I went to a "Moms Night Out" a while ago with the Mothers Club I was part of when I lived in MA. One of the other mothers that attended mentioned she was reading a book called “MWF Seeking BFF”. The book is about a married woman who loved to Chicago for love and is now on the search for a new local best friend as an adult. As she was telling the group about the book, I kept thinking to myself, “This sounds like a great read! I’ve gotta download this to my hubby's iPad this weekend!” But more importantly, I thought, “This sounds like me!”
Naturally, most of us have close friends that we grow up with. When I got married four years ago, there was no doubt in my mind of who would be in my wedding party. My best friend/roommate from college was my maid of honor and I was a bridesmaid in her wedding last June. My two best friends from high school were my other two bridesmaids (and I was one of their bridesmaids two summers ago). But I don’t see these ladies that often any more. Especially since two of them live in MA, I'm in MD now, and the other is in TX. I’m lucky to see them two or three times a year. Getting married, going to graduate school, having a career, and having a child will tend to do that. Now don’t get me wrong. I do treasure the time I do get to see them. We always pick up right where we left off and reminisce about the “good old days”. But if I’m having a lousy day, I can’t just pick up the phone and ask if I can come over to their house or meet up for coffee.
Of course most of us in committed relationships claim our significant other is our “best friend”. Yes, my husband is my “best friend”. But I can’t really turn to him with a problem if he’s the problem to begin with. And trying to consult with him over what kind of haircut/highlights I should get is like talking to a wall. His response is usually, “I don’t know. Your hair looks fine the way it is.”
Making new friends seemed so much easier when we were younger. You’d meet someone in your class or at recess and get to talking.
You: “Do you like peanut butter and jelly?”
Potential Friend: “Yes!”
You: “You do? Me too!”
Potential Friend: “Do you like Fashion Star Barbie?”
You: “I love Fashion Star Barbie! I just got her for my birthday!”
Potential Friend: “Do you want to come over my house to play after school?”
You: “Sure! I just need to ask my mom if it’s okay.”
And just like that, you were attached at the hip.
Now, as an adult, the process seems so daunting. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the most outgoing person. If I’m in a completely new social situation, my first instinct is to head straight for the food/drinks and then pretend like it’s my job to hold up the wall.
I had to take the making new friends thing to a whole new level when my family moved to MD from MA. New unfamiliar territory where I don't know a soul. I've been in MD since the end of July. There are a couple of women I'm “friendly” or “acquaintances” with. But when do you decide to take that “acquaintance” status and move it to the “friend” or even “best friend” level? If only there was a book out there with straight forward guidelines for everyone to follow!
My requirements for a best friend are pretty straightforward. First, I want a best friend who is willing to be one of my biggest cheerleaders. For example, if I decided one day I wanted to train for a marathon (um...like I am with the Boston Marathon...), her natural response would be one of the following: “Do you need a training buddy? I’ll train with you!” or “Sounds great! I’ll start helping you collect donations,” or “Awesome! I’ll be at the finish line with a sign and balloons!”
Second, I want a best friend who is going to be honest with me. Let’s say we’re at the mall and I’m trying on jeans. If I come out of the dressing room wearing a pair and they make my butt look big, then tell me so! Don’t sugarcoat it!
Third, I want a best friend who gets along with my husband and I get along with their significant other (if they have one). Our significant others and our children could be friends too. Going out on double dates or having my BFF and her other half over for game night or dinner would easily be an option.
Finally (and probably most important), I do not want a best friend who tries to one-up me. If you have a child, I'm sure he or she is amazing. I think my son is pretty amazing too. But I don’t need to constantly hear about how he/she can speak 5 languages, reads 3 levels above his/her grade level, was full potty trained in a day, did a replica of the Mona Lisa with finger paint, and won a “cute kid” magazine contest. I also don’t need to hear about how much of a “supermom” you are. I get it. You worked all day, made a three-course gourmet meal for your family, made sure your house was immaculate, went to the gym, baked 5 dozen cupcakes for the PTO fundraiser, and led your daughter’s Girl Scout troop meeting. You’re supermom and we should all bow down to you. Don’t get me wrong. I can at times have a competitive streak. But I don’t want to constantly battle with you over who is better than whom. We should just celebrate that we’re amazing women with wonderful families.
I’m officially putting myself out on the market for a new best friend. If you think you might fit my requirements, let me know. I am currently taking applications.