Monday, August 18, 2014

Finding Friends Who Really GET You

I never had close girlfriends growing up. I grew up with brothers and I found guys to be safer, less likely to reject me. Ok, I did have one best girlfriend in high school, but she broke my heart abruptly in college, affirming my distrust and disease in opening up to other females. Anyone else feel like it's hard to get close to other women?

I had friends, sure, but not a "BFF" as I so desperately wanted, someone I could talk about my deepest darkest stuff with. So I felt very alone. And very crazy. And very weird. My best friend was my journal.

Women are social creatures. We affirm each others' experiences, we find power in numbers, and we process emotions with one another. Even when you're naturally an introvert, like me, who needs time by yourself... women friends are priceless. They keep you grounded and sane. They remind you of who you are and what matters, even - or especially - in your toughest moments.

As an adult, I've had to let go of my stories about befriending women. I've had to allow myself to open up to having women friends, to decide that I wanted women friends.

And I've intentionally gone out to find them. Here's how:

Finding Friends Who Really GET You (A Road Map):
  1. Know what you want. Like attracting an ideal partner, it pays to know what you want in a friendship. And then let it go. People don't always look or show up the way you think they will.
  2. Go where they gather. I used to find women's communities and social groups and said yes to invites from friends who I thought would run in the circles I wanted to be in.
  3. Be bold and introduce yourself. It takes some vulnerability and getting out of your comfort zone to make a new, authentic connection. Most people go out hoping for this, so dare yourself to make the first move. Be yourself, not a people pleaser.
  4. Look for 1 person to connect with. Someone you resonate with. Ask them out on a tea/hiking/dinner date AND get it on both your calendars before you leave. Follow up. It's kind of like dating or networking for friends!
  5. Rinse and repeat. Decide what worked and what didn't and get back out there. This is a growing process, remember. Don't take "no" or "busy" personally and don't push something that's not happening. When the right person appears, you'll both feel it and the friendship will blossom in a way that feels natural and easy. Focus on building a community, a network for yourself, not on finding "the one."