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TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER: Author chronicles 'dates' with female friends in 'MWF Seeking BFF'

There's an impressive number of friends on your Facebook page.

Nearly all your high school classmates are there. You've friended everybody at your current, last and one-before jobs.All your college chums are connected with you, as are two friends of your mother's, your mother, some old boyfriends, and people you don't know well but friended anyhow.

So who do you call when you need to vent about work or men? Who's always available for last-minute lunch?

When Rachel Bertsche moved away from her besties, she sadly noticed that the answer was "no one."As you'll see in her new book "MWF Seeking BFF," she went on a quest to fix that problem.

Anybody who's ever endured a long-distance relationship knows that three years feels like forever.

Being "very much over" that distance thing, New York writer-editor Rachel Bertsche packed her bags to join her boyfriend, Matt, when he was hired by a Chicago law firm in 2007. She'd gone to college in Chicago, so the Windy City was an "obvious choice."

Two years later, they were married but something was wrong: Bertsche's best friends were back in New York. Without a BFF in Chicago, life was pretty lonely.

Now, one could argue that Matt was her best friend, but Bertsche's husband was her husband. He hated shopping for cute clothes. He didn't like rehashing TV shows or gossiping about celebrities. Matt was a guy who loved ESPN. He was not the BFF Bertsche was looking for.

In December of 2009, it became clear that friendship with another woman wasn't going to mysteriously happen. It would take some work so Bertsche made a commitment: 52 girl-dates in 52 weeks.

She started with friend-of-friend introductions. She interviewed a psychologist for pointers. She blogged a want-ad, looked online, rented a friend for money, approached strangers, and joined classes, book groups, and an improv troupe. In her quest, she spent a small fortune on lunches and gained 10 pounds.

Somewhere out there, her BFF was waiting.

Can you ever have too many friends?Bertsche cites a study that says we can, that 120 friends is all the average person can handle. But if you want to challenge that theory, here's a fun place to begin.

"MWF Seeking BFF" isn't just about Bertsche's quest for a new best pal, although that's the main, lighthearted focus. For her, finding a new best friend was a lot like dating, and I found it funny that everyone surrounding Bertsche went along with the analogy.

While that search is the charm of this book, I also got a kick out of all the methods available to find friendship (RentAFriend who knew?) and the various ways we choose the people we befriend. Those additions make this book not just a search for a pal, but a paean to the pals we love.

This book is probably better suited to GenY readers but can surely be enjoyed by any woman who adores her bestie.If that's you, then "MWF Seeking BFF" is a G-R-E-A-T read.

"MWF Seeking BFF," by Rachel Bertsche, published in 2012 by Ballantine Books, is 384 pages and sells for $15.Contact Terri Schlichenmeyer at www.bookwormsez.com.