On Making New GirlfriendsDanielle Hampton

“I like your dress.” “Want to come over and play?” “We should switch lunches!”

If only these friend pick-up lines worked now. I mean, I’d love to switch you lunches. I’m sure the hummus and pita you’re eating is exponentially more delicious than the quickly-thrown-together-while-Henry-is-napping turkey sandwich I’m currently eating. But I bet if I was to randomly ask you that, you’d probably be a little freaked out.

So, why is it so hard to meet friends as adults? For one, I think it’s because we all have an extra lot of “friend baggage”, a whole heap of stuff we’re carrying around with us from previous friendships. And the older we get, the more we have. All of our friend baggage affects us in various ways, but especially comes into light when meeting new people. Perhaps you’ve been burned in the past and are hesitant about opening up to a new friend, or maybe you feel getting to know someone is too exhausting because the last new person you met left you feeling drained and annoyed. This baggage changes the way we move forward when meeting a potential new friend.

Like any relationship, romantic or otherwise, girl friendships take work. Setting aside your baggage and opening yourself up is tough. I’m so lucky to have quite a few fabulous, long-term ladies in my life, but I think most of you would agree that it can be hard to put yourself out there when meeting new people. I thought long and hard about it though, and put together a few little pointers that have helped me.

1. Be your true, authentic self. This one seems like it would be obvious, but when you meet new people sometimes we can fall into the trap of a) wanting to impress, or b) wanting to agree. Just be you! If you aren’t 100% yourself when building a relationship it absolutely will not last. Your real self has to eventually come out, and when you all of a sudden can’t stop talking about how much you love Law & Order she might get super freaked out when you originally told her you were all about CSI. Oops!

2. Put yourself out there. So you like working out? Take some new classes. Step aerobics, spinning, maybe even a swim class. I met a great gal pal at the gym and we still meet regularly to exercise together. Like attracts like, and if you’re in a place that makes you happy, you’re bound to meet others with similar passions. Consider joining a club, attending a class, or even starting your own group. I recently saw a book club’s sign in our local coffee shop advertising “a new way to meet hip, literary chicks.” OMG. Sign me up.

3. Speak up. It can be hard to strike up conversation with a stranger, but put it this way: if you went into the situation without having this person as a friend, the worst that can happen is that you’ll leave without them too. You can’t lose. So why not make some small talk (it may turn into a great conversation!), throw your potential friend a genuine compliment and see what happens. Perhaps you noticed a Troop Beverly Hills DVD sticking out of her bag, maybe you saw her thumbing through some Anne Sexton poetry, or you somehow recognized your favorite Aesop Rock song coming out of her headphones. By all means, say something!  Don’t let your possible new BFF pass you by.

4. Say yes. By nature I’m actually kind of a no person. I like my time. I like spending my time how I want and the last thing I want to do is spend my precious day in a “maybe” situation. “Maybe” I’ll have fun. Or ugh, “maybe” I won’t. Saying yes causes a whole lot of maybes to be released into your world, but sometimes that’s a good thing… because maybe, just maybe, you’ll meet a radical new friend.

5. Don’t be afraid of making “online” friends. Okay, with this statement comes a whole lot of caveats. Just like when you were a kid and your Mom warned you not to take candy from strangers or hop into a van with the promise of a puppy inside, you need to be safe online too. Don’t give out personal info, meet anyone offline on your own, you get my drift. But for those who have a good head on their shoulders, today’s online world is a great place to meet like-minded individuals right in your area. I’ve met some of my most favorite people through blogging, Twitter, and even Instagram, as crazy as that sounds.  Now, most of these girls were already mutual friends of my “real-life” friends, but even so, our relationships were totally strengthened through talking everyday via our social networks. In fact a few months ago a whole bunch of us met up in Las Vegas for an amazing weekend. While out together people would ask us how we all met and when we’d say “the internet!” with huge smiles on our faces some of the reactions we got were priceless. It may have a funny stigma attached to it, but I guarantee you that if you’re open to meeting people this way your new best friend might just be waiting for you…on the other side of the computer screen! Just make sure she’s not really a 45-year old man living in a basement. Or a van. Offering you candy.

Happy new friendship-ing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1499869361 Kristen Rhian Farragher

    Great post! I really struggle making girlfriends, I’d say I have one really close friend and I don’t even see her that often. I like how you mentioned a book club, I’m new to the area I’m living in and really want to meet new people, that would be a great way to do just that!
    Keep posting because you’re awesome Danielle. Xoxo

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  • http://www.facebook.com/zelina Zelina Garza

    great post Danielle and so true. I feel it’s harder to make girl firends you can trust as an adult but le’s be honest I’ve burned quite a few times

  • http://www.facebook.com/susie.f.elliott Susie Elliott

    This is a great post! I just recently moved to Boston with my boyfriend and trying to meet new friends is hard! I joined meetups and am trying to get myself out there on social networks to meet people. I also started reading MWF seeking BFF (mentioned in a post above) about a woman who moves to Chicago for her boyfriend and goes on a year-long quest to meet a new BFF. I highly recommend it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/julia.t19 Julia Titze

    I so needed this. Thank you so much. I recently find myself having a few problems with finding like-minded non-drama girlfriend. my poor boyfriend has to put up with me complaining that no one likes me and I always end up “borrowing” his friends. And they are all male, and meeting them is so much more relaxed. There is no need to be act artifical, cute or girly. But seriousely they are no casual, easygoing male students attending my classes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mschulman7 Michele Schulman

    I met my present roommate/new best friend online and it amazes people how we are so close even though for the first three months of our friendship we had never met in person!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joiseydani Danielle Dadamo

    This was a great post and some sage advice! I employ #2 a lot in my life and my friends have called me the Queen of Talking to Strangers. By my constant talking to strangers I have met an awesome letterer for DC Comics, various friends who follow professional wrestling, numerous metal chicks, and so on. I have had my trouble of meeting new people/making new friends recently so by myself reading this post maybe I need to step it up!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=556321430 Ashley Smith

    I SO need this! I could definitely use some chica friends. My only problem is I’ve tried the “I love your shoes, they’re so cute!” thing and around here I seem to get a snooty “Oh…thanks…” and then that’s it. =/ I attract the drama girls…but maybe putting some of these into motion will help me find someone more at my maturity level.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KrystenHartenstein Krysten Hartenstein

    Most of my girl friends these days are friends I’ve made online, mostly through blogging. It’s a great way to make friends as an adult and I’ve met some amazing people that way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarcinator Sarah Shelton

    I totally identify with the post. I find myself lacking in girlfriends lately, so this was pretty helpful! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=505444444 Liz Shepherd

    This is a great post, really inspiring. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who struggles with meeting new people and forming new friendships.
    Thank you :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/jenniferannbirge Jennifer Bible

    Seriously just what I needed! Sometimes I feel like the only girl in the whole world that has ‘friendship baggage’ (awesome term!!) and also the only girl who has a hard time making friends as an adult! It just seems so easy for others, but yay, I don’t feel like such an outcast now! Thanks Danielle. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.cantutrump Rebecca Cantu Trump

    Such a great blog article! I am blessed to have different friends in different facets, but I think I can still learn to grow in an area like #4 – saying yes! I love my “me time” but I think I could also have lots of fun by saying yes a bit more :) Thanks so much for sharing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/steffym12 Stephanie Martinez

    You are awesome! I do have friends, but I have noticed I do not have any friends that are into the same things I am, and I do have a hard time making new girlfriends, but this will definitely help!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=728641203 Dot Wright

    Thanks for the article! It is hard to make friends when you’re an adult, but I’ve made a few through work and dance class in my twenties. My other tip is to treat it a bit like you’re dating – as in, if you really like someone, tell them! When I first started hanging out with a girl outside of work hours, one of us would usually email or text the next day to say what a good time we’d had and how glad we were to have met each other. Sounds silly I guess, and we don’t really do it anymore because we’re real friends now, but it reaffirms a mutual respect and liking in a nice way :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1290720097 Dawn Grimes

    I need to print this out and keep it in my purse, seriously.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1261067447 Mhairi Ledgerwood

    Hello giggles, you have read my mind. Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=580677626 Gina Gonzalez Schanel

    Thank you — such great timing! I just moved. I”m definitely older but still like new friends: )

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=223307425 Lorna Speed

    I’m really glad I saw this today, I have been thinking lately I need a new female friend (cant bring myself to say girlfriend, as I’m British and it sounds weird to me!) as I live in a rural area and my friends have all moved away. I kinda doubt I’m gonna meet someone like minded but I’m gonna try anyways and hope it works

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=152501101 Emily Johnson

    This is a great article! I was just talking to someone the other day about the ups and downs of trying to make new friends. I had someone tell me maybe I should act like I dont care.. play it cool. I told them the only problem with that is that I’m NOT COOL. Hahah.. I smile at everyone and I’m quirky and am just not one for being “cool” but that I’m a great friend so hopefully that will be enough :) And you know what I think it will be!

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