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?