Nov 2012

How the hell are we supposed to make friends?!

After living in Manhattan for four years, and then moving to SF just over a year ago, every time I had visited NYC this past year, it felt like I was going home. When I landed in NYC last week, it was the first time I felt like a visitor.

I was visiting last week because I had two amazing events to attend, Nitika Chopra’s Bella Life Event (I was a panelist with some seriously badass peeps) and Marie Forleo’s Rich, Happy and Hot Live (Marie asked me to share my story to inspire the women attending, I felt like a rock-star. Here’s a pic).I saw a ton of old friends and everyone was asking me, “how are you settling into SF?” After I told them I felt completely at home, they asked…“What do you think it was?”“I have amazing friends.” I replied.

Of course, their ears perked up and they’d lean in like I had this amazing, epic secret.  They’d look around to make sure no one was watching and asked intently, “how’d you do it?”

In Live More Weigh Less (there’s some exciting info at the bottom of this email btw. check it out) I help the women identify the voids in their life that they are filling with food.  To my surprise, almost every single woman said that she was craving more female friends.

Women they can call out of blue and drive to beach with on a moments notice.  Women who will throw down an epic dance party in a parking lot. Women who will listen to you sob about your crash-and-burn date and not give you obnoxious advice. Women who get what your dreams are and cheer you on.  Women who can talk about God and the Kardashians.

I’ve read recently, both in Brendon Burchard’s The Charge and in Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project that one of the greatest contributors to our happiness as women, is female relationships.  Ironically, the greatest contributor to men’s happiness is …. female relationships.  We’ll explore that in a later post:)

So if female friendship is so important to our emotional well-being, and so many of us are craving more friends, why do some many women feel like they’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 NYC and again when I moved to SF a year ago, I have discovered 6 key strategies that will help you go from chatting with your cat on saturday night, to having solid group of super-fly girls to get into trouble with.

#1 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 that came into our lives so effortlessly, but now that you’re no longer doing keg stands together in your dorm hallway, and only see each other at weddings, it’s time to make some more friends and it’s not going to “just happen” this time.

#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, awesome, loving women in your life can make you miserable, which is going to affect your happiness at work, your food addictions are going to be stronger and you’re gonna be so dependant on your relationship that he’s 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 last June.  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 New Girl. What do you need to do in order to have “making friends” be your #1 priority?

#3 They call them facebook “friends” for a reason
I met 2 of my closest friends in SF on facebook.  I wish I was joking.

Here’s what I did: on my facebook wall, a facegroup 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, I 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 2 ladies, Jamie and Melanie are two of the coolest chicks I know.

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?”  or something like that.  Some people may think you’re crazy, but your future-friends will think you’re a badass and respond with gusto.

#4 You have to 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….

“I love your yoga mat! Where’d you get it?”
“Lulu lemon” (duh)
“Awesome, I’m Sarah”
“Caroline, nice to meet you” (in obvious british accent)
“Nice accent by the way! How long have you been in the states?”
“A while, I used to live in NYC but just moved here a few weeks ago.”
“No way! I just moved here a few months ago, you should join our NYC support group.”
“That would be awesome!”

Fast forward 6-months and we’re painting each other’s toenails (figuratively speaking).

I’ve also picked up my spin instructor, Claudine (turns out she teaches stylish, sexy cooking parties too- right up my alley).  I also got hit-on once by a girl, KK, who I went to college with, but didn’t know well.  She heard through the grapevine that I’d moved to town and sent me an email out of the blue introducing herself and we set-up a blind date.

#5 Making friends is like dating

After you hit-on your new friend, you have to plan coffee that week, or you’ll lose momentum.  Then after you have coffee, the following week, I think it’s best to do an activity together like check-out the latest exhibit at the art museum or go for a walk through an unexplored ‘hood.  Ask questions, try to be interesting and after your “date” be clear that you like them.  There’s nothing better than hearing that another women thinks you’re cool.

#6 Join self-improvement groups
I met my best friends in Gabby Bernstein’s group meditation class (it was really like group therapy). 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 four years later, we’re closer than ever.

I’ve made incredible friends at Nitika’s Bella Life Events and of course, in Marie Forleo’s Adventure Mastermind, which is why this past weekend was so fun for me.   I also know some of the Live More Weigh Less ladies have been hanging out in NYC, which makes me so happy.

Since you’re in my community, I’m assuming you’re into working on yourself, so I would really encourage you to sign up for some classes where bullshit isn’t allowed.  Chances are where you want to spend your time and money, you’ll meet women who are like-minded and just as fun and amazing as you are.

#7 Hang out with the women you’re jealous of
I internet stalked 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. As you’ve probably figured out, Nisha and I are thick as theives 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.

So who are you jealous of?  Have you considered that those women are probably the BEST friend material? I really encourage you to reach out to them and hang out.

On the comments below I want to know 2 things…

1. Do you have any friend-making tips for the rest of us?
2. What are you going to commit to doing in order to expand your friend circle?

I’m off to Sonoma for the weekend with my family! I hope you have an equally fabulous few days.



PS. I’m opening Live More Weigh Less for early enrollment at the beginning of January.  Amazing presents and an extended payment plan will only be available in January.  Last year, so many women told me that they wish they could do it but didn’t have the cash.  Here’s your opportunity so start saving! 

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  • Makena

    Hey Sarah,

    I just happened upon this post through Nisha’s Facebook and it is so perfect for what I’m experiencing right now! I’m in the process of moving from the East Coast (RI/NYC) to Orange County, and have been giving a lot of thought to how I will make new friends (especially empowered women friends) in this next phase of my life. In response to your two questions:

    1) I agree completely with all of your points, especially #s 2, 6 and 7. The only things I would add to your list are to tell everyone you know/meet you’re looking to make new friends (give a short description of the kinds of people you’d love to hang out with) and recruit them to help you meet people! It may sound silly or too simple, but it really works! Joining or starting groups or classes around your hobbies and interests (i.e. salsa dancing, photography, hiking) are also great ways to meet people.

    2) I commit to do more of #s 2, 6 and 7, and also to help all the amazing women I know connect with one another!

    Thanks for the great read!

    • Makena,

      I love the idea of telling people youre in the market for new friends, such a great idea. And YES, dance classes and other art classes are a great way to make friends.

      I love that you’re committing to help the women you meet connect with each other too. There’s nothing better than creating a “crew”.



  • Ok Sarah,
    I find it funny you said you were stalking Nisha, because I am stalking you:) and Nisha:)
    I have been following a number of strong, successful, enlightened entrepreneurs for years now and I see a little piece of myself in all these amazing people. I am working to start my own business which includes coaching, yoga, the passion test and more and I’m finding it hard. I’ve been hiding behind my computer trying to get my newsletter rolling and not really getting out there and meeting people. I moved back to NJ 2 years ago, after spending almost 6 years in CA. I loved it there and being a newbie I focused on meeting new people and I did. I have the most amazing group of friends over there. But since moving back east I’ve lost that spark I must admit. I’ve gotten lazy I guess. Thanks for reminding me it takes work and drive!

    • Erin, I love that you’ve been stalking me! I’m excited to check out your site. It sounds like NJ is where you grew up? I can imagine it’s easy to live passively when you move back home. I’m sure I will make the move back east again and I hope to approach it with the same energy as moving to a new place. I hope you’ll reinvest in your happiness and really make finding some girlfriends your #1 priority. xoxo

  • Sarah,

    As always, awesome post, and thanks a mill for the shout-out! I adore you. Always will.

    To answer your first question, I think one of my fave friend-making tips is to be generous. Focus on how you can give and be of service. Send a card, remember an important date someone mentioned and reach out on that date, bring that person into your existing circle of friends and welcome them warmly!

    I will focus on expanding my friend circle by nurturing the friendships I already have. I’d like to be more diligent with sending cards and spending time with my friends. I also want more male friends , so that’s something I’m paying attention to that as well.

    Thanks for the conversation, Sarah! You are a great friend, my sister. xo

    • Nisha, these are such amazing tips. Nurturing friendships are just as important as making them and require some attention. The card you sent me on my birthday was the perfect example of this:) Love you tons.

  • Sarah, thank you so much for this article! It was exactly what I needed to hear today. Like Erin, I’ve been working at home and isolating myself trying to start my own business. You have inspired me to get out there and begin to meet new friends. I’ve really been missing that connection with girlfriends lately since many of my friends are now raising a family and I find myself in a whole different world going in a different direction. I would like to get out there and meet some powerful like minded woman to hang out with. By the way, Erin where in NJ are located? Just sent you an email. Want to hang out? 🙂

    • YES!!! Marisa I love that you reached out to Erin here. This just made my week! I hope you guys will get together and send me a pic. I can completely relate to feeling like we need to stay focused on our biz and never leave the computer. But your business is completely dependent on your happiness, so I hope you’ll step away slowly:)

      Remember to find some time to connect with your old friends too. Just because they are at a different life phase, doesn’t mean you can’t connect. I bet they would love some sans baby girl time.



  • I love this post!!! I truly believe in the power of lady friends! One place that women seem to be forming great friendships (although I have yet to try it) is Zumba. I have heard great things about the amazing, supportive energy there.

  • Renee @ photography + doodling + motherhood

    Oh wow!! This post is awesome and something I needed. There isn’t much being talked about on this topic…a topic I need help in. You nailed it Sarah! I’ve been out of college for 12 years now and I met some great friends when I became a teacher and when I went to the institute for integrative nutrition…but my husband is in the military and we move a lot so all my great friends aren’t close by and I have to start from scratch every time we move and I am a mama to 2 kiddos under 3 so I have out my online biz on hold. But I too felt isolated behind my computer trying to get my own biz started. I’ve gone out to moms groups when I first moved but none panned out …I have many conferences I want attend but can’t right now but I know one day I’ll go!! But I crave awesome local friends and I was beginning to struggle on how to meet friends since I’m not working right now. So this was helpful and ill take it with me every time I move and start over in a new area now. 🙂 but I so agree!! I miss having awesome and uplifting friends close by…it definitely brings more happiness in my life…something I never realized until the past few years.

    • Renee, hopefully this gave you a little kick in the butt to get out there! I find that if you take the lead, women are so thrilled to connect and it can be really easy with a little effort. Start slow and be consistent. I know it will pay off!

  • Amanda

    This is crazy! I am going through this exact thing and have been thinking about how to make friends. This came at the perfect time, thank you! The weirdest part is, I just moved to Sonoma! Have fun here this weekend! It is a beautiful city 🙂

    • Amanda, so glad this was helpful! And we loooove sonoma. I also met some great women who work at Scribe this weekend, you should go say hi! xox

  • Haley

    Awesome, inspiring post, it left me thinking, this is a topic that comes up sometimes with my husband and with other girlfriends whom I love but never just pick up the phone just to call for a good talk, I definitely want to work on this as an *independent*I don’t want to ask for help*do everything on your own kind of girl* who can sometimes be shy and insecure this can be tough, is it sad that after reading this I looked through all of the FB posts from the town I live in and didn’t find anyone whom I was really jealous of or thought I need to go make friends with them, eek! BUT I’m not even kidding when I say that someone I totally FB stalk and find to be a complete inspiration – though she lives across the country just added me as friend and send me a private message, AMAZING and again had me coming back to leave a comment. Making friends has been added to my to do list!

    • Haley,

      How synchronistic! Make sure to read my response to Marisa about old friends, they know you better than anyone! Also, know that you can be independent AND ask for help/reach out. This shows your strength. Vulnerability is sexy:)

  • Great post, Sarah. I too have been thinking about attracting more awesome, uplifting women into my life. One way that I like to meet friends is through groups, classes, etc. I’ve met so many amazing women in Marie Forleo’s b-school (we have our own group for SoCal/LA). I’ve been thinking about taking a fun healthy cooking class, photography class, and getting back into scuba diving (a love that I “haven’t had time for” lately). I think finding friends with similar passions makes for a great relationship and lots to talk about.

    Conferences and women’s events are fantastic. And I’ve met one of my closest friends on Twitter. Meetup.com can be great too… although if showing up solo makes you nervous, this might be best to try with at least one other friend.

    I commit to reaching out more and making myself more openly available, both to the friends that I currently have (that I don’t get to see very often) and new ones. And in particular I commit to #5 and #7.

    • SCUBA! So cool, and I bet a fab place to meet people. I love all these tips. I love your intention of being open and available, such a great reminder for all of us!



  • Loved this Sarah! It was such fate that we met through Facebook! I have always loved that we have such a similar outlook on making friends. Otherwise, we would have never met! As a fellow transplant I know how important this can be to feel at home and happy in a new place! So happy we found each other! xo!

  • OMG me too! I would lose my mind without you:) So glad our experience has proved so valuable for others.

    Love you!

  • […] blown away by the number of thank you notes I’ve received after last week’s blog post on “How the hell are we supposed to make friends!?”. I’m so happy this topic resonated with so many people.  If you haven’t read it yet, you can […]

  • Sarah! I received this post in what seemed like PERFECTLY divine timing!
    I was at RHH Live (and briefly introduced myself, I finally got a chance to watch your LiveMoreWeighLess videos – they are brilliant).

    I love this post so much because I am SO jealous of you and Nisha! … I’ve been following both of you for awhile and you are both super inspirations for me.

    I moved here last year from SF … and while I do have a handful of really great friends from high school, I am still definitely lacking in the friend department … and I wish I had a group of likeminded, driven, soul-girls in my life in Denver.

    In order to be pro-active, I am going to:
    -find some likeminded groups on Meetup.com and get actively involved
    -start attending networking events for young professionals in Denver
    -commit to attending a few conferences and women’s events a year (I’m going to create my list right now and tack it up on the wall – if you have any suggestions I am all ears!)
    -sign up for B! SCHOOL!

    Thanks so much for the actionable and inspiring post 🙂

    Big love,

  • Audra Ainley

    This was fantastic! I just recently moved from CA to Chicago (because of a boy, well man boy… gosh, it’s been hard to admit it to my independent self..and others:) But for the past 5 years I’ve had the most absolutely fabulous group of girlfriends back home. It started after re-locating from college in socal and chatting with a friend of a friend. We literally became best friends over talking about our love of grocery shopping. Yes, grocery shopping. I found that in making girlfriends someone has to be bold about it. Be pro-active. I became closest with three of my girlfriends by driving past their house, then deciding we had hung out enough for me to knock and say “I totes (joke) stalked your car out front and wanted to eat my Chipotle… here”. Et voila! And the friendships got deeper as we really supported each other at events, life, etc. It was the little things that they noticed that got me so hooked on girlfriends! Needless to say, moving out here for a boy and leaving my great group of girlfriends AND my fantastic job has really messed up my groove. I’ve been in a total funk and this was the best little kick in the butt… I’m going to commit to get my groove back in the things I can control and by being open to finding some awesome new girlfriends!

    Thanks for the conversation, it was needed! PS Chicago ladies- I’m here, let’s get coffee in the red holiday cups!


  • Thanks for this post Sarah!
    I have been on a quest to find friends since reading this post. Connecting with family members, friends and past co-workers that I haven’t talked to much since moving back home has been a great move. Sometimes you don’t realize how many friends you already have.
    Also, my 1-year-old son and I signed up for a mommy-and-me gym class. I thought it would be super easy to find friends there. After the first class of awkwardness, I came back to your post to get some ideas on how to get the other moms to warm up to me (we jumped in at the end of the season, so the other moms have already gotten to know each other).
    I have decided that next class I am going to work on #4 and pick me up some new girlfriends 🙂

  • Omg I found this article at the perfect time, better yet it found me. I’ve been focusing on building my business lately and have been feeling a serious need to connect with likeminded women. I need my tribe! I’ve been in NYC a few months and have made a couple of friends (seriously 2) but I need community!
    So I know this is an old post but if by chance someone awesome in the NYC area sees this comment and wants to hang let me know!

    • Krissy

      Hey Rosi! I am in Vermont, but also building a business and would love to connect with a likeminded woman like yourself! Im on facebook:/krissy.leigh.ruddy

  • Krissy

    Great post Sarah! Thanks for always giving us such great, supportive, and well thought out advice. I have been holding yoga/dinner nights at my home with some amazing ladies the past few months and I look forward to it every week. When you combine women, yoga, food, and the occasional glass of wine beautiful things do happen! This reminds me that I need to keep this energy going and even though life is busy. I am also starting a business and working full time and teaching yoga and making and supporting friends needs to be made a priority too! Or else who am I going to share this amazing life I am creating with ;)?

    1. Have women to your place and share a talent or skill (cooking lesson, yoga lesson, art lesson, etc). Make it a regular thing!
    2. Im going to keep rocking the yoga dinners at my place and encourage people to bring a friend (and we’ll find a way to fit them in)

  • Sarah, I love this post, and found it particularly applicable since I’ve totally been internet stalking YOU! (And Nisha… lol..)

    Striking up the courage to reach out to women whose businesses and lives you respect and admire takes a ton of courage, but it can definitely lead to lifelong friendships and that absolutely necessary camaraderie with like-minded, fabulous people.

    I think we often get bogged down in the thought process of “She’s so fabulous, I’m sure she has a ton of friends already.. why would she need one more?!” Which is kinda ridiculous. Who doesn’t want more inspirational and amazing people in their lives, right?

    Creating (or finding) a community of amazing women in NYC is one of my major goals for 2013, and you’ve given me a great action plan on how to make it happen. Thank you! So sad you’re a west coaster now ; ) But hopefully we can connect when NU Health & Wellness goes bi-coastal in the next few years!

    Lots of love!

  • Ranie

    Great article and soooo close to what I am looking for. I’d love to see something like this for dating. Particularly for women mid-late 30s in a crazy town like Los Angeles. Something other than online dating sites … Oi! We’re not in college anymore, but even the fun, outgoing personalities out there seem to have the hardest darn time meeting guys organically. Ideas?


  • Hi Sarah,

    Loved the post. Nisha actually recommended I read this after I went through her Take Action Flight Guide. I live in Hattiesburg, Ms and can’t remember past college when I had a good solid friend. I tried making friends when my husband and I lived near his parents, but folks were so different than I’m used to. I want to find like-minded folks but all I found were folks stuck in the same routine day in and day out.

    Would you have any advice for finding folks that don’t drink and how to find some of a particular personality type?

    I love the idea of searching Facebook for groups and will be doing that today. I’ve tried meetup.com but haven’t found much. The area is pretty…. dry. I may look for meetups or whatever south of here along the coast (bigger areas).

Sarah Jenks

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