Happy New Year! It’s a bright, shiny new year, and it’s often a time when we take stock of our lives, reflect on the past year, and consider where we want to grow and change. We set goals, create plans, and map out our strategies.
In the midst of all this creative, visionary goodness, consider this:
What’s your friend situation?
This might not be on your radar screen of things to consider, but you should.
As women, we are relational beings. We thrive on connection, and there is a need, as women, for connection with other women. We need community. When we have other women in our lives who we feel connected to, it enriches and enhances our sense of well being and happiness. We have someone who understands us. Relates to what we’re going through. Listens to our feelings, concerns, doubts and fears. Research indicates that as women, when we are stressed, we need to ‘tend and befriend.’ This means that when life gets overwhelming, our natural response is to nurture those around us and reach out to others.
However, what often happens is that when life gets stressful and too busy, we isolate. We act in direct opposition to what we naturally require. We don’t make time for our friends, and we hide out at home. We spend our time on Facebook, looking for connection, but it leaves us feeling empty. Our need for connection goes unmet, and this only adds to our stress.
As busy women, it’s vital to maintain a strong support group of friends. Also, if you want to be more successful in your career, having a good network of women in your corner will help you achieve this. You will feel their support, have a shoulder to cry on when you need it, and a kick in the pants when you need that too. You will always have someone to call when the kids are driving you nuts. You will have someone to talk to when your life seems overwhelming and you don’t know what to do.
So here’s what I want you to consider, as you set your goals and map out your year.
What kind of friends do you want?
You might have some friends that just aren’t cutting the mustard. Maybe they’re a bit toxic. Unsupportive. Critical. Judgemental. When you go for more in your life, some of your friends won’t go with you. Not everyone will be along for the ride, and that’s okay. As you grow, you will outgrow some of your friends.
It’s time for a friendship detox.
Take stock of the friends you have. Keep the ones that are truly there for you. The ones that you know for certain will support you, be there for you, and encourage you to keep on truckin down the road of awesomeness that you’re on. The ones that you are committed to being the same for them. They’re gold. Keepers.
If you have some friends that are holding you back, or bringing you down, it’s time to let them go. Because, let’s be honest….they aren’t true friends. This doesn’t mean you have to have a big showdown with them, or even say anything. That part is up to you. You only have so much energy to invest in others. Make sure you’re investing in ones that give to you as much as you give to them.
Once you’ve done your detox (and probably some Facebook un-friending), it’s time to look ahead.
There are women out there who are dying to be your friend. There are women out there who want to blow in your sails, make you laugh till you pee your pants, cry with you, hug you till it hurts. There are women out there who are meant to be in your inner circle, who will enrich your life more than you ever imagined.
How in the heck do you find them?
Here’s a few ideas of how to find your new besties:
- Join an online group. There are tons of groups out there, full of women just like you. (like this blog!) Find a few groups that line up with your wheelhouse and join. Contribute. Show up. Be real. You will find lots of women who are looking for the same thing you are. And the reality is, you can build an awesome support group online. I have found amazing, dear, lovely women online who I now count as some of my best friends. They’re out there!
- Get involved in your community. I know, you’ve heard this one before. But it’s true. Volunteer. Join a business networking group. Get involved in the arts scene. If you showed up for one function or event every month this year, you will be amazed at who you will meet and the friends you will make!
- Attend workshops or courses. This is a great way to meet people. Sign up for a workshop or course about something you love – wine, travel, learning a new language, painting – and you will meet tons of other people who love it too. I joined a training club for a 10K run, and made a few great friends in the process. Getting fit and making friends, what could be better?
- Be A Leader. Put yourself out there. Make the first move. Know what you’re looking for, and when you think you see someone who has those qualities, approach them. Offer to take them out for a coffee. Be bold and tell them you’re looking for friends, and would love to get to know them better. Go for it, and you might be surprised at the response! Everyone is looking for friends, and if you act with intention, you can meet some amazing people!
The year ahead is a blank page, just waiting for you to write on it. You can create whatever you want. If you make time in your year for some intentional friend-finding, it will be so worth it. You will end the year richer, wiser, happier, and full of more love than ever.