.
Does anyone else think the timing of the Rachel-Kelly meeting was some weird alignment of the universe situation? This definitely felt like a pay it forward moment. Also, what do you think of a Meet The New Kids party? Awesome because we call it what it is, or too uncomfortable for the new kids themselves?
MWF Seeking BFF is in stores now! If your book club is interested in reading the book and wants to chat, I’d love to Skype with you. Just email me to set it up. Or, if you are looking for materials like reading questions, let me know and I’ll get them to you ASAP. They should be available online soon, too.