It’s been over two weeks since I’ve blogged… mostly because I was on a retreat to plug away on my book manuscript all last week and a girl can only produce so many scribbles at a time! I’m still trying to replenish my ideas and words.
While on a a group coaching call on Monday night for my 21 Days of Friendship Curriculum– during the live Q & A I found myself saying to the women on the call “If you are looking for new friends then put away your fishing line and pull out a net.” So welcome to today’s rant.
A Friendship Fishing Line
Friend-Fishing with a line is where a woman stands on her metaphoric boat, with her limited bait (time/energy), and hopes someone swims by and jumps on her hook.
This method could work if you have a wide repertoire of friends in your life, feel fulfilled with the depth of multiple relationships, and are looking for one specific type of person (i.e. someone to go running with me around the lake twice a week, someone else who is going through a divorce right now too). With that kind of specificity– you can strategically pick the bait that attracts that particular type of fish… er, uh friend. Meaning you’ll know exactly where to go to cast your line: Where do those type of people hang out? How can I increase my odds for meeting her?
Then in these cases of line-fishing, you’ll care less if she isn’t the same age as you, sharing similar religious beliefs, and claiming the same interests as you… because what you were looking for was someone to run around the lake with you, not to become your BFF.
A fishing line allows one fish at a time. You stand there and hope. And then you either need to be okay with pretty much whatever you hook, or you have to be ready to make quick judgments and throw them back in the water to go free. And then stand there some more, throwing your line into a big ocean.
It’s not an impossible way to find friends, but it’s time consuming and rarely effective for the majority of women who actually have room in their lives for a couple of really close friendships. Research shows most of us have only one person we’re confiding in, but that we’d be happiest if we had a small handful of people. While we feel time constraints– we actually need several more varied friends in our lives.
If that’s true for you…. you can’t hook 3 people and expect those three people to become BFF’s. That’s like saying you’re only going to go on one date and expect that person to be the one you choose to marry. It can happen, but it’s not likely. What we need is a wider approach.
A Friendship Fishing Net
A net approach invites us to recognize that we will need to meet many, many different women, experiencing a pile of options, before we will know which ones have the potential to become the friendships we’re hoping to develop. Like a funnel, we can invite in many and trust that the narrowing down process will happen as we move forward. Our odds increase exponentially based on how wide of a net we start with!
A net approach reminds us that we need more than one friend so we can practice saying yes, more than we say no. Yes to events. Yes to new things. Yes to doing things in groups. Yes to her even if we don’t see the obvious commonality yet. Yes to people who are different from us. Yes to her even if she is a different age, a different life stage, or a different personality.
As one of my clients said on the phone “The truth is I could talk myself out of not asking just about everyone I meet, if I let myself.” Isn’t that familiar?
But it doesn’t have to be. If we change to a net approach then we start giving ourselves reasons to talk ourselves into people. At least temporarily. We don’t have to be able to see the end with them (are we going to be BFF’s?) in order to start the journey. We can almost always find something curious about the other.
A net approach reminds us that we can be more expansive, ratter than more selective. That we can withhold the need to make immediate judgements. That instead of showing up with a “Prove you’re worth my time/interest” approach, we can show up with a “I want to see what’s interesting about you” approach. That we can let more people into our lives, not less. That we have room. Room for more love, not less.
We hold the wisdom to know that the more people we meet and the more we try to connect with them in meaningful ways will produce more consequential options for us down the road.
Be Expansive, Not Selective.
At this stage in our lives, when we know how important it is to invite friends to journey beside us– we have to keep telling ourselves “I don’t have to say no to everyone who doesn’t immediately seem to fit everything I’m looking for.” I can say yes to several and trust that collectively, my needs will get filled.
Maybe right now you don’t need one person to be everything as much as you need a few people to share the job description? The good news is that we don’t have to be all-knowing right now. We don’t need to know if they will say yes before we ask them, if they will like us before we know if we like them, if they will have enough in common with us before we get to know them.
All we have to do is say yes to finding out.
May you put your net out, saying to the Universe that you are more open than you’ve ever been to the platonic love that is waiting for you.