I’ve been visiting a lot of book clubs lately. I’m flattered that a number of groups, both locally and around the country, have decided to read MWF Seeking BFF and have invited me to join in on their discussion. So far, I’ve visited two Chicago book clubs in person (not including my own two clubs), and I’ve visited four book clubs via Skype. And there are more to come.
I love doing these visits for a number of reasons, but what’s most interesting to me is to sit back and observe other groups of friends. Someone at the book club last night asked me how their club compared to the other one I went to, or to my own, and the answer was that, more or less, they were exactly the same.
I mean this in a good way. In all of the groups there was wine, lots of talking (and talking over each other), laughter, and the “call to attention” for a big announcement (last night’s was the story of one of the members’ recent engagement). There’s discussion about the book and even more discussion about life. I’m especially fascinated by the Chicago groups because I spend half the time thinking “how is it that I didn’t meet you during my search?? We totally could have been best friends!”
It hits home for me how much luck and circumstance is involved in friendship. The ladies in last night’s book club largely met through one of the members, who had become roommates or neighbors with almost all of them through craigslist. At a book club in Atlanta, the two founding members met at the final Harry Potter film last year. They somehow started talking books and realized that they read all the same stuff, and thus a club was born.
And what really stuck with me at at the end of last night was this: If you take the book club I went to last night, the one I visited a couple of weeks ago, and my own, I honestly believe you could mix and match the members and the groups would still get along famously. It said that I could have done my exact same search, met an entirely different 52 people, and still ended up with great friends.
This is probably obvious. You are thinking, “Oh, there are lots of different and great groups of friends in Chicago? You didn’t meet all of them in your one year? Shocker.” And yet I find something so fascinating about seeing this firsthand. Like I have a front-row seat to other people’s social interaction. And what I’ve learned is that a girls night is a girls night is a girls night. So many of us are just looking for the same thing: Someone to quote Friends and drink wine with. (Two girls last night were said to rival me in Friends trivia. Hmmph. We’ll see.)
Have you ever had the experience of sitting in as an outsider around another group of friends? Ever met a group of girls and thought, “Wow, they remind me so much of my gang”? I guess, at its core, this is one of those “we’re more alike than we are different” lessons…