Rachel is a twenty-something, recently married writer who moves to Chicago from her hometown in New York. Feeling isolated from her friends and looking to build new relationships, she embarks on (as I call it) The BFF Project–setting herself the goal of going on 52 “friend dates” over the course of a year, in the hopes of finding someone she can call at a moment’s notice for a Sunday brunch or a mani/pedi gossip session. She goes about accomplishing this goal in a whole-hearted fashion, throwing herself into joining groups and signing up for activities, and exploiting as many connections as she can make. Along the way she consults with friendship ‘experts’ and learns more about what she is actually looking for and how to get it, as well as learning a lot about herself in the process.
I first came across MWF Seeking BFF when browsing on Goodreads day, and the title struck me, mainly because I’m about to lose my own best friend to a move that will take her thousands of miles, and a whole ocean, away from me. This is hard for me because, like Rachel, I find that making friends as a grown woman can be a difficult business. Sure, it’s easy enough to find someone to chat with now and again, but a true friend, someone who actually makes room in their life for you and vice-versa, can be tough to come by. As adults, we’re so overwhelmed with demands on our time that making new friends can often get pushed to the bottom of our list, much to our own detriment. Friends are important, and amid tales of her meetings with potential friends, Bertsche goes into some of the research that shows just why friendship is so important.
The overall themes of the book were interesting and, to a woman in search of her own new BFF, compelling. I could relate to a lot of what Bertsche described in general terms–shyness about being the one who reaches out, the work that is involved in cultivating and maintaining friendships, and the ‘click’ moments that make friendship work more easily with certain people than with others. I particularly related to what she had to say about how a spouse is not the same as best friends, that both are important but expecting one person to fulfill both those roles in your life is unrealistic.
Where I had a harder time appreciating the book was in the specifics of Rachel’s meetings, which to me became somewhat repetitive and bogged down in too many details. Although I read through the book quickly, I became confused and ultimately less interested by the potential friends she met as the book went on. Bertsche herself seems to have anticipated such confusion and added a chart of names and details at the end of the book, but honestly after the first half, they all started to blur together for me.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who has struggled with making new friends as an adult. It’s also a good reminder that it’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone every now and then for your own sake–you just might make a new friend in the process.
Thanks so much to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group and Ballantine for providing me with a review copy of this book.
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