MWF Seeking BFF: Must Live in Chicago

Published: March 18, 2010 | Last Updated: March 18, 2010 By | 1 Reply Continue Reading

Rachel Bertsche left her oldest and dearest friends behind when she moved to Chicago for love. Now that she’s settled in the Midwest, she’s on the hunt for a new best friend. She says if there were no such thing as online predators, she’d post a want ad on Craigslist: "MWF Seeking BFF: Must live in Chicago. Must not bring her dog to lunch dates. Fluency in Entertainment Weekly preferred but not required." Instead, she’s doing it the old-fashioned way-getting out there and introducing herself to one potential Bestie at a time. Her blog,, chronicles her quest. MWF Seeking BFF, the book, will be out in early 2012.


(Rachel is the woman in the middle of the picture with her high school friends.) Thanks, Rachel, for contributing the guest post below. We can’t wait to read your book!


For as long as I can remember, I’ve surrounded myself with best friends. In fifth grade, there were seven of us. We called ourselves LYLAS (Love Ya Like A Sister). We wrote on each other’s binders and sang obnoxiously loud to En Vogue’s "Giving Him Something He Can Feel" during recess. Senior year of high school, I shared a yearbook page with my four closest friends. Nine years later we took a "Senior page!" picture at my wedding. By the first quarter of my sophomore year of college, I could have told you whom I’d live with when we were seniors. When that time came and we all moved into a house together, people started referring to us by our address. "Is 1113 coming?"


Despite this, or perhaps because of it, whenever a change is on the horizon the fear of feeling friendless is my foremost concern. The night before I left for college, I tiptoed into my parents’ bedroom, as surprised as they were by the tears I couldn’t get under control. I’d been eager to head off to school since I was 16-it’ll be like summer camp!-and suddenly the idea of not finding the perfect group had me inconsolable. I found dear friends, of course, as we all do that first year on campus. There’s nothing like dishing about mid-terms, frat parties, finances and drama-filled romances (I thought we were a couple! Turns out we were friends with benefits!) to forge lifelong friendships.


So when my boyfriend and I moved to Chicago to end the long-distance aspect of our relationship (he’d been in law school in Philly, I was working in New York), the fact that I didn’t have Besties in the Windy City wasn’t lost on me. Almost all my close friends, including two lifelong BFFs, were in New York. But by 25, I’d had enough experience meeting new people that I’d figured a new set of best friends would emerge naturally. Besides, after three years away from Matt, all I cared about was that we were in the same zip code. I’d deal with the friends part later.


Almost three years later, it’s, well, later. Matt and I are married. We have great jobs, an apartment I’ll never take for granted after living in an East Village six-story walkup, and close family blocks away. We’ve set up a life as close to perfect as I could have imagined when we concocted this plan, except one thing. I never did deal with the friends part.


As it turns out, the post-college, pre-baby phase is the exact wrong time to make new BFFs. The workplace may be a relationship breeding ground, but after spending five long days together, the weekends seem to be reserved for those you can’t eat lunch with at the office cafeteria. The friends I’m looking for are of the grab-Sunday-brunch-at-the-last-minute variety. Women I’ll call to say, "Do you have an outfit I can borrow for tonight?" or "Want to grab a drink?" or "I’m in your neighborhood, can I come up?" I want someone to sit and analyze every potential purchase, awkward run-in, and celebrity debacle that took place that week. I’ve met plenty of women I could email to set up dinner in a month, but if Matt has to work late on short notice, I’ve got no one to invite over to watch Glee.


Lifelong friends can’t be replaced, and no matter who I find (or don’t find) in Chicago, my closest friends will always be my closest friends. But BFFs can be supplemented, because no matter how great a heart-to-heart over the phone is, there’s something much less isolating about bonding face to face.


I’ve accepted that college is over and BFF bonds are no longer formed over dorm room fries or Wednesday night study groups. If I want a local best friend, I’m going to have to go find one. As with the hunt for anything that’s lost, my search starts now, with a single question: If I were my BFF, where would I be?


Any suggestions for Rachel? Feel free to post them below!

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  1. starrlife says:

    Irene- did you know that we have to populate the fields every single time we comment ? 🙂
    I think there is a way to set it up so that it is automatic after you put your name in or something.
    Anyway- It sure sounds like Rachel has a gift for friendship especially in groups so I’d suggest a committee for a local event, getting on the board of something that interests her, her kids school. It is exceptionally hard to find the kind of friends she is talking about when you work full time outside of the home since you end up scheduled up the yin yang. To maintain close friends takes time and after kids it seems like it’s about whoever you are thrown together with. Sometimes it clicks, sometimes not. Sigh…. I guess what I’m mostly saying is it’s hard but Rachel seems to have a knack and it will probably happen if she works on it.
    I’m available but I’m in VT!

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