Why do most of us women put friendships aside for our relationships? We can have a bunch of girlfriends, but as soon as we find a potential mate, we put those friendships on the backburner. We, as women, tend to place so much emphasis on finding love and marriage that our relationships with our women friends often suffer.
We find our bliss with being with our new boyfriends or mates. Every one of our waking moments is spent thinking about being with them or actually being with them. We are often so in love that we can't see past our mates and tend to lose ourselves in the relationships.
Our friends hear from us less and less. We hang out with them, if our man wants a night out with the boys. But, we don't initiate time with them as we used to. Our focus gets narrower as we begin to plan our life as part of a couple. At this point, we rarely spend time with our friends and begin to identify ourselves through our relationship.
Then, once we have children, it becomes even more difficult to nurture our girlfriend relationships. We become so busy managing our family lives that we can't figure out how to include our friends anymore. But, then one day we wake up and ask ourselves, “Where did I go?" We realize that we've gotten lost in our relationship.
You see, part of our overall wellness depends on the bonds that we have with our peers. And your mate, most likely, isn't nearly the equivalent of a girlfriend (unless you can communicate with him like you would a girlfriend - now, come on!).
We may find ourselves falling into a place of discontentment, thinking, “Wow, my mate still maintains his friendships, while I only have a girlfriend or two, and I don't even see or talk to them very often. Where did all my girlfriends go?"
If Sex and the City teaches us anything, it should be how to maintain our friendships? We should place importance on maintaining our ties with our girlfriends. If we haven't nurtured those ties like we should have, then we need to start doing it now, by reconnecting with them through dates; i. e. lunch, dinner, movies, girlfriend weekends, etc. But what if we need to establish new friendships? How do we go about finding them?
Remember how easy it was to make friends when you were a little girl? You usually found someone who looked like they had something in common with you, chatted with them for a little while, then popped the question, “Do you wanna be my friend?" It was just that simple. We received a yes and were off to the playground.
Why has adulthood tainted our approach in making new friends? Oftentimes, we women approach establishing a new friendship in the same regard as finding a mate. We want to give people certain criteria before they can move into the realm of being our “friend". We may subconsciously have a checklist. They have to have this (check). . . this (check). . . and this (check), and definitely not “that".
Then, if we don't have enough women in our circle who meet those criteria, we say that it's too hard to find any good women friends. What we sometimes fail to realize is that no one friend can be all things to us.
We have to have that friend who knows all about fashion and one that teaches us how to take better care of ourselves. Then, we have to have a friend that can help us find our spiritual center and one that can show us how to have a good time. And, finally, we should have that older friend with wisdom and a single-without-kids friend (so we can live vicariously through them). These are just a few examples of how friends can play different roles in our lives- and you can play a role equally important in theirs.
Sometimes, when approaching women that we may be interested in connecting with, we may feel a little uneasy expressing to them that we would like to get to know them better. We may not want to appear desperate or get rejected. But putting ourselves out there to get to know other women is the way to get new and interesting people into our lives.
Once we start connecting, we have to make an effort to keep in touch with them, just like you would if you were getting to know someone for any other reason. Here are a few ways to transition a new acquaintance into a friend.
1. Contact them once a week or every two weeks just to see how they're doing;
2. Initially invite them to coffee or lunch; &
3. Invite them to events or outings that may interest them.
You should learn pretty quickly whether the woman you're approaching is receptive to your friendship. And most women will be receptive. And, if they aren't, would you really want them as a friend anyway?
So, this is your task. Find at least three new women in the next 30 days that you can connect and develop a relationship with. You can find them through your work, organizations that you participate in, or through your child(ren)'s activities. You'll be happy you did and your life may just feel a little more fun and fulfilled.
Lynn Lawson publishes One Funky Mama, an online guide that encourages moms to live fuller lives. Sign up for the semi-weekly ezine at http://www.onefunkymama.com and you'll be happy you have that extra little push to make your life more fulfilled.