Discussion: MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche

Book: MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend
Author: Rachel Bertsche
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release date: December 20, 2011
Source: Borrowed from library
Summary from Goodreads: When Rachel Bertsche first moves to Chicago, she’s thrilled to finally share a zip code with her boyfriend. But shortly after getting married, she realizes that her new life is missing one thing: friends. Sure, she has plenty of BFFs – in New York and San Francisco and Boston and Washington, D.C. Still, in her adopted hometown, there’s no one to call at the last minute for girl talk over brunch or a reality-TV marathon over a bottle of wine. Taking matters into her own hands, Bertsche develops a plan: Meeting people everywhere from improv class to friend rental websites, she’ll go on fifty-two friend-dates, one per week for a year, in hopes of meeting her new Best Friend Forever.

I have a confession to make. I love nonfiction books of the “try some wacky task for a year” variety. L-O-V-E love them. I think it’s fascinating to watch people attempt sometimes challenging, oftentimes ridiculous activities for an entire year. You get to see the ups and downs, as well as the overall growth, that come from learning how you adapt to a given goal that plays out for such a lengthy period of time. This is no flash in the pan – this is a commitment.

MWF Seeking BFF takes this concept and applies it to adult friend-making. Rachel Bertsche moves to Chicago and is not satisfied with casual work acquaintances or people you only see for planned events. She wants a local friend that she can call spontaneously and invite to brunch. As a married woman in her late twenties, she finds that this is harder than one would expect.

The thing that I connected with the most is the fact that adults looking for friends is a pretty taboo topic in our society. In general, we are comfortable, if not encouraging, of people on the hunt for a significant other. But a friend? That’s something only losers need to do. One of the best things about this book is how Bertsche turns that idea on it’s head. 

I am not a lonely or pathetic loser…

Needing a friend isn’t anything we should be embarrassed about, and we certainly shouldn’t judge anyone who is looking. As Bertsche ultimately discovers, we all need many types of friends to fill different roles in our army of support. We shouldn’t require our spouses or significant others to fill our best friend role, any more than we should expect our best friend to be the sole person we rely on for all other emotional support. Plus we are more mobile than ever, and with all of that moving around is it any wonder that people need to form new connections?

As someone who moved to a brand new city after college, I really connected with her struggles. When I first got to Chicago I did everything I could to meet new people. I hung out with coworkers, I went to MeetUps, I scoured Craigslist for all of the “Seeking SATC pals! Be my Miranda!” posts. I joined social sports clubs and went to bars. But do I have anything to show for it all these years later? No. My lasting area friendships all came from work.

Making friends is hard, and it’s harder because of the stigma that comes with seeking friendship. I’m certainly guilty of it, and it has definitely kept me from putting myself out there in the ways that Bertsche does. Even reading this book in public made me slightly uncomfortable. What if the people on the El see the title and assume I’m a weirdo with no friends? 

It really made me stop and think about why that concept is so bad. I think it’s safe to assume that if a woman wanted to hang out with me, she’s just looking to meet new people. And I would be happy she asked. This, too, is what Bertsche finds as she moves from coordinated events to simply asking potential friends to have drinks or attend a yoga class together. They’re excited to reciprocate! Imagine that!

Don’t be so timid…

The book really inspired me to be more proactive about coordinating schedules with people I’d like to elevate in the friend department. I don’t know that my introverted nature will ever allow me to master the art of the female friend pick-up, but I can definitely be better about scheduling get-togethers and following through on plans. Recently, a friend (that I had basically written off because I’d been so terrible about making our friend dates) texted me after over a year of radio silence. We made brunch plans and met up last week. And it was great. Why did I let my insecurities keep me from reaching out through all this time? She clearly was still thinking about me, and I was thinking about her, but I psyched and guilted myself out of contacting her and almost lost her entirely. 

That’s not okay. I will be better. Thank you, Rachel Bertsche, for inspiring me to be confident in approaching acquaintances and for taking some of the heat off of women who just want some new friends. I mean, we’re not all weirdos.

Have you had a hard time making friends as an adult? Do you think it’s strange to admit that you want more friends? Let’s talk!

Rating: 3/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Apollo’s Angels

First things first. I’m still in the process of learning my way around Blogger, so you may see a few things change over the next week or so. I don’t think Blogger is as intuitive or streamlined as WordPress, but already I’m super happy with the ease of adding HTML and widgets. I didn’t want to spend the money to self-host my WordPress site, and if I’m being honest, I was jealous of the GFC following. I felt like I was getting left behind. Now that I’ve joined the party, I’m feeling relieved.

That said, I’m exhausted after staying up waaaay too late last night trying to figure out how to point my domain to a new DNS host and then route traffic to this blog and not the old one. I think I’ve got it set now, and I tried to pass a message along to the few subscribers I knew about (and had) to try and ease the transition. I definitely wanted to get the new blog going ASAP so it would be less of a hassle for the fewest number of people. Phew! I think we got there.

Anyway, on to books. Today I was very excited to receive this well reviewed nonfiction work:

This book, written by a former ballerina and historian, discusses the history of ballet from the time of Louis XIV to the present. It also happened to make the New York Times’ Ten Best list for 2010. 
I’m a sucker for good nonfiction, and this one has earned such high praise that it is kind of hard to ignore. As a former ballet student, I love that I have a full history of ballet in one book. It covers all of the major techniques (French, Italian, Russian, Danish) and includes an epilogue where the author, Jennifer Homans, declares ballet a dying art. 
If that proves to be true, it will be a major cultural loss. Dance is unique in its expression through movement and form. It creates pictures with the human body, put to some of the most beautiful music ever written. It teaches interpretation of music in a completely kinetic way, something that I am still grateful to have learned. Had I been blessed with more flexibility and joint stability, I would be dancing even today. 
I know this will be the kind of book I pick up from time to time and read a few chapters from before putting it back on the shelf. I need to digest it piece by piece instead of trying to rush my way through. Although it’s neither YA nor fiction, I wanted to share my excitement of getting this book in the mail today. I’m a proud mama to this little baby.