"MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend" - September Meetup

Short Note: I just want to apologize to the male members of the group this month (I know this book has a  gender bias). However, I still hope you come! It will enliven the conversation to hear some male perspective's on the topic of friendship after college.

Summary:

When Rachel Bertsche first moves to Chicago, she’s thrilled to finally share a zip code, let alone an apartment, with her boyfriend. But shortly after getting married, Bertsche 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: She’ll go on fifty-two friend-dates, one per week for a year, in hopes of meeting her new Best Friend Forever.

In her thought-provoking, uproarious memoir, Bertsche blends the story of her girl-dates (whom she meets everywhere from improv class to friend rental websites) with the latest social research to examine how difficult—and hilariously awkward—it is to make new friends as an adult. In a time when women will happily announce they need a man but are embarrassed to admit they need a BFF, Bertsche uncovers the reality that no matter how great your love life is, you’ve gotta have friends.  

Discussion Questions:

1) After moving to Chicago from New York City, Rachel quickly realized that “friend-making is not the natural process is used to be.” Why do you think it is so much harder to make friends as adults? Or do you think making friends is as easy now (or easier) than it was when you were a kid?

2) When Rachel writes her BFF “want ad,” she hears from a number of women in her same situation, all of whom are hesitant to admit they too are looking for new friends. Rachel writes, “Popular culture has made it okay to yell ‘I need a man!’ from the rooftops, so why are we still embarrassed to say ‘I want a best friend?’” What do you think? Is it easier to admit you’re looking for love than it is to say you’re in the market for friendship? Why?

3) What would your BFF want-ad look like?

4) After Rachel meets Amanda (friend-date 18) she realizes that her new friend has a blog, and they’ve each blogged about the other. How has social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs) affected your friendships and the way you make new friends?

5) Rachel claims that her husband isn’t her best friend. “A husband can fill many vital roles—protector, provider, lover—but he can’t be a BFF,” she writes. “Matt is my most intimate companion and the love of my life, But I can’t complain about my husband to my husband. That’s what friends are for.” Do you agree? Or do you think your spouse could be (and maybe should be) your best friend forever?

6) After looking at the relationship research, Rachel claims that when it comes to friends, “more is more.” Do you agree? Or do you believe in quality over quantity?

7) Have you ever been on a blind friend-date? If yes, what were the circumstances? How did you meet? If no, would you like to? Did MWF Seeking BFF warm you up to the idea of friend-dating? What parts of Rachel’s search would you be willing to incorporate into your own life?

8. At first, Rachel thinks people will find her friendship advances weird or creepy. Eventually, though, she realizes that “it’s not that people are less civilized now, it’s just that we think they are, and so we act accordingly. We don’t reach out unsolicited for fear of being rejected. We don’t talk to new people because we assume they don’t want to be bothered. But as I continue to pursue friendships, I’m constantly surprised at how receptive people are.” Are you surprised that women were receptive to Rachel’s attempts at friendship? How would you have reacted if she had asked you out?

9) Rachel makes clear throughout the book that even though she is looking for new friends, she has plenty of great old friends. What is it about our lifers that makes them so special? Did reading about Rachel’s quest make you appreciate your own lifelong BFFs more?

10) Throughout her search, people tell Rachel she can’t force friendships, they should just happen. Do you think one can successfully search for friendship, or should it always happen naturally?

11) By the end of her quest, Rachel may not have a new BFF but she says she has a “bouquet of friends.” For Rachel, the definition of BFF has changed. She realizes she isn’t as likely to talk on the phone with her best friend every night for two hours like she did when she was 15. Families, careers and responsibilities make that impossible. How has your definition of BFF, or your requirements of your friends, changed over the years?

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  • Kandice H.

    I had a great time last night! It was really nice meeting with all of you, here is my email if any of you ever want to get together, i would love to get to know you all better and i look forward to next month's meeting: [masked]

    September 26, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    There was a large group of people who attended.

    September 26, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Truly Enjoyed hearing everyone's perspectives on the book, and also meeting new people. Hope to see you all next month.. or even in the near future before that. If you're local (in SF) I would love to chill, get coffee, etc...

    September 26, 2012

  • Sophia

    Great meeting everyone today! I blogged about the book and other articles I mentioned today here: http://sophiahchen.blogspot.com/

    1 · September 25, 2012

  • Moshe B.

    Was great to make friends while talking about a making friends book.

    September 25, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    It was really great meeting people today. As I took the train back down to Fremont I decided to make my own new friends. I struck up a conversation with a cute awkward girl. I was sad when I found out she was in high school. I think that makes me a cradle robber. Well I really do need friends so if anyone wants to hang out some time just let me know.

    September 25, 2012

    • Lloyd C.

      Ditto on listening to each person's perspective today :) I subsequently asked Sierra about audio books because I enjoyed voice impersonations in MWF Seeking BFF, and started a discussion at http://www.meetup.com...­

      September 25, 2012

  • Lloyd C.

    Proximity and Trust -- in-person follow-throughs -- triumphs in developing new bouquet of friendships for me. Looking forward to today's discussion at 6:30pm :)

    September 25, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    So, ah, with 60 RSVPs, how will this work? Will we just take over Crepe House and split into however many tables they have?

    September 23, 2012

  • Moshe B.

    September 1, 2012

  • Moshe B.

    I don't see a gender bias. In fact men might be having more difficult time then women making new friends since women are more social.

    September 1, 2012

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