Ask and You Shall Receive…

Today is my turn to blog for The Month of Friendship. For those of you who are new to my search, let me give you the Twitter-ized version:

After two years of waiting for a local BFF to emerge in my new hometown of Chicago, I’ve decided to go out there and find her.

On Tuesday, I was reminded of exactly why I’ve been forcing myself to ask out potential friends, despite how desperate it can sometimes feel. I was at my favorite boutique, just a block away from my apartment, looking for a dress to wear to an upcoming rehearsal dinner. Well, that and I’ve been trying to befriend the manager since I moved here.

We’ve become friendly enough in the time that I’ve been frequenting her store. The weekend I went wedding dress shopping, I showed her a picture of my potential gown for an “objective” opinion. She’s told me about planning her sister’s bridal shower. She knows what clothes work best on my body and can perhaps get me a discount on said outfits. She’d most certainly fill my fashionable BFF opening.

For a while, before I threw caution to the wind and started asking every potential BFF to dinner, I was too embarrassed to invite her to hang out. What would I say? “Hello I have no friends! Will you take pity on me?” Uh, no thanks.

But now that I’ve been at this a while, I’ve gotten more comfortable in the art of the asking. Like anything, it gets exponentially easier with practice. And the breezier you are (Remember Monica on Richard’s answering machine? “I’m breezy!” I channel this often…) the less awkward the exchange. I promise!

So I went into the store in the middle of the day on Tuesday, and Manager and I were the only people there. After trying on a few dresses, I bought an adorable little black number.

“So do you work every Tuesday?” I asked her at the register.

“Yup.”

“I was wondering… I work from home on Mondays and Tuesdays, and it can get really quiet and isolating. Would you want to get lunch sometime? It’d be nice to get out of the house for a little.”

Manager was so excited. “I’d love to! I really would.” She went on to tell me that she always meets really great people at the store, but she feels like she has to wait for the other person to make the move. “Otherwise, you could be like ‘why’s the salesgirl asking me to lunch?’ It’s unprofessional.”

This had never occurred to me. She’s all 7-feet-tall and impossibly thin and pretty. The idea that maybe she wanted to be my friend too, that maybe something was holding her back never crossed my mind.

So we exchanged numbers and we’re going to have lunch. It could maybe even become a weekly-ish affair. I have a good feeling about this one.

The small-but-significant exchange was an important reminder of why, when we meet someone with BFF potential, we should just go for it. Everyone wants pals. We’re constantly worried that people will think we’re weird for making the first overture toward friendship, but more often than not the other person is flattered. Thrilled, even.

And there could be a million reasons why she hasn’t tried befriending you. Once Manager explained it to me, it made perfect sense that she’d have professional concerns about trying to befriend a customer. But I never would have thought of it on my own.

So this month, why not resolve to finally say something to the would-be friend you’ve been eyeing in yoga class/the grocery store/the office. What’s the worst that could happen? No, seriously, what?

19 Comments

Filed under Pickup Lines, The Search

19 responses to “Ask and You Shall Receive…

  1. I love this story of yours, because I think it’s something we’ve all felt at one time or another. I remember years ago when I finally realized that just because I adore my hair stylist in the salon doesn’t mean I can’t carry that friendship over to the real world. Once I made that realization, a new world opened its doors to me. Since then, I’ve also befriended my wedding make-up artist and photographer, among others. Next up? There’s a couple who are attending childbirth class with us … they definitely have friend potential … bonus, our kids will only be a couple months apart!

  2. That’s so great Rachel! Isn’t it funny how you always assume the other person won’t want to hang out with you…so silly. Especially when they are so excited about after you make a move! I recently reached out to a local blogger I admire and she invited me to a weekly knitting group and even offered to teach me to knit if I didn’t know how. I’m sooo excited! I’ll let you know how it goes…

    XO
    Lenore

  3. Another thought-provoking and timely post. It rings so true! I wonder how many friend opportunities have been missed by me and others simply because we’re too insecure to make the first move! I’m making a resolution to step out of my comfort zone at least once during the month of September and initiate a get-together with someone new.

  4. I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks now after a bloggy friend pointed it out to me on a post where I was complaining about my lack of a BFF. Anyway, since then I’ve tried to do exactly what you’re suggesting, let go of my fears and just ask. So I set up a playdate between my son and one of his friends – but, get this, instead of the mom (a stay at home mom) hanging out with us, it was the nanny!! Back to the drawing board there😉

  5. Katie

    I absolutely LOVE this post! It’s so poignant and true. Way to go making the first move AND trusting your gut on this one. Bravo! Now maybe I’ll be more “gutsy” to do this myself😉

  6. Oh, I love this! So much good happens when we step outside of ourselves and take a chance, right? Just the inspiration I needed.

  7. My boyfriend tells me that the worst that could happen is that the person could say, “No. I don’t want to be your friend.”
    Like that’s no big deal.
    In my mind, that really is the absolute worst thing I can imagine.

    My question for you is, if you become friends, will you tell her about this blog? Will you be embarrassed if she goes through the entries and reads about herself?

    • Hi Cait,

      I guess that is the worst that can happen, though I don’t think anyone really would say those words out loud. They would probably either 1) say sure, then never answer my calls/emails or 2)explain whatever reason they have for not having time/wanting to be friends. Both of those I could handle. Because we don’t have an actual relationship yet, I dont think I’d feel dumped. And if she did really say that out loud, I feel like it would be such an absurd thing to say that it might be funnier than hurtful. But, let me say that in the past 8 months I have done a lot of this asking out and every time I’ve asked someone out in that fashion, even when I didn’t expect them to, they’ve said yes.

      As to telling her about the blog, I assume if we become friends she will find out about it eventually. Most of my new friends have. I feel like if she goes back and reads about herself (as, also, some of my new friends have) she would be flattered! I’m the silly type who would be willing to say “OMG I totally wrote about having a girl crush on you I’m such a nerd!” and play it off that way. Hopefully, she’d be ok with that… If not, well then I will write a blog post about getting dumped by my friend!

      But I generally try not to write anything personal on this blog about people I have become friends with without their permission…

      • Fanfan

        I guess as long as we don’t automatically assume it is our fault when people reject us(or saying “ok” but actually having no intention to really hang out), it won’t be that bad.

  8. Elizabeth

    So glad for you!!

  9. Fanfan

    Very happy for you, indeed.
    Can’t wait to find out what happens next!

  10. Suzannah

    ok here is an interesting thought, cuz as ladies many of us do this….we say “o yes i am flattered! but busy doing something else”….so if she had acted excited but given an excuse why she wss unavaible, how many times do you ask again?…or do you wait and see if she contacts you?..

    • Fanfan

      It definitely happened to me before!
      I think you can try to ask her to do different things than the first time to see if she is really interested to hang out. Maybe she wants to hang out with you, but she didn’t like the activity you planned the first time.
      And, sometimes, when people make new friends, they are really excited, so they commit to do something they can’t(for example, they realize they are too busy later).
      From my experiences, a lot of people sound and act nice but they don’t really want to make the effort to spend time with you, whereas there are people who are both nice and willing to make the effort. You have to ask different people.
      My aunt used to tell me that not everyone is very good at expressing how much he/she likes you. There may be some people who don’t really know how to show their excitement, but who truly want to be your friends(Haven’t figured out how to spot these people yet).
      Don’t put your eggs in one basket!
      Best wishes!!

    • For me, if she acted excited but was unavailable (and I truly believe that she was both of those things), I would probably try once or twice more. At that point I usually say some variation of “Just let me know when your schedule clears up. Mine is pretty wide open, so we can get something on the books when it’s easier for you.” At that point, I let the ball be in her court. Either she wants to get together and follows up when it works for her, or I move on to the next one!

  11. Rachel: Loved reading this. It is so funny the assumptions we make about others. I am glad you asked her to lunch. I thought you handled this perfectly. Very inspiring!

  12. Pingback: Walking Can Help You Make Friends | MWF Seeking BFF

  13. Pingback: What I’ve Learned From Friending So Far… | MWF Seeking BFF

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