As we age, finding meaningful friendships gets harder and harder. Shasta Nelson, founder of the new national friend-finding network GirlFriendCircles.com, is an expert on the subject. Here, she shares with momlogic her top ten tips for meeting new buds.
1) Own the opportunity. No shame, ladies: Be proud that you value friendship enough to actively search it out!
2) Use your resources. Who do you know? Offer to help them host a dinner party with their friends. E-mail all of your friends across the country and ask them if they know any fun women in your area they can connect you with. Look through your friends' local friends on Facebook and introduce yourself. Follow locals on Twitter and see what events they're inviting people to attend.
3) Practice friendliness. If you just hang out at home, your friends become the characters on the shows you watch! Even if you're shy, you simply have to get out and about. Decide what places feel authentic for you wherein to practice friendliness. Some examples: association meetings, lectures, networking events, the dog park, church, poetry readings, cafes, classes ....
4) Affirm other women. A compliment from a women sometimes means more than one from a guy! No need to talk about the weather: Start conversations with the things you noticed: her hair, outfit, confidence, laugh .... We like people who like us!
5) Suggest a "date." Making small talk with someone after yoga is hardly the same thing as making a friend. As you meet women that you want to get to know better, take the friendly chat to the next level. Try this: "Wanna get a drink after class sometime next week?"
6) Be specific about your availability. The disease "We should get together sometime" can ruin a potential friendship. Instead, try saying, "I'm available for happy hour most nights, or for Sunday-morning brunches. What works best for you?"
7) Ask personal questions. "Personal" doesn't mean "private"; just make sure conversation is about the two of you. Don't waste an entire evening discussing celebrity gossip, the latest movies or dates-gone-bad. You may temporarily feel like you've bonded, but you haven't shared you. Ask her why she appreciates where she works, what she looks forward to becoming, what she loves to do and what her highlights have been in the last few months.
8) Share the positive. It's been proven that we want friends who improve our happiness and health, not those who bring us down. Get over the notion of crying on each other's shoulders -- you haven't earned that right yet! Be warm, be positive, be open ... be someone she wants to spend more time with.
9) Follow up. We're less than thrilled when guys don't call for a week after the first date. Give the same respect to the women you connect with by texting or e-mailing your thanks -- and your interest in hanging out again.
10) Follow up again. It takes a minimum of six connections with someone before we feel "close" to them. Why spread those out over a year if you can make a friend in two months of weekly get-togethers? Momentum helps the bonding process, so get together as often as possible.
If things don't go well at first, remember that, like dating, it's somewhat of a numbers game. Just as, after one bad date, you wouldn't declare that dating doesn't work, you shouldn't give up on finding a new BFF just because your first attempts didn't develop into friendships
. Research has shown that our friends impact us more than our spouses, so treat friendship-finding with the sacredness it deserves. Don't give up!