Who Wants a Friend?

Recently, I purchased and started reading the book MWF seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche. I had heard about it through Twitter and happened to find it while helping my sister find a book on Judy Garland a couple weeks ago at Barnes & Noble. I started reading it right away.

(Source)

Premise: A late 20s woman recently married and relocated from New York City to Chicago. After 2 years of living in Chicago and not really finding many friends that she could call up just to hang out, she took matters into her own hands. She decided to do 52 friend dates in 52 weeks in hopes of finding a Chicago BFF (best friend forever). And she blogged about it! Yes, it’s a true story!

I’m only about two-thirds of the way through the book…and I’ve identified with so much of it already. It’s hard to find friends when you move somewhere new (remember how I moved to a new city last summer without knowing anyone!). According to the book, research shows that it is much harder for women to find and have meaningful friendships from their late 20s to 40s. One of the things I love about this book is that it isn’t a regurgitation of the author’s blog. It’s filled with research about friendship along with her reflections from her 52 friend dates. Like the author, I have some really good friends. Some solid BFFs. It’s just that most of them live elsewhere (Twin Cities, Milwaukee, Madison, Portage, Whitewater, Ohio, etc.). I try to keep in touch through various methods, but it’s not the same as being in the same geographic area. Thank goodness for Kendra! Even in that situation, we were essentially set up on a blind friend date this past September. However, we’re both in the same boat…new to Duluth & wanting to find people to connect with. Slowly, but surely, we’ll get there. 🙂

Okay, so some of you might be thinking, “You work on a university campus. Wouldn’t that be a hotbed of potential friends?” Technically, your thinking would be correct. At this point, most of the people I’ve met that are around my age are merely acquaintances. The individuals in my office are great people that I get along with, and they are all significantly older than me. Sometimes, it’s just hard to relate when their kids are the same age as me. I’ve always been in situations where there were plenty of people to become fast and close friends with: high school (band & color guard), undergrad, post-undergrad (hung out with friends still living in Eau Claire), and grad school. Now that I’ve moved into my professional career, things just aren’t as easy as they once were. At this point in time, I’ll just keep working on getting to know people on campus through meetings, events, casual meet ups in the hallway, and my knitting group (they are a fun group of ladies!).

Back to the book, I highly recommend it. Reading it has helped me understand how much I cherish strong connections with other people. Those connections help to make life bearable and fun. Here’s to friend making!  

 

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11 thoughts on “Who Wants a Friend?

  1. Laura @ First Class Great Outdoors says:

    Who’s your friend in Whitewater? 😉

    I’m definitely adding this book to my to-read list. I agree that it’s challenging to find good friends as you move further into adulthood. Even living and working in my original hometown, it’s hard to find strong connections. I think for me, marriage is an additional hurdle. Jason and I would love to have a BFF-type relationship with another couple. We’re trying, but it isn’t easy.

    • ellenhatfield says:

      Laura, how did you know? 😉 I think another challenge of connecting is when people around you all seem to be in a different place in life than you. I’ve noticed that choices such as education, marriage, geographic location, work, and children all impact the strength of friendship. It’s not an all or nothing, but it’s nice to have some of those choices in common with the people you’re trying to connect, or stay connected, with.

      • Laura says:

        Very true. Over the last couple of years, I have watched a relationship with a friend from grad school become much more distant. She has had kids, and now her and her husband only spend time with her husband’s friends who also have kids. Since Jason and I only plan on having our four-legged, furry kids, I don’t know that my friendship with her will be very close. Now on the flip side, one of Jason’s buddies has 1-year-old twins, and we’ve spent more time with them since. It shouldn’t be all or nothing – but while it isn’t for me and some of my friends, it is for others. It’s unfortunate.

      • ellenhatfield says:

        That is an interesting situation. For me, I have to remind myself from time to time that friendship is a reciprocal relationship. Both parties have to make an effort…whether they have children or not. Personally, I like your kids. They’re so cute & energetic. 🙂

    • ellenhatfield says:

      You’re welcome Becca! At one point in the book, the author actually pointed out the she wasn’t just rehashing the blog posts from when she was completing the project, that way readers of her blog would have something a bit different to read. For some the dates she goes into great detail, and others just have passing mention. Also, thanks for the recommendation in the first place. I had seen a tweet you sent to someone else about the blog or the book and I decided to do some investigating.

  2. Jason says:

    Great post! I can definitely relate (i.e. carrying couch into apartment solo). For my first two years in Madison I meet some good friends (a few left the state already) then went through a stage of “serial befriending” which was a huge disruption from getting to know people who I actually like. In any case, I’m definitely going to check that book out.

    • ellenhatfield says:

      Thanks Jason! Hopefully, now that life is settling down (you know, now that we’re done with grad school), you’ll be find some cool people to hang out with. And even though I moved out of the state, I’ll totally come visit you when I’m in the area!

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