The Curse of Publicly Searching…

You know what can make it hard to find new friends? Writing a blog about how you have no friends.

This blog has been a blessing and a curse. It has helped me forge some great new friendships. But it also may have scared off some potential new BFFs.

Perhaps it’s the fear that their lives will be broadcast on the Internet (one I understand completely, which is why I try not to blog about specific people without their approval). Or maybe it’s that they read the blog after meeting me and think, what’s wrong with her that she needs to go online to find friends?

Just the other night, I was talking to a classmate who has read some of my posts. “What’s with the whole BFF thing, anyway?” she asked.

I had to explain that I have friends, lots of them. Now I even have plenty of them in my zip code. It’s just that I don’t have the local, go-to, last-minute-phone-call, let’s-recap-last-night friend.

She totally understood and told me that her BFF, one who fits that description exactly, lives in Boston. But it can be an awkward conversation to have. It’s like explaining to a first date all the reasons you are looking for a husband. Which makes you a crazy lady who gets cut round one from The Bachelor.

When I first started writing this blog, I planned to keep it from potential friends. I figured the public search would come off as a bit aggressive and I didn’t want anyone to think I was more interested in them as a “project” than a friend. But that quickly became impossible. I post my blog on my Facebook page for one thing, so hiding it from new friends would mean not accepting requests or blocking them from my wall, and all that shadiness is not really my style. Also, after writing five days a week for seven months, this blog has become a pretty big part of my life. To pretend it doesn’t exist would be a fairly dishonest beginning to a new relationship.

I don’t know for sure that the blog has turned some friends off, but it’s the only reason I can think of for the budding friendships that have vanished into thin air.

For now, I’ve decided there’s nothing I can do about it. I write a blog about friendship, and if that’s a dealbreaker for some people, so be it. But still, it kinda sucks, right?

Have you ever had anything—projects, relationships—that you’ve tried to keep from new friends? Would a blog like this make you wary of a new pal? I’m not going to stop writing it or anything, just curious…

20 Comments

Filed under The Search

20 responses to “The Curse of Publicly Searching…

  1. Tricia

    If you find that special someone will you let blog readers know you found her? Even anonymously, knowing you are the object of the piece (let alone an entire…months search) would either be flattering or frightening. So mlght very well be a turn off.

  2. Ana

    I can see people (particularly if they aren’t familiar with blogs in general) being turned off by the idea, and thinking that you may be posting intimate details for the world to read. So you may well turn off some people. I would venture to say that those people weren’t “the one”, though. Its like the old adage “if they don’t like you for who you are, they weren’t truly your friends” (or something to that effect). As long as you are honest about what you are writing about, not secretive, and do not reveal details without permission, you aren’t doing anything weird or wrong. In fact, the majority of your posts are more about general concepts & new research about friendship, not so much a day by day account of your search.

  3. I know how you feel. Most of my friends and family know about my blog but I have not outed myself at work. I have had a few people seem to look at me as one of “those crazy bloggers.” I don’t think your blog is scaring off potential BFFs because if your blog is a part of your life, then those people are not really potential BFFs for you. 🙂 Hang in there. “If you build it, they will come.”

  4. Just for the record, I never saw this blog as being written “by that girl who has no friends.” I did, however, understand your frustration with the difficulty of making deep, meaningful friendships later in life.

    Kinda funny that it skeebs some people out. Makes me wonder what they have to hide🙂

  5. Like Ann, I can understand people getting nervous if they think you’re posting personal details – but once they actually read your blog, I don’t think it should scare anyone away. On the contrary, wouldn’t it be cool to say, “Hey, I’m now the BFF of that girl with the enormously popular blog about seeking a BFF!”

    Maybe that’s just me. But anyway, I don’t think a real BFF-type – one who truly gets you – would be put off by your blog at all.

  6. No, your blog would totally not put me off being your friend — though, if I asked you to please not post about me, even anonymously, I would want you to respect that. But then, I’m sort of an “early adopter” when it comes to things like personal blogs and meeting people online. I’ve met people who think both concepts are strange — and, you know what, those are probably not people you have enough in common with to become truly close friends!

  7. I wonder if maybe it’s about fear of risk-taking, rather than the blog itself? Some people are very wary of going outside their comfort zone, and the idea that you’re putting yourself out there in such a way (as opposed to the idea that you must be a friendless loser) could make them uncomfortable. It is kind of a bummer, but on the other hand it might be a useful way of weeding out people that wouldn’t turn out to be a good fit anyway.

  8. I think that the prominence and social acceptability of online dating has made it seem less and less odd or “wrong” that people would go online to find other people to connect with. But just like dating, some people are okay with using the internet for that, and some obviously aren’t.

    I would be friends with you regardless of your blog, but then I used online dating to find my boyfriend and I have 3 blogs myself so I’m cool with technology🙂

  9. I’ve been blogging for three and a half years … I’ve always been open about my blog … and have made some interesting observations over the years of people who don’t blog. They don’t get blogging. I get a very similar reaction to the responses I got when I first started online dating (waaaaay before online dating was socially cool). When people haven’t tried it, they really don’t understand the details of why it’s interesting. They don’t understand the connections you make online are real. They don’t understand the value of having a writing outlet. And all that’s foreign about blogging comes out in their reaction, which can be interpreted as negative. I kind of shrug my shoulders to it. If you are open to something new, even if it’s not for you, great. If not, I think it’s your loss … but, it’s not going to stop me from doing it.

  10. San

    I am definitely “guilty” of hiding my blog from some people… I mean, my blog is public, so theoretically they could find it, but I don’t show up on Google Reader and unless you know what my URL is,there is a chance you won’t find me. I don’t have my blog linked on FB for that very reason… not, because I think my blog is something to hide, but a) I don’t want people from back home snoop around in my life and b) some people just don’t get blogging and won’t even listen to your reasons of why you do it.

    In the end, it’s their loss and I think it’s great that you’re so open about it.

  11. Fanfan

    I am not sure it sucks! The ones who got turned off are not worth keeping in a long run, anyway. It is better to turn them off now than losing them after investing in them emotionally after 1~2 yrs, right?

    I think what you blog doesn’t mean you are desperate at all. On the other hand, it means you are picky, so you don’t settle down for superficial friendships.

  12. Lorrie Paige

    Funny for me, even though people I know personally know I have a blog, only people who I don’t know personally reads it (that seems to be the case anyway). So I think it’s a non-issue for me right now.

    The two people I met who I plan to go on a mini hike with in about a week don’t know I’m writing about friendship and my search for friends–I say “friends” because I have none. Kitchen Witch, I’m one of those “by that girl who has no friends”! But my definition of friends differs greatly from most and from Rachel’s I think.

    People would say the two girls I met at my meditation class and plan to hang out with at the park, that I’ve talked to a couple times are now my “new friends”. But I only think of them as acquaintances for now. I have many acquaintances but really no friends, by my definition. If these two women stay in my life, eventually my blog will come up in conversation–maybe as we hike in the park coming up soon. I suppose they may feel funny about it and wonder something MUST be wrong with me since I don’t have friends! But at this point in my life, I really don’t care. I say what I want when I feel it’s right.

    Rachel, I don’t think the blog per se would be a real issue, but maybe turning it into a book would be. A potential BFF could say you’re looking to profit by having a booking deal with a publisher at the expense of the friendship, making the relationship seem less sincere and more about financial gain. And they may think after the book is published, will that friendship still hold up?

    I personally think you are a cool person and the blog and book wouldn’t deter me wanting to be a friend of yours but I suspect many others wouldn’t feel this way.

  13. Suzannah

    There maybe a chance that certain ladies are intimidated by the confidence or the commitment of the idea of hunting for a new Bff…there is a certain boldness about publicly looking for an intimate relationship (which I definately consider a Bff)…or a fear of rejection, the pressure to fit the bill maybe overwhelming to some ladies….I do not feel it is related to the blog. I am an avid reader of blogs, but have no interest in writing one….but feel the idea is not that foreign to most of society anymore.
    TGIF:-)…

  14. Allison

    I was a little surprised at how quickly your blog crept onto the “Must Read” list in my reader –at first I thought the topic would seem a little too gimmicky, but both your writing style and the fact that I totally, completely, 100% identify with your search drew me in.

    And I think that’s an important component of that local BFF — don’t you want to find someone who’s searching (even if they don’t say it as actively as you) for the same thing, the same kind of connection with someone? I’ve been in the situation where I would call a friend my BFF, but she might not say the same thing about me. And finding a bunch of friends like that isn’t really your point, right?

  15. I don’t have an answer to the questions you actually asked, but I did want to touch on this:

    “I don’t know for sure that the blog has turned some friends off, but it’s the only reason I can think of for the budding friendships that have vanished into thin air.”

    People. Are. Flaky. It *might* be because of the blog, but more likely, it’s because they just flaked out. I mean, if you didn’t have the blog and they vanished into thin air, you’d have to blame it on something else. Why not just blame it on them, regardless of the blog?😉

  16. Funny story: I was looking for a title for my blog post on friends and conflict. I wanted to do some spin on “MWF seeks…” and I found your blog! Right now I live way out in the burbs😦 but we are looking to move closer to the city. I am also looking for a BFF to watch Glee with! Read my post here: http://thesarcasticsoprano.blogspot.com/2010/10/mwf-seeking-bff.html

  17. There are more parts of a person than his or her blog. If the “friend” can’t understand that, she is upset about her own insecurities. Blog on Rachel – I’ve always found your content interesting, balanced and fun – so current and potential friends should have nothing to worry about.

  18. I’ve thought about that too since I blog about the guys that I date. But then I realized that anyone who is really into you, like a boyfriend or BFF, would love your blog because they would love your wit and your insight.

  19. I’m arriving late to this blog post commenting section. That being said, I’m glad I did because of all the diverse and open opinions on this blog post. It kind of opened my eyes some to the positives and not just the negatives about being possibly referred to in someones’ blog.

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