Her solution? Friend Dating…HARD! 52 friend dates in a year, with hopes of meeting the best friend of her dreams.
Did I mention it is a true story? Rachel Bertsche is a journalist that narrates all of her friend dates, while sharing interesting antidotes and research about friendship.
I LOVED this book and basically used it as a “how to” manual for my personal Chicago friend hunt. I have AMAZING best friends in California, but they cannot be in Chicago every weekend (RUDE!) Rachel Bertsche is a friend-seeking genius, and I have been using so many of her tactics to cultivate my lady crew in Chicago. I must reference her book at least once a day in my head when I am looking for potential suitors.
So, without further ado…
Making friends in Chicago. Here’s how I’m doing it.
1. Blogging. Yes, PMP seeking BBF….Posh Meets Pavement seeking Blogger Best Friends (was that lame? probably). I am SO grateful I had a blog before I moved to Chicago because it has been my biggest asset in meeting people with similar interests. The day I announced I was moving to Chicago, my inbox was flooded with emails from readers and bloggers offering help, advice, and friendship! I never knew that this little blog would connect me with other people around the world.
I got invited to a Blogger Book Club!
One book a month, fab Chicago bloggers, delicious homemade food, and just enough wine to keep it interesting.
I’ve also been making my own blogger girl dates. Kelsey and I went to brunch at Atwood Cafe last weekend…
When I mentioned I was thinking of running Zooma Great Lakes at Blogger Book Club, Erin suggested I get in touch with some other Chicago bloggers that were running the race and renting a house for the weekend. Now I have managed to get myself in on that action and will be sharing a house with all sort of fabulous running bloggers. I’m incredibly excited to share a house with strangers for the weekend, run a half marathon, pop champagne, and leave BFF’s.
2. Friends of Friends. Luckily, Chicago is a pretty big city and we are a nomadic generation. Everyone I know seems to know someone who lives in the city or is moving here. It can be a cousin’s roommate’s sister, an aunt’s friend’s daughter, or a college buddy’s girlfriend’s best friend, …whatever the level of separation is, I capitalize on it. “Give me their email” or “Send me their details” and I actually contact them. Most people meet their spouses through friends and family, so I’m applying that logic to friendship and following up on those leads.
3. MBA WAGS. Approximately 30-35% of my husband’s MBA class came to Chicago with spouses or significant others. That means there are quite a few of us wives and girlfriends (WAGS) that are new to Chicago and sharing a similar life experience. There is an official club with organized events, which is a great way to get us together and mingling.
We will be going through so much of the same issues and triumphs with our spouses during the next two years, and I look forward to having support from ladies that can relate. Since I am married, this may be a great way to recruit friends that can also be candidates for double dates and group activities. Win-win.
4. Being Friendly & Proactive. I’m putting myself out there. I smile at strangers, I give out my personal business card to girls I size up as potential friends, and I make small talk (All tips from Rachel) . I am new to this city, and I’m not going to get very far by being a solemn faced gal with sunglasses and crossed arms. The other day I put on an outfit and asked my husband, “Does this outfit say ‘let’s be friends‘?”…strange, but true. You have to look the part, and first impressions are important. Smile!
I also am making the first move and following up with people. Too many times in the past I have said “let’s get together” and nothing has materialized. Neither party took initiative and a potential friendship has been axed before it even started. The first step is the most important, so I am making it happen.
It’s been working. I feel like I am making the foundation of a social life and I love it. Friendship is important. I challenge you to take a chance and make a step toward expanding your social circle. Email that blogger (Chicago people email me!) and organize a meet up, join a book club, take a new fitness class, say hi to that girl in the elevator, troll Facebook for classmates that live in your city, and get that email address of your sister’s friend’s ex-boyfriend’s sister that lives in your city.
What’s your best tip for making new friends?