An Unlikely Friend-Search Success Story

Last night I went to dinner with one of my most unlikely friends to come out this search. Long after the meal was over, I found myself wondering how exactly this relationship took off, because on the surface it doesn’t make good sense.

I was looking for someone near me in Chicago to grab a last minute lunch with. She lives in LA.

My goal was to meet people for face-to-face girl-dates. She and I met on the Internet.

As I mentioned last week, I’m always intrigued by the unlikely stories of how friends connect, so it’s my turn. Here goes.

The backstory: When I started this blog, I tried to build a readership by commenting on other blogs that might have a similar audience. I found Lauren’s blog through that Internet vortex—you know when you click on something that leads you to something that leads you to something else, and suddenly you’re watching cats ride broomsticks in clown costumes and have no idea how you got there.

Lauren and I commented back and forth on each other’s blogs for a bit and I wrote a short guest post for hers. When I saw that she and a fellow blogger had a Gchat “study date” to ensure they both got work done one afternoon, I asked if she’d do the same with me. I had deadlines to meet and needed someone to keep me on track. We chatted on gchat that day, learning more about each other during study breaks.

When Lauren had a project she needed an objective opinion on, she asked me to help out since  I’d recently done similar work. We chatted back and forth for a bit more as I tried to help her out.

Then she came to Chicago for business. We met at Starbucks, though I only drank water because I was on a cleanse (and was subsequently terrified she’d think I was crazy). Lauren was more understanding and nonjudgmental of my weird food restrictions than I might have been if the tables were turned.

During that face-to-face coffee/water run, we clicked. There were no moments of awkward silence or racking your brain for something else to say. The relationship felt natural and easy, as good friendships should.

A few months later, when I needed some writerly advice of my own, I went to Lauren. She’d offered to lend a hand when we met the first time, so I figured I’d take her up on it. We’ve become each other’s objective eyes. As a writer, that’s a pretty important person to have.

I was in LA for work this weekend so I took Lauren out to dinner as a thank you for her help. It was our second in-person meeting, and just as friendship fairytale as the first.

It’s kind of amazing. Lauren and I are both writers, but we write such different stuff that we learn a lot from each other. We’re at the same stage in our writing careers, so we can empathize and trade stories. And on a personal level, somehow we had one of those connections where we felt at ease opening up to the other, despite having only officially “met” twice.

I know, it sounds like I’m writing about a romance. I might as well be, as I’m totally smitten with my new friend. If she didn’t live across the country from me, perhaps this search would be over! If men have bromances, maybe Lauren and I have what my friend once called a “shelationship.” (Thoughts on this term? I heard another option recently—sounds like “bromance,” but maybe too offensive to include here…..)

Another long-distance friend is not what I was looking for when I launched my BFF search, but you never know what can happen. I can’t believe that one of my new favorite people is someone I met online.

Lesson: You never know where your next pal will come from. (Side note lesson: Charlie Sheen is wacko. Not related to my search but a lesson nonetheless.)

Oh, and Another Lesson: Be open to the friends who don’t fill your qualifications. If  I’d written  Lauren off for living in California, this post wouldn’t have been. You just never know.

Where’s the most unlikely place you’ve ever made a friend?

9 Comments

Filed under The Search

9 responses to “An Unlikely Friend-Search Success Story

  1. Rema

    1.5 Years ago I had just boarded a plane from Detroit to Philly and this girl got on at the very last minute… chatting up on her cell phone in arabic and of course, sat next to me. She wouldn’t hang up until the flight attendant made her but I understood everything she said! It was a great conversation to eavesdrop on since she was gossiping about the wedding she was at the night before.
    I snuck in a “who’s wedding was it?” and although she was a little mortified… we ended up chatting the rest of the way (and sharing the labne sandwich my mom made me for the plane). We ended up hanging out a few times in Philly and then she moved back to Jordan. i plan to visit her one day there and we still keep in touch over bbm.

  2. I met one of my best friends at the airport. Technically we met in a bar a couple weeks before, but we didn’t really hit it off, we were just enjoying happy hour with the same crowd. But when we found ourselves on the same flight to Detroit and realized we were both recent transplants, we were on the phone for at least an hour every day after that.

    Also, agreed on Charlie Sheen. Wack. O.

  3. That’s a great story! I’ve “met” a lot of really cool gals as a result of blogging, and I’m sure we’d be BFFs if we lived in the same city too. And actually, I had only met my co-blogger a few times before we started writing together – she went to college with my boyfriend, and we discovered that we had similar interests and decided to start blogging together. She lives in NY and I live in Chicago, but I’d consider her one of my closest friends because we keep in touch pretty much everyday, which isn’t something I can say for even some of my oldest, best friends.

  4. It’s so nice when you actually:
    1. meet someone from the internet and they aren’t scary at all
    2. make a friend out of the whole experience
    Like yourself, I moved to the big city of Toronto and didn’t know anyone, but here is how I met one of my closest friends (bare with me, because it’s kind of complicated).
    I went to university with a girl named “JK”, she had just moved to Toronto and introduced me to a friend she made at her graduate program. This friend from the graduate program, we’ll call her “JC”, brought a friend out one night, “PC” and “PC” and I met and have been super close ever since… she’s become a friend, a confidant and most importantly someone I can call up and say let’s go see the newest Colin Firth movie and drool together!🙂

  5. Husband

    Wait why are we all haiting on Charlie Sheen? I’m annoyed all the time that people pretend like I’m not special, like I’m not a freaking rock star from Mars. Stop pretending people.

  6. Unconventional BFF

    My unconventional BFF story:

    I moved to New York for graduate school (with my long-term boyfriend in tow), and settled into a life of long weeks of internships and jobs, followed by night classes and evenings/weekends spent at the library. Every free minute I had was spent with my live-in boyfriend, which left me very little time to foster new friendships. It was great having a boyfriend, but I missed the female friendships that I left behind with my move.

    After nearly four years together (two in NYC), I ultimately realized that the relationship was no longer working and ended the relationship, moved out, and started my new single life in NYC. I’d just finished grad school and was excited by all of the free time I now had. After some time as a single gal, I decided to join match.com to start dating again.

    Online dating was a little overwhelming for me, so I decided to call off the whole process for a moment, but when checking my inbox I was surprised to see a photo of a cute girl in between all of the boys. Her message was hilarious and awesome, and was immediately proceeded by a panicked follow up message that said, “oh sh*t, I wasn’t paying attention so I apparently didn’t even notice that you were interested in men. I’m so embarrassed. Many apologies. Best of luck”.

    I wrote her back letting her know that I was indeed interested in dudes, but that she sounded like an awesome person with whom I would get along well, and that we should probably be friends. After some friendly emails we met for margaritas, and an amazing friendship was born. It has been almost a year now, and she has been one of my best friends in the city ever since we met. I wouldn’t necessarily advocate for venturing out to online dating sites in search of new BFFs, as I imagine my experience was quite fortuitous, but I will be forever grateful to the site for being the unintended matchmaker to one of my new best friends.

  7. Melonie

    I met my BFF because we bought her house. We bonded during the home inspection. She had 2 boys under 2 and it was difficult for her to leave home for the 4 hours it would take. As it turns out, she was only moving to the street right behind us which made it easy to stay in touch. It’s 9 years later and I don’t know what I would do without her! Bonus – our boys are best friends too!!

  8. Your post and all of the comments are really wonderful stories. I don’t have any odd stories like that. Most of my friends I met at work or from the neighborhood. oh well🙂

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