What I Learned After Committing To Prioritizing Female Friendships
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Making friends in your 20s and 30s seems so much harder than it was back in grade school. I have so many fun memories of childhood summers spent hanging out with friends, having sleepovers, and bonding at various summer camps. Now, life in my 20s is busier, more stressful, and it's challenging to find time for myself, let alone solid friendships.
As women, we need friendships and social time way more than we realize. According to the Mayo Clinic, socializing helps combat feelings of loneliness and helps sharpen memory and cognitive skills. Although I didn't need a study to prove it, numerous studies have suggested that female friendships can help increase levels of happiness and well-being and possibly even help you live longer.
Committing to a Summer of Friendships
I'm a sucker for those movies and television shows that feature the lives of a close-knit group of girlfriends — something that always seemed so out of reach for me. After spending a lot of time at home and being isolated from friends and loved ones for the past year, I was craving more human interaction and connection this past summer. Luckily, a group of ladies at my church decided to commit to meeting up and spending time together every other week.
This was just what my soul needed. Growing up, we moved around a lot. While I made friends, I never got to develop strong long-term relationships with them. Social media was only just in its beginning stages so there wasn't really any way to keep in touch over time.
As an adult, I've found myself longing for more deep-rooted friendships with other women. But when you factor in work, kids, appointments, and other responsibilities, spending time with friends can easily fall low on the priority list.
Over the summer, I was able to prioritize and nurture some of my existing friendships through the pact we all made. We set up a text group to plan and coordinate our schedules.
For me, it was about more than just meeting with a few women I wanted to get to know better so I wouldn't be navigating life alone. Yes, oftentimes we'd go out to eat and talk. Other days, we'd do activities like Topgolf and split the cost among the group.
In my opinion, though, true friendships are built on just more than doing things together. That is just one aspect; women also need positive connections with other women along with a trusting relationship that welcomes vulnerability. If I have a rough day at work or my kids get on my nerves, it's important to have the opportunity for “girl talk” and get support from women who can empathize and be a source of encouragement.
Solid friendships take time to build, but seeing and communicating with your girlfriends regularly can help you get off to a great start. After a summer of ‘hanging out” and sharing a lot of great memories, I'm excited to go on a ladies’ retreat later this month and keep building those relationships.
More importantly, I feel as though I have gained a bit of my social life back, whether I want to meet up with someone for dinner, text someone to share a great podcast I just found, or drop by a friend's house with my kids and play in the yard.
Tips on Making New Friends as an Adult
I understand how hard it can be to find your tribe once you're well into adulthood. There’s no school, summer camp, or neighborhood gathering to bring us all together especially if you’re busy working, raising kids, or pursuing other passions. Here are a few of my favorite ways to make new friends as a busy adult.
Join a Meetup
Local Meetups are fun and a great place to build a connection with a potential new friend. There are Meetups for everyone no matter what your interests are. You can even attend a virtual Meetup to start if you're more introverted but want to take that first step.
Take a Class
Getting out of your comfort zone and signing up for a class can easily help you meet more people. Plus, if you're in the class together, you'll already have something in common. I've taken kickboxing, cake decorating, exercise, and crafting classes in the past — all of which were great places to meet friends.
Expand Your Circle
You can also meet new friends through existing friends. Consider planning a dinner and inviting several girlfriends. Have each of them bring a friend as well to expand your group so you can build more friendships.
Don't Stop Trying
Maybe you've made some efforts in the past to be friendly and meet people. Maybe you've had some friends who hurt you. It's okay to mourn a friendship loss or take some time to yourself, but also realize that as humans, we are wired to desire human connection and friendship. Don't stop trying to befriend others and join groups with people who share your interests. Especially as women, female friendships can help keep us happy, feelheard, and stay sane during a hectic week. What's more important is that when you show yourself to be friendly, good friends will find you.