Friend Dating Your Friends

Yesterday I had a wonderful reading in San Francisco. (Thanks to all of you in SF who skipped the Super Bowl to attend!) One of the most fun parts of the event was that Shasta Nelson of co-sponsored the affair and hosted a mini-speed friending afterwards.

A quick background: Speed-friending is just like speed-dating. Women are separated into groups of three, and the trios are arranged in a circle around the room. The host asks a question and each person in your threesome gets two minutes to share her answer. After each person has had a chance to share, and you all get to know each other a bit, everybody rotates. One person in the group moves to the trio to the right, one to the left, and one stays put. Suddenly, you’re in new group of three. Ideally, you keep doing this until everyone has met everyone, though last night we only did three rounds.

It was a big hit. Long after the official friending had ended, women were hanging around, chatting and exchanging contact information. There were women still in college and women in their late 60s. My fingers are crossed that some real friendships come from it.

I don’t have a huge social network in San Francisco, but I do have three great friends who attended the reading. As speed-friending began, I found myself in a trio with one of my oldest college besties. For the first round, we were each asked to talk for two minutes about one of our earliest best friends. My college pal told a story about a girl who grew up in her neighborhood. She explained why she liked this friend so much when they were little, and shared some memories from the old days. She also mentioned, as part of an anecdote, that she used to have a super-cool Barbie skateboard. Which is obviously awesome.

What was especially interesting was that I didn’t know any of this. I’d never heard of the friend my bestie was talking about. I had no idea she had a Barbie skateboard, or any skateboard, ever. She and I were college roommates for three years and somehow I missed this information entirely.

Afterwards, I told my pal: “I liked speed-friending you. I thought I knew all of your stories and I never even knew you had a Barbie skateboard!” With old friends, we often think we know everything there is, so we don’t ask the questions that we might of someone we just met. I’d probably never ask one of my best friends to tell me about a pal from childhood because I’d figure I knew all the stories already .

Clearly I’d be wrong.

Just as you should date your spouse—keep things interesting! learn new things!—so too should you friend-date your friends. There’s always more to learn. I mean, a Barbie skateboard? That’s BFF gold, right there.

Ever learn something new about an old friend long after you thought you knew everything? Do you make a point to bring the “friend date” attitude even with old friends?

MWF Seeking BFF made the NY Times extended bestseller list for the second week in a row—and it even moved up to #27! A ginormous THANKS for all your support. It’s my absolute dream to make it to the short list (the top 20) so I’d be so grateful if you might spread the word about the book to anyone who might be interested. You (or a friend) can:
Order a copy
Read an excerpt
Get the book club guide

Watch the trailer


Filed under The Search

6 responses to “Friend Dating Your Friends

  1. I was there! Yay! Thanks Rachel. It was so great to meet you (I wish I was in Chicago so I could put you on my imaginary BFF wish list and ask you on a friend date). You were so sweet, genuine and funny..(yes, that was me cackling at the front as you read). I was worried you’d be all ‘book’ and no heart. Not so. (applause)

    Go see Rachel if she is doing a book signing near you – such fun!

  2. Melinda

    This reminded me of my BFF of 30 years. When you know someone that long, you think you know everything there is to know about that person.. I’m terrified of horses. She knew that and the horrible story of how my fear began. We’ve never really talked about it and I guess I just thought she avoided horses when she was with me. It turns out, she’s afraid of them too. I only found this out recently and it amazed me that I didn’t know this before. I think you’re right about friend dating your BFF and I think I’m going to start doing it.
    BTW, I read your book and it was amazing!!

  3. Anonymous

    Any tips on “dating” your BFF? I feel like I am in a bit of a rut with mine! 🙂

  4. Rachel– you did such a fabulous job last night! I posted a couple of pictures on facebook:

    Congrats on moving up in the bestseller list– I think you’ll easily make the top 20. 🙂

  5. I was there and it really was a great time! Wonderful friendly women, and you were as delightful in person as you are on page.

    I recently was talking with one of my closest friends, her wife, and my boyfriend. We were telling ghost stories, and she told us an amazing story from when she was a kid. I never knew that she grew up next to a graveyard, and how spooky that was! She was sure that she’d told me in the past, but I know I’d remember that story.

  6. I’m getting jealous of all the people who get to see you read – any chance of a trip to Australia any time? We have an air-mattress that’s very comfortable …

    Speed friending sounds like tons of fun – I know that there are things my friends don’t know about me, so I’m sure there’s heaps I don’t know about them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s