by Rachel Bertsche
Ballantine Books, 2011
Source: public library
Read it because . . . I read this review and it sounded interesting
Two years after moving to Chicago with her boyfriend, Rachel Bertsche realizes there is a gaping hole in her life: she has no local best friends. Seeking to remedy the situation, she decides to embark on a year of friend-dating – 52 first dates in all – hoping at least one of them will lead to a new BFF. In MWF Seeking BFF Bertsche recounts her experience, sprinkling her friend-date anecdotes with discussions on current research and studies on friendship.
MWF Seeking BFF was an entertaining read. Bertsche is a humorous, open writer, and I never stopped being impressed by her pro-active approach to solving her best friend dilemma. I was pleasantly surprised by her inclusion of friendship facts and studies, and was pleased that she inserts her friendship research findings in the middle of her anecdotes with relative ease. She cites studies that highlight the positive affect friendships have on both mental and physical health, the stigma attached to admitting loneliness, and the overall decline of adult friendships in our society. Her book brings to light a subject few people are willing to discuss for fear of sounding “pathetic”: that many adults have only a few (if any) really close friends, and that making friends is much more difficult once you grow up.
As I read, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own friendships. Like Bertsche when she began her search, all of my best friends live rather far away. (Most live in a completely different time zone.) I have friends here, but no one I would feel comfortable calling at 2 am (which, in my mind, is one of the differences between a friend and a best friend). I’m not complaining, mind you. I have amazing friends and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. And I am, overall, pretty content with my life. But Bertsche did get me thinking about my local friendships and whether or not it’s time to expand my friendship horizons a bit.
My only quibble with the book are the repeated declarations concerning the Inherent Differences in the Friendship Needs of Men and Women. I am rather uncomfortable with absolutes and so I cringed every time Bertsche said something about men needing one kind of friendship and women needing another. I don’t think the issue is quite that black and white.
Overall, an interesting read. I recommend it.
P. S. This all started as a blog, which you can find here. (Confession: I haven’t looked at it yet.)
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