I was originally going to talk about mom friendships but I realize there are a lot of people that aren’t mothers that could definitely benefit from discussing female friendship in general. So I want to talk about female adult friendship that so many of us need and crave.
I am not a friendship expert but when I’ve asked what my followers want to see, I have been surprised to see that this is the most frequently brought up topic!
How to make friends? How to feel more confident around other females? etc. So I asked my followers to ask specific questions surrounding what they are struggling with and I have never seen a response this big before!
As far as my female friendships go, I was bullied a lot outside of my circle but I have always been blessed with having a couple of key people in my life that were good friends but I have also had experience with bad friends. I have hit phases in my life where I have been hurt in friendship or where I have been lonely. As women need to be proactively making new friends because we need emotional support IN PERSON. I want to discuss how to make friends, how to keep friends, and how to cut out toxic friendships.
Sometimes we think we have all the friends we need, but be open to the idea that you could use more female friends in your life. I definitely value quality over quantity but it is good to have multiple people you can go to, while also having consistent key people that you have throughout your whole life.
Some of you are satisfied with where you are, that you don’t need female friendship, that is a great place to be! But I want to challenge you, think of the possibility that you might need more.
Let’s discuss where to find friends, when I was a kid I was spoiled with a good group of neighborhood kids that stuck together, some of us even went to college together and those are friendships that have been easy for a long time. Recently, I was listening to a podcast on friendship and she related that friendship is like a rose plant at first it needs a lot of care and attention and time to really get its roots planted deep, but once you have that it requires very little maintenance and it thrives. We should seek those kind of friendships. Spend time investing in friendships now so that as you go through other phases in life you have the emotional capacity to take on new friendships because you have other friendships that are in the “root” phase already. I love that analogy! Because I have friends that I don’t see for a long time, when I do see them it’s like we instantly click and it’s like it was yesterday that we were close and best friends; we don’t even skip a beat. You’ll know you’ve found a good friendship when you have planted those roots and realize it takes very little time and energy to maintain it, even after long stretches of time.
So WHERE do we find adult female friends? When I had my first baby, I was working full time and I had single friends and was close with my sisters but when I quit my full time job… I was home with a baby and all of my friends that were still single were out doing there thing while I was home all day.
I felt lonely and sad.
I would look out the window and see moms hanging out together at the park and I felt sad that no one would invite me. On my church Facebook page I saw a photo of several moms all hanging out with their kids and I felt angry. At church the next week I had the feeling that “you need to invite someone” and realized it was up to me to reach out. I saw a mom sitting by herself so I sat by her and started asking her questions, and she was in the exact same situation as me!
You’ve got to realize someone isn’t all of a sudden going to knock on your door and ask you to hang out, you’ve got to put yourself out there! My suggestion is, if there is something going on in the community, SHOW UP! I have realized that offering to help out is a great way to connect, when we moved to a new place I remember asking a mom if I could help out with her kids and offered for them to come over and play with my kids sometime. She brought them over and that was the start of a friendship. So look for people that need help, serving people is a great way to connect. To this day, she is one of my “root” friends. Sometimes people will take advantage of you, and it is hard and it hurts but I was able to learn what a good friendship was vs. a bad and manipulative one.
First, look around you and INVITE people!
If you are at home wishing you had friends, be the one to invite. Change the idea of what you think your friend might look like, in your head they might be your age, with your exact interests. But open your mind to the fact that they might be older or younger, shut out the idea of a specific demographic. Everyone has something of value, don’t let age, or title get in the way (stay at home mom vs. working moms etc.) Don’t rule people out!
Once you have invited people, I suggest inviting multiples, learn their name! People love to hear the sound of their name, it feels personal and they will feel more comfortable.
Be interested, not interesting. Be interested in what they are saying, learn what makes them happy, learn about their family, their interests etc. and they will eventually do the same with you.
Ask three questions for every one thing you say about yourself.
We only get 24 hours in a day and we get to decide how to use that time. Every minute that I give someone is taking away from something else, I am very protective of my family time and my work time so when I am giving time to friends that gossip about me or belittle me, what I am then doing is giving away my most precious commodity.
Time is precious to me and it should be to you too!
If I am sitting and talking with you, you are someone I care about. Removing toxic friendships is protecting your time with the people you love, the people that uplift and love you as well. Removing toxic friendships can be gradual, it isn’t rude, it is establishing boundaries. You can talk to them in person, but don’t make follow up plans. It is slowly deciding you won’t put more time and energy into that relationship. It can be hard to realize that a friendship is expired, but it is necessary. It can also be hard to be on the other side of that (your the one that is removed), cut your losses and always be kind. It is out of your control. There is a book called He’s Just not that into You about dating and a lot of what is discussed in the book can be applied to friendships, if h/she’s just not that into you, cut them out.
Here is how I know when I have found a good friend:
I feel safe.
I feel protected.
I know they will defend me.
I will feel uplifted and supported.
Another sign of a good friendship is when it is not that hard. I know they are a good friend when I don’t have to come up with small talk, we can sit in silence and just be there.
How to know if its a toxic friendship? Feelings like jealousy, insecurity, dread, critical energy, and a lack of trust are present.
When everyone interacts with you, they are combining their experiences with their experience with you and putting it into a mold that tells them who you are. There are parts of me and versions of me that just do not work for people, and that is ok. We wish everyone could like us but that’s just not realistic, there are people that don’t like you and that is ok! If the person is a family member you can still uphold boundaries, decide the things you will talk about, try to find the good in them, and be ok with the fact that they may not like you.
All we have control over is the love we give, not the love that we receive.
I hope you find this helpful as you try to establish female friends. Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or would like additional insight.