It’s really hard to keep up with my girls since we live all over the country these days, and because of that, I feel like I don’t have many close friends anymore. In order to expand my circle, I’ve been asking women out on “friend dates” to see if we click as potential BFFs and it’s been working out surprisingly well.
It feels like I have fewer opportunities to make genuine new friendships. When I was younger, making female friends was effortless. I went to all-girls schools growing up and played sports on all-female teams, so I had endless options for girlfriends. It was a lot harder in college and after graduation for me to establish real, meaningful friendships with other women. I think I took for granted how easy it was to make friends as a kid because it’s been a total struggle in adulthood.
I need a group closer to home. The good news is that my closest friends are scattered all over the country so I have great excuses for vacations. The bad news is that different time zones make it hard to connect on the phone, we have radically different schedules, and it can be burdensome to keep up. As much as I rely on my girl gang for life, I realized that I do need a close group of girlfriends closer to me to rely on too.
I’ve been overlooking potential new friends simply because I haven’t put in the effort. Looking back, there are definitely women that I could have become better friends with if I wanted to. I just didn’t know how to do it, and I also didn’t put in the effort. I’ve always thought that friendships happen organically, and while they totally can, I’m realizing that you get what you give in friendships, just like in romantic relationships.
I’m starting with women already in my life that I want to get to know better. I’ve been putting in the effort to let them know that I’m interested in getting to know them. I’ll text them more than usual just to spark up a convo. If I work with them, I’ll stop by their offices in the morning or afternoon to chat. If they work out at the same gym as me, I’ll talk to them before or after class and see where the conversation goes.
I ask them to lunch or coffee and treated it like a date. After building a rapport, I then asked the person in question out for coffee or lunch. It’s always nervewracking because I don’t want to be rejected, but part of making new friends is putting yourself out there and being vulnerable. When we go out, I don’t necessarily pay for their meal or coffee but I do make an effort to keep my phone away, give her my full attention, and ask her questions about her life and background so I can get to know her better.
I use these opportunities to see if we have friend chemistry. You know that rare feeling you get when you truly click with a chick? It’s like you’ve known her your whole life, you finish each other’s sentences, your entire friendship is one big inside joke, and you just feel like you can tell her anything? Well, that’s what I crave in a new friend and that’s what I look for when we grab lunch or coffee. I look to see if we laugh at the same things, if she gets my humor, if she hates the same things I do, whether we can gossip shamelessly, whether she would be fun to go out dancing with, and if she shares my outlooks on life. Friend chemistry is everything.
If I don’t find friend chemistry, I know they she’s just meant to be my acquaintance. I’m at a place in my life where I don’t want to waste my time on people who aren’t going to add any meaningful value and usually I try to make that determination after my friend dates. I pick women who I’ve already established some familiarity and rapport with, hoping they could be more than an acquaintance, but sometimes I’ve left knowing that I’m not meant to be besties with some people. It’s happened a few times but I don’t regret it at all.
It’s nice to spend one on one time getting to know someone new. This process has afforded me the opportunity to sit down with someone new and get to know her on a deeper level. It’s refreshing to talk to someone new for a change other than my boyfriend and close friends. New people bring fresh perspectives and I value that a lot.
If we hit it off, I leave feeling really excited about having a potential new best friend. Like I said, making new friends is challenging for me, but I’ve acquired a few from this process! One girl actually told me that she was happy that I made the first move to hang out because she had been wanting to get to know me better too. So there you have it, ladies! If you vibe well with a girl at work or at the gym, muster up the courage and ask her to lunch. You might find your new best friend!
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