When I first moved to Chicago, I took a job that turned out to be a disaster. I was to be the senior editor at a new luxury magazine. The job, and the magazine launch, kept getting pushed back, until the company decided to have me "train" in their Florida office so I wouldn't up and quit. For six weeks, I spent Monday through Friday in Miami, utterly miserable. I had just moved to Chicago to end a long-distance relationship, and here I was, in a city I hadn't signed up for and further away from Matt than ever. When I finally decided to quit, I needed to first run the idea by anyone and everyone whose opinion I valued. Matt's response was, "I can't tell you what to do, but I'll stand by your decision regardless." A textbook supportive answer. But what I wanted was someone to talk it out with me for hours. To say, "You should quit" or, even, "You shouldn't." Naomi, who herself had quit a job recently, stayed on the phone and walked me through the different scenarios, letting me talk out how I would make a living if I put this Miami disaster behind me. My oldest friend, Sara, said: "Of course you should quit. You're miserable! You're young! Work at a bakery." I needed someone who would listen as I repeated myself in case a new thought came up. Someone who would tell me what they already knew I wanted to hear. Though Matt said everything right, I got the emotional support I needed from my friends.
I've been in Chicago for two and a half years. Obviously, sitting around waiting for friends to emerge naturally isn't working. It's time to turn this mission up a notch. I'm looking for a Kate to my Allie. Thelma to my Louise. Oprah to my Gayle. No one's knocking down my door. If I want a new best friend, I'm going to have to go get one.
I could take out a want ad. Craigslist perhaps. "MWF Seeking BFF: Must live in Chicago. Must not bring her dog to lunch dates. Fluency in Entertainment Weekly
preferred but not required." I know all about that Craigslist killer, so maybe I'll start smaller scale. I'll actually call or email the women I've met with whom I've exchanged the requisite "We should get together!" I'll approach the girl at Barnes & Noble or yoga. Who cares if she thinks I'm hitting on her? I'll wear my wedding ring—that'll clear up any confusion.
It's time to get out there. Play the field. Dive into the world of serial friend-dating. Let's just hope I emerge in one piece.
Rachel Bertsche is the author of MWF Seeking BFF
. Follow along on her search at MWFSeekingBFF.com