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10 Steps for Meeting & Making New Friends
September 23, 2010 @ 12:15 PM
In romance, we know that there are stages from looking for someone to marrying them, but somehow when it comes to making new friends we want to go straight from having them introduce themselves to us on our doorstep and then become our BFF. LOL!

Here, GirlFriends, is a reminder that there are steps, some ideas to help inspire the process, knowing that we simply have to step into the process to bring the intentionality of real friends into our lives. You'll notice that what I care about the most isn't you simply finding more people to be friendly with as much as I want that small talk to turn into friendship. So while the typical advice of self-help experts is simply to join a book club or gym-- the truth is that just helps you meet people, which isn't the same as developing friends.

So here are the steps to ensure you're starting with the meeting and ending with the friending.

  1. Own the Opportunity: No shame ladies-be proud that you value friendship enough to do something about it! Be proud of yourself.
  2. Use your Resources: Who do you know here? Offer to help them host a dinner party with their friends. Email your friends from across the country and ask them if they know any fun women in your area they can connect you with since you're new! 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 hang out at home, your friends become the characters on the shows you watch! Even if you're shy, you simply have to decide what places feel authentic for you to be practicing friendliness: association meetings, lectures, networking events, the dog park, church, poetry readings, cafes, classes, etc.
  4. Affirm Her: Compliments from other women almost mean more than from guys! No need to talk about the weather! Start conversations with the things you noticed about them: their hair, their outfit, their confidence, their laugh. We like people who like us.
  5. Make the Ask: Just making small talk with someone in the locker room after yoga is hardly the same as making a friend. As you meet women that you want to get to know better you have to take the friendly chat to the next level. Try this: "Wanna get a drink after class sometime next week?"
  6. Be Specific with your Availability: The disease of "we should get together sometime" can ruin the best of potential BFF's. Instead, try "I'm usually available for happy hour most nights or for Sunday morning brunches-what works best for you?"
  7. Ask Personal Questions: By personal, I don't mean private, but make sure conversation is about the two of you. Don't risk an entire evening gone to celebrity gossip, latest movies and dates-gone-bad. They feel temporarily bonding, 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 in your new city & what her highlights have been in the last few months.
  8. Share the Positive: It's a proven fact that we want friends to improve our happiness and health, not to bring us down. Get over the notion of crying on each others 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. If it were a guy, we'd be less than thrilled if he didn't call for a week after our first date. Give the same respect to the women you connect with by writing an email or text of thanks and interest it getting to know her better.
  10. Follow Up. Again. And, if it were a guy we were interested in then we'd clear our calendar to find the very next time we could pull off another rendezvous! Let's just say it takes 6-10 times of connecting 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 bond- keep getting together as frequently as possible.
And ladies, remember it's somewhat a numbers game. Just as you wouldn't go out on one date with a guy and declare that dating doesn't work doesn't mean that you should give up on friending just because your first attempts don't develop into friendships. This is as important as finding romantic love (some research shows that our circle of friends impacts us even more than our spouse!) so treat it with the sacredness it deserves and weight it in your life as a priority.

Best to you as you step into friending this weekend! Talk to you next week! ;)

p.s. If you're interested, I also wrote a blog last week for talking about the friendship between Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston inspired by their appearance together on Cougar Town.

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