National Girlfriend Day
Today is National Girlfriend Day, but one day is definitely not enough to celebrate the importance of friendships.
After you graduate school, your circle of friends may dwindle as everyone moves in different directions with their careers, relationships, families. It isn’t quite as easy as it used to be in college when everyone met at the same bar for happy hour. As your priority list begins to stack up, hanging out with friends can easily fall to the bottom of the list. Or maybe you’re still down for Sunday brunch, but your girlfriends are the ones who have other engagements.
As a therapist and in my personal life, I have spoken to countless women who are longing for connections with other women. Either they have moved to a new city for a job or man and don’t have a social circle yet or their old tribe has grown apart. It’s no wonder that we are looking for friendships, even as adults, because they provide a support system and a much needed break from the daily demands of life. And sometimes you just need someone to laugh about it all.
Making time in your schedule to foster friendships is challenging, but imperative because they actually impact your mental health and well being. After I found out I was pregnant, I reached out to my Mom friends and I can’t tell you how comforting it was to hear their advice, reassurance and to have someone to vent to who “got it”. Processing a stressful situation with a friend and talking about possible ways to move forward is healing. No need to keep up the perfect facade with true friends. Try not to be afraid to be a little vulnerable and let your friends get a glimpse into the real you. It makes you closer. Being on the flip side and offering support can feel really rewarding, as well.
Are you the weak link?
Maybe you have good intentions to reach out to girlfriends, but there is never enough time in the day. Set up a monthly coffee or lunch date, so it’s already penciled in. This may seem drastic, but I know of a friend who puts reminders in her phone to reach out.
Do your friends live in different cities?
Start a group text with your friends so you can all stay connected. Sometimes it’s much easier to send a quick text about the amazing new gluten free recipe you made or the stupid thing your boss said.
Schedule a time to skype and do everything you can to not flake. Treat it like you were meeting them for lunch.
Plan trips to see each other with plenty of time in advance. Take turns visiting each other or pick a fun destination spot.
What if you totally get the benefits of adult friendships and maintaining a social life, but have no girl gang in sight?
I moved to LA from Chicago for my husband’s job and had zero social connections. I had lived my entire life in Chicago and had maintained friendships since high school, so I never really had to put myself out there to meet new people. I knew I needed and wanted a social life in my new home, so I stepped outside of my comfort zone and attended some meetup groups and joined a book/brunch club. It was so refreshing to meet new people to learn about and learn from. It can be anxiety provoking to meet new people and may trigger some insecurities that bring back flashbacks of high school. Just remind yourself that you have a lot to offer in a friendship and no one is judging you as harshly as you are. If you’re feeling like your social life is lacking, I share some tips to meet new friends as an adult here.
Beautiful photography by my new friend Jonilyn Brown.