November 08, 2012When Jennifer Raybaud and Melissa Emanuel first met, they didn't like each other — at all.
Raybaud found Emanual to be too tight and Emanual thought Raybaud was "fluffy."
Now they are best friends forever.
Raybaud said the pair met at an American Business Women's Association networking event where members were encouraged to get to know each other.
"We went out for coffee, did what we had to do to be part of the group, but just didn't like each other," Raybaud said. They tried it again last summer "and we actually got along."
Occasional coffee turned to lunch and other activities, with the women meeting at least three times a month.
"By January, I was hooked. I told her 'you are my best friend.'
"If I could find a new BFF at 45 years old, there's an opportunity for other women."
Raybaud said she's perused studies indicating women over age 30 are very lonely.
"Nobody wants to admit those high school friends aren't a fit anymore," she said, adding women don't know where to go to meet other women. Some are simply seeking someone to take walks with or share a hobby, she said.
"There's mentoring for business, speed dating to find a potential mate, but there's nothing to just meet a new friend," she said adding that inspired her and Emanual to create the first Begin Finding Friends Now event from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, at The Sport Channel, 25419 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores.
"It's dinner and a ladies night out," she said. "We don't want people to be whipping out business cards; that's a complete and total 'no.' We don't want anyone to prejudge."
During dinner, participants will hear how Raybaud and Emanuel met and later have one-on-one chats based on conversation starter cards.
"They'll be really fun questions that are poignant and deeper than 'what's your favorite color,'" Raybaud said. "There is no time limit; this isn't like speed dating."
After the event, participants can join the BFF Facebook page where they can contact women they are interested in getting to know better.
Comments left on the page will help Raybaud and Emanuel determine if there's a common need Ė— such as a desire to find someone interested in perusing antique shops — and schedule events as a group.
"We just want people to meet new people and feel good after the event," Raybaud said.
The cost is $14.95 in advance and $19.95 at the door and includes a buffet dinner and a ticket for a drawing.
To register, visit lose yourexcusenow.com or call Raybaud at (586) 491-8969.