The Pick-Up Artist

Yesterday I heard a woman say that one of the worst things a guy can do on a date is spend the whole time checking out the other women in the restaurant/bar/community theater production of Fiddler. I nodded in agreement: “Oh, it’s so true. Wandering eyes have got to go.” And then it hit me. I was that guy! Er, girl! Just a few weeks ago, I went to an event with a semi-friend (on her way to full-fledged friend, mind you), and though we had a really nice time together,  I definitely spent a moment early on eyeing the other BFF prospects.  Because what if she was there? My mythical BFF, the girl I’ll go on Sunday shopping trips with and who’ll talk me into buying the dress I don’t need because it looks that amazing.  I’m not saying the current date couldn’t necessarily fill that role, but it was early in the relationship, so I’ve got to keep my options open, right?

This is not to say I didn’t pay attention to my friend—I did! I swear!—but in preparation for the girl-date,  I spent some time trying to decipher the friendship code of conduct. If I thought I saw The One, could I approach her and just introduce myself? Would my girl-date be offended? Is that, like, cheating??

On the one hand, you never want to feel like someone you’re spending time with is only half-paying attention to you. That’s just rude. On the other hand, friendship is not romance, no matter how similar friend-dating and the romantic kind are.  There is no exclusivity. We don’t have to have The Talk. (“What are we?” “Why do we have to give it a label?” “But do you like me? Or do you like like me?” “I just want to be friends! Not best friends. It’s too much too soon.”) And adding a third to the mix doesn’t bring up any porn imagery.

I was looking for friends, and my soon-to-be friend was looking for friends, so the more the merrier?  We could be each others wingwomen! She could say to Imaginary Potential BFF “Have you met Rachel?” And we’d all three live happily ever after in Bestieville.

Needless to say I didn’t approach anyone. No new prospects jumped out at me, and I thought it would be weird to say to my semi-new friend “she looks good, I’m going to introduce myself.” And, who am I kidding, I haven’t yet worked up the nerve for a total “Come here often?” move. Without some connection—we’re both writers, we’re both new in town, we’re both in curly hair hell—I don’t know how to approach someone new. I’m a girl who’s been with her husband since freshman year of college. I’m not well-versed in the art of the pickup. But that doesn’t means it won’t happen. Never say never.

17 Comments

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17 responses to “The Pick-Up Artist

  1. Rachel, you’re hilarious. I definitely think it’s okay to, um, eye other prospects, as long as you’re willing to include the friend you’re with in the fun. As you pointed out, maybe you and she BOTH can get a mythical BFF out of the deal. And that’s good for everyone!

    (Or maybe that’s overly optimistic, and a friend would potentially feel like you’re only offering a half-hearted effort. Ah! It’s so complicated, depending on who you’re with.)

  2. To your point, friendship isn’t romance. You can have multiple friends, but you really shouldn’t have more than one boyfriend/fiance/husband, etc. I had a couple guys try to pick me up while on my first date with my boyfriend, and I told them to take a hike because the date was going so well. But if I had been on a friend date, I would’ve invited them to join us for sure. And if you’re out with someone that’s trying to meet new friends too, why not try to pick up more friends? Although I guess this would work better in some settings than others, like if you two were taking a class together.

    I would love to know what happens if you ever did work up to picking up a friend like that. “Come here often?” might be absolutely hilarious to the right potential BFF.

  3. Annie

    Love your blog. It reminds me that even though I live in a place with a lot of great friends I can always be searching for new ones. However I do remember starting a new job and after a few weeks of working with a girl that seemed pretty cool I suggested we hang out sometime. It was just as awkward as asking a guy out! And when she responded “Why?” I gave up. I’m much better at being asked than doing the asking, but maybe one day I’ll get the courage to do the asking again.

  4. This post reminds me of my first week at college. A group of us from my dorm had become fast friends. We were sitting in the dining hall at lunch one day when I saw her. The girl I presumed would be the ONLY other Jewish girl on that southern campus of a state university. So, I totally broke from the group, went up and introduced myself and invited her to our table. Though we never became best friends, we remained really good friends throughout college and still keep in touch to this day. To your point, you really don’t ever know when a random chance meeting is your opportunity to make a new friend!

  5. Erin

    Hey,
    I can imagine how this would be if you were on a “friend date” but what if you were out with your boyfriend/husband/significant other? I have gone to several events with my boyfriend (like wine tasting or art galleries etc.) and have been standing next to a woman that I may talk with for a brief second or a moment longer, but each time I’m afraid to leave him alone in the corner so I can make a new friend. Of course we have been on the lookout for “couple friends” but I do feel like it’s easier for me to talk to the woman first and then if she’s dating someone then it makes it all the better. So what do you think? If you are in a relationship and out with your partner is it ok to try to make a potential new friend?

    • Hi Erin! I think ABSOLUTELY it is ok. To start, make sure he knows that you are on the lookout for new friends. My husband knows (obviously) so he’s usually the one encouraging me to “just go talk to her.” The truth is, I think it’s better for both of you if you have each have the individual friends you need — then you won’t need to go to him for everything, which can really wear on a relationship, I think. So you’ll both be happier. And he can keep busy in the corner or looking at art if it’s for the sake of your happiness. So, in sum, yes. If you’re out with a guy you’re comfortable with (it would be weird if it were like a first date, right?) I think it is ok and encouraged to “pick up” new friends.

  6. Jen

    Wish my husband would give me lessons on friend-making…he seems to make new ones everywhere we go with the ease of an eight-year-old. I think it’s because he’s a car and motorcycle enthusiast, which is an obvious and easy icebreaker for anyone. Lengthy discussions seem to unfold themselves. I guess for us gals, our interests are not always so overt. I mean, we can compliment a potential BFF on her fabulous taste in clothing, for example, but what do we say after that couldn’t be misconstrued as a come-on?

  7. Rachel — this post made me think of the age-old ‘can you judge a book by its cover?’ question.

    How would you know your future BFF if you saw her?

    Maybe you’ve already touched on this in previous posts — if not, perhaps food for thought! xo

    • You’re right, of course. But I can’t help seeing someone and thinking “ooh, she’s reading a book I loved” or “She’s about my age and has the same shoes as me..” and thinking just maybe she’s the one. But again, who knows. I could have ridden the elevator with her just the other day and never know unless I start introducing myself to everyone I meet. A tall order.

      • Ha. Tall order for sure. I bet there’s research on how friends become friends, how much is based on situation, background, appearance, etc. Would be interesting to know, right?

  8. Rachel,
    You are definitely on to something here. There is a great article in this month’s ELLE magazine about how friendships can revolutionize your life! The minute I read it, I thought of you. Check it out. It’s by Rachael Combe and it’s on page 220 of the May issue.
    -Jocelyn
    http://www.dailymoxie.com

  9. I have been on a few dates with ‘wandering eye’ men. Worst feeling in the world. It’s definitely different when you are with girlfriends, though. I think alot of people watching happens.

    I’d love to hear how the use of ‘come here often?’ works for you! I had never thought about how one would go about looking for female friendships… It’s like need a whole new set of pick-up lines!!

  10. Ellen

    I was JUST thinking about how dating and friendship can be so similar. (So don’t think I’m a total copycat if I write about it soon😉 I feel like I’m in the “talking” stage with so many people…I have lots of friends to have fun (read: PARTY) with, but I’m always wondering when we’re going to take it to the next level! Like, maybe a girl movie date? Is that too much to ask?!

    http://www.firednfabulous.blogspot.com/

  11. The art of the pickup. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if there were a course for this art? I think so. I think the skill of wooing strangers is critical in life. I too wish I had a little bit more courage when it comes to “picking up” (friends and toys!) I can’t tell you how many times I have been in a Starbucks writing and have wanted to say hello to a fellow writer at another table. Or at the playground and have wanted to chat up another young mom.

    I have been a bit unplugged recently, but I am thrilled to be back here at your fantastic baby blog. Seems like you amassed quite the readership while I was tending to the craziness of my life. Bravo🙂

  12. Pingback: The L Word « MWF Seeking BFF

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