I am as social as they come and I am a total girl's girl, so when I find myself in a new situation: new job, new city, new baby, I know that the first thing I need to do is to find a community who gets what I'm going through.
Most people would look at my life and think, "it's just so easy for her to make friends." I have a lot of friends, from all parts of my life and they are all amazing women. But it's not that making friends is easy for me, it's that I prioritize it. I make time for them, I put in the effort, I have a plan.
So many of my clients and readers feel like they're short in the friend department, and are always telling me that they want to have close girlfriends, but it just feels so difficult.
A while back I asked my followers on Instagram and Facebook what their greatest challenges were when it comes to making friends. I loved their responses and all of them felt so universal that I wanted to share some of their responses.
"I don't have a lot in common with my friends anymore, should I move on and find new ones?"
I never think it's a great idea to "break up" with friends. I mean, if they are just awful people who make you miserable, go for it, but I see a lot of people leave their old friends because "they just don't get you" anymore. When I started my business, I felt a separation between my friends from college and myself, not because something changed, or they were terrible friends, they just didn't understand what I was going through, and I needed someone to talk to about it. When I had Marshall I needed to meet other Moms who had babies who understood the distress of getting up every three hours to breastfeed at night. I couldn't call my fellow, single entrepreneur to bitch about that daily. What's been so wonderful is that as I add ladies to my life who are in similar stages as me, I become closer to my older friends because I am not putting so much pressure on them to be everything to me. When we were young, a lot of us had a best friend who we did everything with, they were everything to us. But the nature of being a child is that we moved at around the same pace as the other kids our age. Adulthood is very different and I don't think we can put the same expectations on our friends.
"I just have no idea where to meet people."
First think about what stage of life you're in, and what types of people you want to meet. If you want to meet other women in corporate, I wouldn't go searching for friends at a 1 p.m. yoga class. If you want to meet other stay at home Moms, you'll want to talk people up at the playground. If you're an entrepreneur, talking with the woman next to you in a cafe on her laptop is a great idea.
Start with a question, "I like your top, where'd you get it?" "You baby is so cute, how old is he?" "That sandwich looks delish! What is it? I'm totally getting that."
Chances are they will ask you a question back. Then you say (boldly). "We should totally get coffee sometime! What's your number?" or "I'll be back here tomorrow at 2pm, want to meet up?"
I've met fantastic women at yoga, cafes, whole foods (I know, amazing), breastfeeding class, restaurants, lectures, retreats, on Facebook... seriously random places. You just have to keep your eyes open and be very friendly.
Then make your meet up that week, then again the next week, then (this is the important part) get them together with other people. Go on a group walk, or have lunch together. Community builds lasting and deep friendships.
"I'm worried a new friend will just end up betraying me, I always seem to get burned."
I think fear of betrayal has a lot to do with what I talk about in the beginning about making one friend your everything. Friends are not romantic partners. The reason why we (normally) have one romantic partner is because it's a lot of work! But we are meant to have more than one friend. This isn't always the case, but whenever I hear a story about someone being betrayed or burned by their friend is because one of them was treating the other like a partner, and one of them was treating the other like a friend.
"Am I too much for people?"
A very brave and amazing woman posted on Instagram that she has cancer and is scared that people will feel like being her friend is "too much." I think it's important to have an energy of "This is my life, but I am strong, I am independent and I am not needy." I have friends who go through challenges, and they never expect me to fix them. Sometimes I feel pressure to have all the answers for them, but I'm working on pulling back. I know that if I want to support and take care of a friend, it comes from love and a desire for me to care for them. It makes me feel wonderful to take care of them. I have had a really difficult time asking for help in the past because I don't want to feel like I'm "too much" but now I see that helping me brings my friends happiness. I also know that if someone can't help when I'm having a bad day, it doesn't mean they're an awful friend, they just have to take care of themselves right now.
"I'm worried if I reach out, I'll look stupid, or awkward and they'll think I'm weird."
Everyone feels like this. I feel like this all the time. It's leftover playground drama. Sometimes you will look foolish, sometimes you won't. It's not a big deal. Life is no longer a contest for popularity, it's just a game of "are we compatible? Do we like each other?"
Maybe if you seem awkward, the other person will think, "Yes! Someone who is as quirky as me!" and you have instant comfort with each other. Most women want to make new friends and most women are scared to do it. I promise that if you make the first move, she will be forever thankful.
Here's what I want you to do, go start up a conversation with a new friend by the end of the day tomorrow. Be nice, be bold, be awkward. It's ok. In the comments below I want to hear why making friends is difficult for you and a possible solution.
P.S. Click here to check out my free online workshop to help you get out of Body Jail with my non-diet approach to Live More, Weigh Less and Feel Amazing In Your Body NOW.