No matter where you live after school, making friends in post-college life is no easy task. In high school and college, you have built-in friends in your classes, at your after school activities, in your dorms, etc. Suddenly, you graduate and move to a city where you may or may not know anyone. If you do know people already, you’re all balancing careers, relationships, etc. Making friends is not like it used to be when you left your dorm room door open and in walked your future Maid of Honor.
I’ve been struggling with this issue, and recently read a great book that talks about it. It’s called MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche. She’s a newly married woman who leaves her magazine job in New York to head to Chicago with her husband. Though she has family and her husband with her, she realizes that she wants to have someone she can call for a last-minute pedicure or a Sunday brunch date. To fill this void and expand her social circle, Rachel decides to go on 52 friend dates. I’m always interested to find out how people meet their friends, so I enjoyed reading about Rachel’s strategy. She’s set up through mutual friends, she uses social networking sites like Meetup.com, and she takes yoga and improv classes. Some of the dates result in what seem to be the makings of long-term friendships, while others are a “one and done” type of deal.
The book is a great read for anyone who’s looking to expand their social circle and get outside their comfort zone. I’m a naturally shy person, so it’s difficult for me to force myself to contact people in order to build friendships. But Rachel notes that most people are extremely receptive to friendship, they’re just afraid to make the first move because they’re afraid of being rejected.
I’m definitely feeling more inspired to try new things and go places alone in the name of meeting new friends. Rachel is pretty brave and did stuff I never would have felt comfortable doing, so her ballsiness makes me feel more ready to push the limits in order to develop a bigger social network in my town.
As she’s covering the ins and outs of her various friend dates, Rachel also touches on several important topics. For example, she talks about how it damages a relationship when you make your husband/boyfriend fill the role of partner AND best friend. She also goes on to discuss how people are hesitant to admit that they’re lonely, as if it’s some sort of flaw in their system, when really there’s no shame in admitting that you’d like to develop more friendships. She also notes that it can be very difficult to take a new friendship from the acquaintance stage to the casual texting, “hey we’re really friends” stage. I couldn’t agree more with all of these points, and they all emphasize why it’s so important to put yourself out there as you’re trying to find new pals.
If you’re a recent grad or twenty-something, I’d definitely recommend picking this book up. It’s so relatable, and also provides some helpful tips and inspiration. Post-college life is not exactly the easiest time when it comes to developing new friendships, so this book is good when it comes to putting things in perspective and giving you a little kickstart.