MWF Seeking…Advice

Since I started writing this blog (that long week and a half ago), I’ve been going on about my search in the broadest sense—who can our friends be, how can we pick them up, when does the ease of establishing new relationships fade. I haven’t divulged any details of my actual quest. But let me be clear, I’m not all talk. I’ve been searching. Hard.

I’ve joined book clubs. Two of them. I’ve published an essay, complete with a want ad declaring my eligibility—Looking for friends? Consider me!—to the world. I’ve emailed everyone I’ve ever met in this town. If you and I have ever exchanged the requisite “We should get together!” then you’ve probably heard from me lately. I reached out to a stranger who wrote an essay like mine. I’ve introduced myself to fellow yogis, flashed my most winning smile to other Cardio Hip Hoppers, talked The Happiness Project with a mom at O’Hare and debated the merits of Loving Frank with a stranger via email. I’ve gone on plenty of friend dates—dinner, drinks, movies, brunch. I’ve met a good number of great women, and a few not-quite-right ones. But if there’s one facilitator of friendships, it’s time. My two closest friends have been in my life since I was 10 and 14. A month can’t compare to a decade, and even I, the world’s most impatient seeker, know that.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. Making friends is a time-consuming endeavor, but as I told someone recently, I’ve found the perfect guy, now I need to find the perfect girl.

Am I missing anything? My initial research into friend-making told me to join, join, join, and I have. But that almost seems too obvious. Aren’t the best friendships those that have a great we’ll-laugh-about-it-later story?

Where have you met The One? In line at the grocery store, while shopping for shoes, through the long-lost art of—gasp!—letter writing? There’s something I should be doing that I haven’t, I think. I’m open to advice, any and all. Please? I’ll be your best friend!

(P.S. Today is my BFF Sara’s birthday. This seems an appropriate forum to celebrate her big day. Happy birthday Sar, you’ve ingrained in me such high standards for BFFship that I had to launch a blog to find someone in Chicago who might compare. Thanks.)

16 Comments

Filed under The Search

16 responses to “MWF Seeking…Advice

  1. Not fair! I need YOU to tell ME how to find my local BFF. 😉

    Have you been set up on friend blind-date yet? You know, where you meet friends of friends or friends of acquaintances…

    • Rebecca,

      Fair enough. My search is young yet, but I do have a few tips I’ve picked up so far. Stay tuned! (For now they include mostly Facebook, joining anything and everything, and making sure everyone in your life — friends, family, coworkers — know you’re looking to meet new people. More to come…)

      As for the blind date, yes! I’ve become a pro. There is something comforting about having a mutual acquaintance — gives some context, and ensures your aren’t meeting a serial killer. Always a good thing.

      Thanks!

  2. When my children were younger, their friends’ moms became my friends. Now, beautifully, my own daughters are the very best friends of mine.

  3. Janet

    I met my bff in the sandbox many moons ago. Throughout the years, I have added layers of friends…perhaps none meeting the hallowed bff level, but still adding to my life.
    More importantly, I love getting up in the AM and being greeted by your blog🙂

  4. Volunteer. Be an activist. I’ve met so many awesome women through my blogging (on animal issues) and from volunteering. I’m not super close with all of them but I am developing friendships with a solid handful. Activism gives you something in common immediately. Something you are passionate about. Also, activities are built in. Ex: “Hey potential BFF who cares about the homeless, want to go help out at the soup kitchen this weekend? And maybe go see a movie after?” Plus, people who volunteer (in my experience) tend to be great friends. Very selfless.

    • Ali,

      I think you’re right. I just spoke with an expert on social connection and loneliness who told me that when chronically lonely people are looking for just one thing to do, he suggests community service. It’s a way of extending yourself and interacting with others in a non-risky atmosphere, and the positive reinforcement will entice you to keep coming back.

      Interesting stuff. Thanks!

  5. Anonymous

    Love this blog. One thought, though… I subscribe to the theory that there are some girlfriends who, like husbands, will be in your life forever. But there are others who play important and meaningful roles in one’s life but who wouldn’t be considered “The One.” Maybe you’re putting too much pressure on yourself? Share the love!

    • I think you’re entirely correct! I have a good amount of friends who, like you say, will be in my life forever. I have a good amount of friends here in Chicago, too, that just might (only time will tell I guess). And I have friends who I may not call ‘best’ friends, but serve specific and important purposes in my life. What I am looking for is the one, or maybe I should say “the ones,” who I can call on at a moment’s notice if necessary, or would want to call on ME at a moment’s notice. (If, in the process, I meet lots of women who fulfill lots of roles? All the better!)But perhaps the notion of one or two BFFs who are everything all at once is totally unrealistic after, like, fifth grade. Unless you are Oprah and Gayle.

  6. gail

    can’t resist commenting here. i have lots of bff’s. a few are from college, a few are mothers of my kids’ bff’s but my oldest and dearest are the ones i met when we were 5. i just found a picture of us at my 6th birthday party and tomorrow we leave for a week of vacationing together. it’s a gift. don’t give up the search.

  7. Jill

    I am loving your blog (and again am a member of one of the aforementioned bookclubs-hi!). I remember going through all of this when I first moved to Chicago. I knew no one. Eventually my boyfriend (now husband) followed me here (and we went through the couple-friend finding hunt all over again.) Anyway, joining, joining, joining is the best way of finding a BFF. However, once you have joined everything imaginable, I still don’t think you can speed up the BFF creation process. After all, part of what makes you two BFF is things you’ve experienced together–sticking together through thick and thin, right?

    It has been 7 years (today!) since I move here. I think it took me at least 2 years to find “my girls” and maybe 3 years before we totally gelled. It may be no surprise that their backgrounds are vitually similar to mine. For instance we all grew up in small towns and moved to the big city. More importantly, we all moved here at around the same time, meaning we were all looking to make friends at the same time. I’m sure that had no small part in cementing the friendship.

    One last thing: I looked foward to moving. I had too many “friends” I didn’t really like where I used to live (this is also my Second City). Some of them were too needy and had latched onto me. Breaking up with friends is much harder than breaking up with boyfriends! So, I was determined to pick and choose carefully when I came here. Maybe this isn’t something you are worried about, but it could have contributed to my rather long timelime in making close friends. Just a thought.

  8. Jaime

    I approached one of my oldest friends in 3rd grade on the playground and said ‘will you be my best friend’. She said yes. We got best friend necklaces the next week. I got lucky, we’re still great friends today, 22 years later. You will find the one!!

  9. I haven’t a single piece of advice for you, Rachel. I just wanted to say that I think your endeavor is delightful and I wish you the best of luck. A part of me questions its plausibility. I immediately think back to my single days and how a relationship always seemed to develop when I least expected it rather than when I was actively searching. On the other hand, being on the lookout for a BFF to appear may help you not to overlook someone. I will be checking in because I could use a new friend in my town as well🙂

  10. Ooooh, interesting. Well, of my five bridesmaids, my maid of honor and I met when we trained for the same marathon together through a charity organization. The other four … one was a neighbor when we grew up, one I met through work, one I met through the friend I met through work and one I met through my hair stylist (other than the childhood friend, I met all my bridesmaids post-graduation in Chicago). I guess that goes to show, you really never know where you’re going to meet your next BFF and being open to everything means increasing your chances.

  11. Pingback: If Only There Were Magic Words… « MWF Seeking BFF

  12. Laurel

    Just wanted to say lucky you! I moved away from Chicago when I was 19. Left behind my whole life well now my husband lives w/ me here in myrtle beach SC also w/ our 2 kids. so i am happy but pretty friendless, chicago is the best place in the world to be if u ask me.

  13. Pingback: BFF Searching: Phase Two | MWF Seeking BFF

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