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). 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!
Simple actions to take your life back, know your worth & feel alive no matter how drained, overwhelmed and far gone you feel.