Rachel Bertsche's MWF Seeking BFF: MY Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend was one of my favorite reads of 2011. I read it over the Christmas holiday, and it was the perfect read. Basically, the book chronicals Bertsche's quest for a new best friend after moving to a new city with her husband and leaving behind all of her best buds. She realizes how lonely she is without a friend to call up to hang out with at a moment's notice, so she decides to go on one "friend date" a week for an entire year. Bertsche enrolls in clubs, classes, etc. in the hopes of meeting potential new friends. It is a super fun and very hilarious read.
When I picked up MWF, I was expecting a light, fluffy read. I figured I'd like it, but it wouldn't be anything special. Turns out, it's anything but, and it turned into one of my favorite books, and sort of changed the way I think about friends. I was affected by the book immediately. Bertsche goes into detail about how much she loves hanging out with her husband, but how she misses having those conversations you can only have with your best girlfriends. We get a very intimate look at her own life, which made me love the book more because I felt close to the author. This book encouraged me to see my friends more, because I've been lazy about getting together with them for a long time.
I loved Bertsche's take on making friends after college. Having just graduated last May, I realized how right she was when she said that it's a lot harder to make new friends once you're out of school. Of course, I still live in my hometown and have my bffs around me, but eventually I know I'll be living in a new city with no close friends nearby.
Bertsche is a hilarious author. She's a confident woman, yet she has no problems writing about how awkward she can be at times when meeting new potential friends on "friend dates". It makes you think back to first date moments with guys, and I loved how honest she was about how intimidated friend dates can be, even more so than dates with guys. I really loved how she slowly emerged from being kind of shy on first friend dates to feeling completely comfortable.
What was really intriguing was when Bertsche started thinking about what made her click with potential friends and what made dates awkward and not go so well. She also backed this up with articles about friendship. Some of the things she mentioned for clicking with people were obvious, like having things in common, like a shared love of reading. However, she said that having common dislikes was a big factor in clicking as well. Sometimes though, having things in common doesn't gaurantee you'll hit it off. Bertsche said that the friend dates that turned into true friendships always involved a lot of laughter. Which makes sense if you think about it. If you're not laughing with someone, you're not having fun with them.
There were a few parts that were super emotional, especially for me. Bertsche lost her father a few years ago, just like I lost mine, and the chapter where she goes home for Thanksgiving and feels his loss a ton, I completely connected with that, especially since I read that particular passage on Christmas day, when I was really missing my own dad.
Basically, I loved this book so much. It is very easy to read but it is also super informative, and I felt like Rachel and I were friends by the end. Especially since we're both apparently obsessed with Law and Order SVU....I read this in 2 sittings and couldn't put it down. I've also been recommending it like crazy. I love it, especially since it's the main reason why I've been seeing my friends so much in the new year!
Have you read MWF Seeking Bff? Check out Rachel Bertsche's blog about searching for friends: http://mwfseekingbff.com/
Page XV: That's the bestfriendship test, I think. The "what are we doing today?" phone call. If you have that, you have someone with whom it is implied you will spend the day or at least an hour. That's the level of BFF I'm in the market for.
Page 99: In that same email, Gina wrote, "I'm not sure what your thoughts are on meeting in public, but you're welcome to come to my place if you'd like." Um, my thoughts on meeting someone who found me over the Internet in public are very positive. I'm sure she was just trying to be friendly, but I wanted to write, "I'd actually rather not come to your house sixty miles away from my husband and family so you can chop me up into pieces in your basement, but thanks for the offer. I've seen that episode of SVU.
Page 111: ...and afterward I offer rides home, which makes me realize that a) I must be getting more comfortable-there was a time I'd worry I was coming on too strong-and b) they might think this is all a ploy to drive them to a torture den in an undisclosed location. But they accept, and I've careful not to lock the doors as soon as they get in the car. Like I said, I've seen that episode of SVU.
Page 230: Before this year I never would have signed up to speed-friend. It would have seemed too desperate, too contrived, and too unlikely that I'd connect with anyone who could really be a BFF. But once I decided to dedicate this year of my life to forging friendships, I committed to doing everything I can-no matter how scary or pathetic or absurd it seems. You never know, right? And I can't conduct a complete search wihout following every lead. (Don't say all those Law and Order marathons never taught me anything.)
Page 257: I recently came across an essay in which author Ann Patchett beautifully sums up the crux of what I hope will emerge in the final months of this search. "Here's my idea of real intimacy," she writes. "It's not the person who calls to say, 'I'm having an affair'; it's the friend who calls to say, 'Why do I have four jars of pickles in my refrigerator?'"
Page 309: Holidays are usually the hardest for me and seeing other dads in action-our Thanksgiving dinner was filled with great ones-always hurts the most, so I want some alone time to process the pain. I wish I didn't get jealous, that I didn't immediately think of all that I've lost when I see happy families. Maybe one day, when Matt is the great dad wowing me at my own family table, I won't. But today I'm feeling a giant void and I want to try and close it up, or at least start filling it, if only for a few minutes.