The short review: Great book discussing a very taboo topic. When you get older, making new friends gets a lot harder. This author went way outside of her (and most people's) comfort zone in search of friendship. Her experiences, coupled with some stats and opinions from other authors, make an interesting book that makes you reconsider what you want and need in a friendship and why it is so important to make these connections.
The long review.
This is completely up my alley and after hearing about it for the last year, I finally put it on my library "wish list." This book is a detailed account of the author Rachel Bertsche's attempt to find a new or a few new best friends. She decides, through various methods (networking, Craigslist, websites, etc.) to go on 52 friend dates for the next year. She first works through how we typically make new friends, going to other friends and work colleagues, but also dives into the online friend-making world which is crazy scary (just like online dating). There are many comparisons to traditional dating here but there is an air of mystery and almost shame that comes about when someone says they need a friend. Bertsche looks at not only her experience but also consults other books and specialist to explain why we desperately need friends in our lives to maintain our sanity and balance.
There were many, many things that really stood out to me with this book and a few that I personally connected to.
1. She goes to different events/groups to meet new people such as improv comedy, book clubs, and has friends that can refer who to other friends. I loved (!!!) that she used so many different routes to meet new people and considering she is in Chicago, there are really an endless amount of options. I, on the other hand, am in a smaller city and am not yet comfortable enough to ask my co-workers, the only people I know, to refer me to other friends. Feels weird. Really, really weird. I have looked into social groups in the area and there isn't a whole lot going on there.
2. Bertsche describes depression in a certain way that gave me that "Ah Ha Moment." I've suffered/lived with depression for a while now so I am no stranger to the symptoms or life impact that it can have. In the book she says that someone who is, say, sad or upset or shy, may not make the effort to make friends but they want to. Someone who is depressed wouldn't even have the interest in making a friend or changing their situation at all. It may seem small but in the past I remember having my serious bouts of depression and in those times, I had absolutely no interest in anything; doing anything or changing my situation. When I am just sad, emotional (mostly PMSing), or anxious, I still have the feeling that I want to change or act but know that there are other factors and I just need to chill out a bit.
3. She is hardcore. She really, really tackles the search for a BFF even though she is married, has a job, and has family and friends that she cares about. I was impressed that she just kept going and going and going even after the horribly awkward dates, the really expensive dates, and even after renting a friend. She's got guts, that's for sure!
I don't want to give all of the book away including whether or not she does, in fact, find her BFF but I will say that this book may have you looking at your current relationships in a different light. There are stats included that discuss dynamics of relationships and how they reflect on your own self-worth and harmony in your life. I highly recommend even if you have your BFF 4 Life.