How To Make New Friends ('Cause You Only See Your Old Ones At Weddings!)
In my signature program, Live More Weigh Less Mastery, I help women identify voids in their life that they're filling with food. To my surprise, almost every single woman said that she was craving more female friends. Women they can call out of the blue and drive to the beach with on a moment’s notice. Women who get what your dreams are and cheer you on. Women who can talk about God and/or the Kardashians.
So if female friendship is so important, and many of us are craving more friends, why do many of us feel like we're lacking ladies in their life?
Simple: most women believe that making friends should "just happen." But the reality is that making friends requires the same amount of time, focus, scrutiny, and effort as building a business or finding a husband.
In my experience of making new friends in New York City and again when I moved to San Francisco two years ago, I've discovered these key strategies that will help you find solid group of super-fly girls.
1. Remember: You’re not in college anymore.
Long gone are the days when you were forced to bond with your roommate or field hockey teammate because you were sharing a bunk bed or a gym locker. We’re so lucky to have those sister-like compadres who came into our lives so effortlessly, but now that you only see each other at weddings, it’s time to make some more friends and it’s not going to “just happen” this time. You have to start with the mindset that you have to put in some effort.
2. Making friends needs to be your priority.
It may feel like the need to “make friends” is a little fluffy. And focusing on work, losing weight, and your romantic relationship (or finding one) is more important, but the reality is that NOT having a strong community of fun, loving women in your life can make you miserable, which will affect your happiness at work, your food addictions are going to be stronger, and you’re gonna be so dependent on your relationship that your partner is gonna think you’re super needy.
So I suggest you make finding friends your #1 priority for a while. I moved to SF the day after I tied the knot. I had some major wedding blues and was feeling homesick, confused and uprooted. I knew that I wasn’t in the right headspace to be fully committed to growing my business, so besides coaching my current clients and posting one or two blogs a month, I took a 3 month sabbatical to focus all of my energy on making friends.
Now, I know this is a little extreme (but that’s how I roll) and you do not need to quit your job in order to make friends, but you may need to shift some priorities around in order to make this happen—like working out in the morning instead of at night or catching up on your TV shows on Sunday morning and not spending your weeknights with The New Girl.
3. Use social media. (They're called Facebook "friends" for a reason.)
I met two of my closest friends in San Francisco on Facebook. I wish I were joking.
Here’s what I did: on my Facebook wall, in a group titled something like “awesome women entrepreneurs” and the “SF Wedding Professionals” group, I posted: “Hey, I just moved to SF from NYC, anyone wanna hang out?”
Literally, it was that blunt and simple. Out of the 3,000 peeps I reached with that post, 2 answered. I could’ve gotten moody that only .0006% of my community wanted to hang out (obvi not everyone was in SF) but instead I decided to believe in “friend fate” and as it turns out, those ladies are two of my closest friends.
If you haven’t just moved to a city, another example of a FB post could be: “I’d love to meet some of you in person, anyone wanna hang out this weekend? Bowling anyone?”
Some people may think you’re crazy, but your future-friends will think you’re a badass and respond with gusto.
4. Learn how to “hit on” and “pick-up” friends.
You know when you’re single and every hot guy you see at the grocery store, in spin class, or parked at a stoplight, you think “OMG maybe that’s my future husband, I hope he notices .... oh no, there he goes, out of my life forever, damnit!” OK, maybe that was just me, but my point is that the same acute awareness we have of bumping into a potential boyfriend, we need to start having with finding lady friends.
Wherever I go, I always have my cool-chick radar on. I eavesdrop, stare and always park my yoga mat next to the lady who looks the most out of place. Then I make my move….
Me: I love your yoga mat! Where’d you get it?
Future friend: Lulu-lemon (duh)
Me: Awesome, I’m Sarah.
Future Friend: Caroline, nice to meet you. (in obvious British accent)
Me: Nice accent by the way! How long have you been in the States?
Future Friend: A while, I used to live in New York but just moved here a few weeks ago.
Me: No way! I just moved here a few months ago, you should join our NYC support group.
Future Friend: That would be awesome!
Fast forward six months and we’re painting each other’s toenails (figuratively speaking).
5. Treat it like dating.
After you hit on your new friend, you have to plan coffee that week, or you’ll lose momentum. The following week, I suggest doing an activity together like check-out the latest exhibit at the art museum or go for a walk through an unexplored neighborhood. Ask questions, try to be interesting and after your “date” be clear that you like them. There’s nothing better than hearing that another woman thinks you’re cool.
6. Join self-improvement groups.
I met my best friends in NYC in a group meditation class. When you’re telling a group of random strangers your deepest secrets and biggest flaws and all they do is breathe deep, smile, and radiate healing “love and light” your way, you can’t help but fall in love with them. We started to make an effort to hang outside of class and now six years later, we’re closer than ever.
The women I work with are always making great connections and organizing get-togethers in person. I always create a “no BS” vibe which attracts the most down-to-earth fun women. You’re welcome to join us if you want.
7. Hang out with the women you’re jealous of.
I internet stalked another coach, Nisha Moodley for months. Everything about her drove me crazy. Her perfect website, perfect writing and perfect body. Then out of the blue, Nisha sent me an email asking if I wanted to have lunch and do a teleclass together. Oy vey. Turns out she was internet stalking me, too.
Nisha and I are thick as thieves and no one pushes me more into my zone of excellence. I was jealous of Nisha because I saw so much of myself in her. We now use our similarities and reverence as fuel to be the most amazing versions of ourselves and are running a world-class retreat together this fall.
OK, your turn! Do you have any friend-making tips for the rest of us? What are you going to commit to doing in order to expand your friend circle? Let me know in the comments. I can’t wait to hear!