Once you get past a certain age, making friends with new people just doesn’t seem to happen as naturally. Sisterhood being part of our mission, we’ve got your back, girlfriend. Whether you’re new in town or are just looking for more directions for your roots to grow, these tips for finding female friendship will have you squad-bonding in no time.
The Importance of Girlfriends
You make eye contact. Maybe smile, maybe not.
Both of you want the same thing…and you know it.
After a couple seconds of deliberation, you make your move.
“Can I use the red crayon?”
“Yeah! We can share.”
And THAT, my people, is a quick guide to making friends in Kindergarten.
Growing up, I always gravitated towards the males. It wasn’t because I was “boy crazy,” I just found them easier to deal with. They didn’t ask questions, they had incredible imaginations, and they always wanted to do fun things like climb, explore, and get messy.
In junior high, I ran into a LOT of friend trouble, all of which could be traced back to trying to fit in with the girls. At one point my “best friend” decided she didn’t want to hang out with me anymore because she “didn’t like the way I walked.” Apparently, I had too much swagger for her to handle.
In high school, I finally wised up and focused on quality over quantity. It took a bit, but I was able to find myself a SOLID batch of friends who I still consider my second family. That group, though, was once again made up of twice as many guys as girls. Those few girls were (and are) the REAL DEAL, and I would be lost without them.
As a grown woman, I’ve come to sincerely appreciate and cherish those female friendships. Guys are fantastic; they can be honest, accepting, and won’t bullsh… you. But there is a bond between females that can’t be replicated. Girlfriends are important. You need to surround yourself with company who can relate to you, understand those tidal waves of emotion that crash into your soul for no apparent reason, and vibe with how you deal with them.
But how do you find these truly magical, #squadgoal-worthy gal pals and start making friends with them?
Get Out There!
After moving to a new city, starting a job, and adjusting to “adult life,” I quickly realized that finding new people and making friends with them would require a slightly different tactic than swapping Crayolas during recess. The places where I spent the majority of my day dwindled down to two basic locations: work and home. This was a drastic change compared to my social life in college, where I was surrounded by people 24/7. I needed to get out of the office, out of my house, and mingle.
1) The Gym
Gyms are great places to meet people, because right from the start you have something in common: the decision to exercise that day. My suggestion would be to focus on a gym that offers group fitness classes, not just machines or weights. That way you aren’t surrounded by headphone-wearing-don’t-talk-to-me-I’m-on-the-elliptical types (no offense to solo workout-ers). But if YOU become a regular, soon you’ll start to notice OTHER regulars as well. Push each other to do your best, go out for smoothies after, or try a new class together to relieve any nervousness. You’ll be building muscle AND a friendship. 🙂
2) Join a Club
But Beth…I hate exercising! Well, then, what DO you like?! Odds are, there are loads of ladies who like that same thing too. Books, music, tattoos, dancing, wine, scrap-booking, cats, scrap-booking pictures of your cats, whatever it is you are not alone. Sign up for a workshop, join a club, take up a new hobby or continue an old one! These are great because you will see the same people week to week, and since you already have a common interest, making friends will seem effortless.
3) Go Digital
In a world where mobile dating is all the rage, and relationships are just a swipe away, why can’t finding ladies to hang out with be just as simple?
Observe the Tinder app for making friends: Hey! VINA. Developed BY women, FOR women, this app’s main focus is to connect, empower, and celebrate women through technology. Users take a simple quiz of yes-or-no questions, and are matched based on their lifestyle, interests, and favorite activities. You can then swipe through your suggested matches (aka “vinas”), and select a friend. Hey! VINA even eliminates the stress of reaching out, by sending BOTH parties an introduction message suggesting the two meet in person. Unlike most dating apps, Hey! VINA wants their users to meet in real life as soon as possible, and will recommend places to go or activities to do based on each user’s preferences.
No matter which method you use, making friends isn’t gonna happen on its own. It’s on you (yes, even you introverts) to ENGAGE.
It may seem intimidating at first, but a simple “hello” could lead to something special. For example, the other day I was waiting at Starbucks for my drink, and instead of mindlessly staring at my phone, I turned to the girl next to me and asked “So what’s your drink of choice?” That lead to a nice little conversation about cinnamon caramel lattes, what her husband drinks, how often we visit Starbucks, and how cool their app is! So simple, kind of pointless, but we connected.
Quality Over Quantity
As I’ve grown, it’s become incredibly clear how important it is to surround yourself with people who enrich your life. I know so many women who have a GIANT group of lady friends…but are completely miserable. The constant drama, backstabbing, and childish behavior seen only in the worst high school teen movies is exhausting.
Women can be harsh. I get it. Believe me, I get it (see story above). But the beautiful thing about finding friendships as an adult is a lot of that petty, judgmental, cruel, and catty behavior has disappeared. You DON’T HAVE to waste your time on toxic people, because they are NOT WORTHY of you! Move on and find someone who is as great of a friend to you as you are to them. Friendship should be about community, not competition.
So instead of spending the weekend binge-watching Netflix, gather your friends and go on a date! Or call up that girl in your spin class and grab a coffee! Life is short, and when it comes right down to it, the people we love and spend time with IRL are all we have. 🙂