Book Review: MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche
March 16, 2013 18 Comments
In this memoir, Rachel Bertsche is looking for new friends. She has moved from New York to Chicago and wants to find one or two best friends that she can do all the fun things with that she did with her friends from New York – friends that she has known since college.
But at 29, in a job where she doesn’t meet many people, it’s hard to know where to start. She decides to “date” one woman every week for a year, and hopes that meeting 52 new people will lead to a few new friends.
First she relies on friends and colleagues recommending new people to her, but later she writes an essay in the newspaper about her search for a friend that gets a lot of responses, potential new friends. Much later still, she tries online friend-dating services. She meets up with many different people and some of them “stick”, others drop off because there wasn’t a click or because they have no time for yet another friendship.
Bertsche quotes research that suggests people should have around 150 friends and acquaintances (people you’d stop to talk to in the streets). She has 130, so there is room for another 20. I have not done the calculation myself, but I can’t imagine I have that many. At college people used to be surprised at how many people I knew, so maybe I know more people than I think. Do I count people I knew in England and online people who I’d love to meet? 🙂
I found the book inspiring in the sense that it made me reflect on my circle of friends and acquaintances. When I met a new woman the other day, and we didn’t stop chatting, I wondered if and how we could be friends. I also arranged to meet another friend, when I usually wait for her to contact me – I’m pretty poor at maintaining friend relationships. So, the book worked for me in that way.
On the other hand, the stories of 52 “friend dates” – and some more of Bertsche’s life happenings around it – started to get a little stale after a while. Admittedly, some of the dates she summarizes very briefly, but overall, it was just a bit too much of the same. A chapter at the end of the book with tips to make new friends would have been nice, if only a summary of what was mentioned throughout the book.
In all, I liked the book a lot for its inspirational power – it made me start to think and act upon friendship and that is useful.
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Number of pages: 356
First published: 2011
I got this: bought it from a US online book retailer
Genre: non-fiction, memoir