Wednesday, July 31, 2013

mwf seeking bff: my thoughts

Okay so you are probably tired of hearing me singing the praises of MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche, so let me try to get all of my thoughts out at once and then I never have to speak of it again (unless you read it and then we can email incessantly about it).

To put it simply, I loved this book. I loved sociology in college and this book juxtaposed the author's girl-dates with research that backed up things that she experienced. There were so many things I read in the book that made me say "YES!" because it was exactly what I needed to read right now.

For some backstory - I don't think I'm an unfriendly jerk, merely a victim of circumstance. I went to a commuter college, so I didn't really make lasting friends there. I worked in radio and my co-workers were my friends. After I left that radio station, those friendships didn't last. The same thing happened at my first real job - we weren't really friends outside of the office. Now, I have work friends who I hope I will stay close to beyond our time at our company and a few other friends from other places, but I don't have that core group that it seems like everyone else has. I'm seeking some additional BFFs, same as the author in the book.

Adult friendship is tricky. If there's a match.com for it, I haven't heard of it. The author points out that it's perfectly normal for women to find a date online or asked to be set-up. As a society, we are totally okay with it. Why aren't we okay with saying "Hey, I need some female companionship, do you know anyone?" We're worried about being labeled as losers or seen as weird, and we shouldn't be. There's nothing wrong with wanting to expand your social circle. The author talks about Dunbar's number, which is 150. The 150 is an approximation of the number of people with whom one person can maintain stable relationships. Now, I haven't taken out a pen and made a list, but I think I am short of my 150. I can definitely work on building relationships with a few more people.
Oprah and Gayle. I love that they are always there for one another in the public eye.

Bertsche starts her quest looking for a new BFF, which to her is someone she can call with anything at any time to be there for her. She comes to realize that as an adult, that's not plausible. We all have other commitments that may keep us from dropping everything to run to brunch on a whim. What I took from the book is that we all can use friends that fill particular niches- the party friend, the artsy friend, the couples friend, the advice friend, etc. One of my favorite friends is a mom of three, so I can't expect her to go have drinks with me at the last second; however, if I wanted advice, she's the first one I could call. If a friend can fill multiple niches, that's awesome, but we shouldn't go into friendship expecting to create the same relationship that we might have with a best friend since childhood; it just isn't going to happen that way anymore. And that's okay, y'all. Let's grow and adapt together, shall we?

Tina and Amy. I would love to read their texts to one another. I bet they're hilarious!

So I guess basically after you realize your friend "needs," it's time to go meet people. The author was brave in asserting herself in different situations and basically asked out everyone from friends of friends to a waitress at a restaurant. I'm not that brave, but I like the encouragement to be friendlier. She points out that even if a person has too much going on and doesn't have room to cultivate a new friendship they would probably be flattered by your offer to want to get to know them. This really struck me; I mean, let's be honest, the blogging world has taught us that comments are the sincerest form of flattery. If someone takes it a step further and wants to continue our email chats, gchat, text, meet, whatever? I am completely flattered - it's like you want to be friends with me. I know how I feel, but I never considered how another woman would take it. It would make you feel pretty good about yourself, right? It was very reassuring and something great to remember in the future.

Courteney and Jennifer. These two have been through so much and together I bet they know all the best gossip in Hollywood.

When you find someone you want to befriend and you get together, you need to see if you "click." We've all felt that spark with someone where the conversation flows easily and you don't feel forced. I have been known to be awkward, so I have been in situations where the conversation didn't flow and I wondered what I did after the fact to make it so weird. The book basically tells you - hey, it's okay, it happens to everyone. It was something I had never considered too seriously before (I mean, blaming myself comes naturally) so the reassurance that not everyone clicks all the time made me feel better. It doesn't make either of us boring or unfriend-able; we just aren't meant to be.

Ben and Matt. Guys need BFFs too.

To make a new friend, the author says that you have to "date" your friends. Not in a weird way, but you have to work to cultivate the relationship. Focus on what you have in common, make plans to see one another, and follow through. It's very basic but something that I know I take for granted. Everyone loves the kind of friend that you can see once or twice a year and pick right back up where you last left, but who can't use a friend that you can text a pic to while you're in the dressing room? I tend to be bad about making plans in advance so this is a good reminder that it's a necessary step in making (and keeping!) new BFFs.

Beyonce and Gwyneth. Think they'll let me be their third BFF?

Something I've learned since starting to blog is that many of us are seeking additional female relationships. A lot of people are new in town or have grown apart from childhood friends. We all want as much positivity as is realistic on our blogs and saying that life is lonely sometimes isn't really cool. Blogging is awesome because you can gravitate toward people who are in the same place you are without being outwardly mean to those who aren't. So if you're reading this, here are my tips to building blog relationships: 1) Make sure you aren't a no-reply comment blogger. If you never receive comments back from the blogs you leave comments on, you probably are, and that's not good. Comment with your email address and I'll help you out! 2) When commenting on other blogs with a blogger you want to get to know, say something open-ended or ask a question. The blogger is likely to open up more in her response and that gives you a chance to continue the conversation. 3) Quantity breeds quality! Some bloggers may be working hard to keep their blog running and keep up with their family/friends/job, etc. and a new blogger BFF may not be feasible right now. Cast a wide net and you will probably make some great blogger friends and many more blog acquaintances, both of which are better than just reading blogs and not joining the conversation!

There were so many things I loved about this book! If I would have bought my own copy before Rachelle loaned it to me, I would have highlighted and dogeared many, many pages and written even more about it. But since I am still working to cultivate our friendship, I will give it back to her in tact.

What do you think of these points? How have you made friends as an adult? What friendship niche do you think you fill? If you read the book, let's talk about it!


10 comments:

  1. so interesting. i tell you and i agree, making friends as adults is hard stuff. im so thankful for that kickball team!

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  2. Very well written post! You should be a magazine article writer :) I'm so glad you liked the book, it really makes you think about friendships! I have way too many comments about the book to share here, so we'll talk about it next week. And BTW I love the pictures as accent pieces :)

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  3. Ahhhh I'm so glad you posted this, I literally JUST put this on hold at the library. Hopefully I come up on the list soon.

    Making friends as an adult is a total bitch. I have tons of friends from high school that I am still very close with, but they all live in other states. I have been living in my current city for going on 6 years, and I don't feel like I have a close group of friends at all. I feel that if there was an emergency or something, I don't even know who I would call. It is sad, really, because I am so used to having tons of friends. Even though I am not as in touch with my college friends as high school ones (who I do girls weekends and other trips with, see at holidays, etc.) I still talk to them as well. Here, though? Nothing. Not sure if it is me or what, but I am over it!

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  4. I don't read nonfiction as a rule, but it sounds good.

    I have been lucky in that my husband is involved in a hobby that has brought me in touch with my adult female friends (wives of other guys who are mummers). And some of my high school guy friends have married girls that I would be friends with if I met them on the street, so that helps a lot too. I'm still BFF with my junior high friends. I've lost touch with my college friends the most but I still talk to them and visit them once a year maybe.

    Just like dating is now oriented to online interaction, a lot of friendships are as well. I have a group of friends from a message board (online) we've been posting to for 10+ years. Four of them and their husbands attended my wedding!

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  5. but for realz making grownup friends is hard. is there an app for that?!

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  6. I related so much with this! Ugh, making friends is so hard! Just the other day my husband and I commented that it has been awhile since either of us hung out with our friends.

    I haven't had a close friend since high school. One of the reasons I love blogging so much is because it does make it easier to meet people, too bad we live so far away!

    Can't wait for my copy of this book to arrive!

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  7. I am nodding my head through this whole post! Super super writing my friend!
    I def have wondered why I don't have the friend I can text dressing room pics to. Haha
    A few years ago I would have thought it was weird to meet girlfriends online, but after moving out of state and starting to blog it almost seems criminal not to!

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  8. I've never heard of this book, but now I'm dying to read it!!!! Everything you've said is totally spot on. It's SO hard to make friends as an adult.

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  9. Okay so A. I want to read this book really bad because I am pretty sure I have been figuring all of this out the hard way lately! and B. I have been a no-reply blogger up until today all the while claiming that blogging is my part-time job. EMBARASSING! Thank you for inspiring me to fix that.

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  10. I am so checking out this book! I have had such a rough time making good friends (ones who I can actually tell my problems to without feeling self-conscious) as an adult! I commuted through most of college, and in law school I was so focused on my studies I didn't spend much time making friendships (and also most people were still into drinking like college kids which really wasn't my thing). I actually wrote a post about it (http://pleasandcarrots.blogspot.com/2013/08/betrayal-ramble-rattle-warning-long.html). Glad to see I'm not the only one!

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