Passing the Friending Torch

Do any of you listen to the podcast How To Do Everything? It’s a really fun NPR show hosted by two Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me… producers, Ian Chillag and Mike Danforth. It’s fairly new, and I didn’t know about it myself until about a week ago. The premise is true to the title. The hosts get experts to weigh in on how to do everything: how to make fake snow, how to avoid getting hit by a taxi and, soon, how to make friends.

So here’s an amazing story. (Or, amazing to me as I love a good coincidence.) A week ago, a listener called in to How To Do Everything because she, get this, just moved to Chicago and doesn’t know how to make new friends. And she’s newly married. And she’s from New York.

No, it wasn’t me. It was a girl named Kelly. She and her husband Nate are in their late 20s. She doesn’t have a job yet, Nate works nights and she isn’t sure how to find ladies to hang with. As she told Ian and Mike, she’s met cool girls out at bars a few times, but it’s hard and awkward to actually say, “Can I have your number?”

To solve Kelly’s problem, How To Do Everything decided to throw a party. A “Meet Nate and Kelly Party.” They invited their listeners to a bar, and introduced everyone to the couple of the hour.

Especially cool was that the party was on Tuesday night, the same day that MWF Seeking BFF came out. After my book celebration dinner/Hanukkah gift exchange with my family, I headed over. Because what better way to celebrate a book about how to make friends than a party to help someone make friends?

Kelly was great. We chatted for a while, laughed about our similarities and how awkward friend-making is, and I put my name and email on the “Be Kelly’s Friend” sign-up sheet that the HWTDE hosts provided. As party guests left (some stumbling due to shots of Malort–has anyone ever tried Malort? I learned the hard way that it’s the single most disgusting drink of all time), they hugged Kelly good-bye. When I left, she said “So, it’s cool if I, like, email you maybe?” And I, having been Kelly not so long ago, responded with a resounding: “YES! Please do! We should totally get together!” If I don’t hear from her this week, I’m going to track her down myself. She might still be new to this strange mission and feel embarrassed about emailing. Though she shouldn’t. (There’s also the possibility, if she doesn’t reach out to me, that she just didn’t like me, but I’m ignoring that option for now.)

That my book about friending came out the same day as her make-new-friends party seems like a bizarre coincidence. It felt as if I was passing the friend-quest torch. Like a friendship graduation. One girl’s mission ends as another one’s begins.

It’s possible I’m assigning too much weight to this. I realize that.

I love the idea of throwing a party for someone new in town and calling it what it is: a Meet The New Kids party. I want to throw one for someone next year. Add it to my resolutions.

Oh! And I’m on the latest How To Do Everything podcast giving advice on how to make new friends to those listeners who don’t live in Chicago or couldn’t attend Tuesday’s shindig.

Does anyone else think the timing of the Rachel-Kelly meeting was some weird alignment of the universe situation? This definitely felt like a pay it forward moment. Also, what do you think of a Meet The New Kids party? Awesome because we call it what it is, or too uncomfortable for the new kids themselves?

MWF Seeking BFF is in stores now! If your book club is interested in reading the book and wants to chat, I’d love to Skype with you. Just email me to set it up. Or, if you are looking for materials like reading questions, let me know and I’ll get them to you ASAP. They should be available online soon, too.


Filed under The Search

16 responses to “Passing the Friending Torch

  1. Callie

    Love this! What a great coincidence. You have so much knowledge to give on this subject and you found the perfect recipient!

  2. Oh how cool is that! Maybe you can start a small business where you throw parties for people who are new to town to meet people and make friends 🙂

  3. Ana

    Agree with Anne, that would be awesome…you’d be a professional “friend-match-maker”. To answer your question, I would totally GO to a party like this to meet people new to town. However, I’d feel uncomfortable being the guest of honor—I’d be too worried about the potential for rejection—what if no one signed up to be my friend after meeting me? How MORTIFYING!

  4. That is truly amazing! If that wasn’t passing-the-torch moment I don’t know what is!

  5. And yes, Malort is the most disgusting substance on earth– I am fairly certain it could remove warts or strip paint!

  6. Ashley

    That is such a great way for you to celebrate your book being published! And I love that you’re helping others with something you know so much about. Keep it going!

  7. There’s no such thing as coincidence. This is definitely KISMET.
    …and then there were two. Good luck on air.

  8. christine84

    I bought your book on friday and finished it today. Loved it! It really motivated me to try and reach out to people that you think you might connect with. Thanks!

    • Thanks so much for reading MWF Seeking BFF, Christine. I’m so thrilled you enjoyed it! And to hear it motivated you to reach out to potential friends is the best. Thank you! Happy holidays!

  9. I believe there are no coincidences. You two were destined to meet, and to do so in such a fun way! Congrats on another new friend!

  10. Jenn Geisler

    I just finished your book and as a 60 year old newly retired corporate workaholic who really needs more girlfriends for fun, I thought your ideas for making new frieinds and taking chances with invitations were terrific! Your book has already prompted me to issue two invitations I probably wouldn’t have taken a chance on just a month ago. I’ve looked into, but they are not yet active in my city. any suggestions for finding a friend broker like you used in Chicago? My 20 something daughter could really use some help getting started on new friendships…she works at home, so it’s hard to find new people to do things with. Thanks!

    • I’m so thrilled you liked the book, Jenn! Thank you for reading, and I’m so thrilled that MWF Seeking BFF inspired you do reach out to some new friends. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard of many friend brokers in other cities. I got pretty lucky with Joe Drake. However, what made him so great was that he was a connector–he had met and befriended lots of people in lots of different Chicago circles. Perhaps you or someone you know knows a person like that in your daughter’s city? I have found that people who are natural connectors really enjoy matching people with potential friends. They get satisfaction from making those connections. So maybe introduce that person to your daughter… and the connector will take it from there?

      Good luck!

  11. Shannon

    I just discovered your book yesterday on Amazon and got a sample. I then just Googled MWF seeks BFF and then discovered your blog. I will have to take the time to read more and determine how to make friends. I have none actually that are my own friends. I am married, working on a Masters degree and have a great career. I am missing the one thing that I need-a friend of my own. I had no idea that other women had the same issue. Thank you for your blog and book and to make me not feel like there is something wrong with me.

  12. I’m also new to Chicago from New York and struggling to make friends. I really wish I’d known about Kelly’s party. I think it would be amazing if you threw a Make New Friends party. I’ve often wished there was speed-dating for new girlfriends.

  13. I realize this post is a bit old… but I have 2 things to say… I know that if I met you and we had the… “so can I email you sometime” conversation, I might be a bit intimidated to email you actually… a published author… with many friends by now… sometimes it’s scary to be comfortable with people that in some ways feel so far away from where you are. Secondly, I think an anniversary getting to know you party in someone’s honor would be a great way to celebrate your accomplishment and pay it forward.

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