Ever since the book came out, I've received feedback about how it's made women think about friendships throughout their lives, as well as who is in their lives now. The goal of this blog is to open up and create a dialogue about friendships: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Each week I will post my thoughts, experiences, as well as various articles, topics or quotes that I feel are important when examining female friendships. Please feel free to leave comments; I look forward to hearing from you!

Email me: survivingfemalefriendships@gmail.com

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Will You Be My Friend?

Making friends is Tough (yes, with a capital T), especially as you get older.  Maybe you relocated for a job or moved to be closer to family and find it difficult to create your social network.  As we age, there are not as many social opportunities there once was - like those organized events in high school, college and/or graduate school which provide access to meeting people - and so it becomes more challenging to make new friends without it being forced or awkward.  It's important to "get out there" - but how?!

I've been asked this question - and have asked it myself many, many times - because it's not like you can walk into the grocery store and start asking people if they will be your friend.  They may run away from you or tell you to go to your nearest emergency room.

A common emotion that tends to get in the way of putting yourself out there is fear – there’s always a possibility of being rejected or not getting the response you'd hoped for – but if you don't try, then how do you expect things to change?

I believe it's about creating opportunities out of what you have and already do in your day to day life.  I completely understand that it can be daunting, but when you put yourself out there and get back positive results, it can be rewarding and provide reinforcement to continue this behavior.  Therefore, I have found that you have to put yourself out there in small and realistic ways.  For example, you attend a gym and start striking up conversations with other gym-goers.  It wouldn't be so weird or awkward to ask if they wanted to go out for coffee or grab a bite to eat after a workout.  Or maybe, suggest that you all go for a walk or hike outside of the gym.  Over time, these activities bond you, and hopefully a friendship develops.

Have you had an experience where you put yourself out there and created a friendship out of interesting circumstances?  Think about how you met some of your current friends – was it through a spontaneous interaction or through an organized event?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Defining Moments

In every friendship we have, there is a defining moment in which we realize the person has reached true friendship status.  Maybe the person steps up during a difficult time in our life by showing her true colors when we didn't think or expect she would be there for us.  I've had many of these moments with various friends, and it's a nice feeling to experience.  We then put that friend in a different category, and over time, the friendship deepens.

For example, a defining moment in one of my friendships was when a friend shared some of her personal experiences that were painful and heartbreaking.  The fact that this friend felt comfortable enough to share her story with me only reinforced the deep bond of our friendship.

Think about your closest friends - what was the defining moment in which you realized this friend is a keeper?  Was it a crisis that one of you experienced that brought you together or was it a shared experience?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Why Was I Not Invited? Wedding Drama...

For some of you, this topic may be hard to identify with - but for many of us, this does happen and isn't something we openly discuss: When you're not invited to your friend's and/or friends' child's wedding.

I recently heard a story about a few women whose friend's adult son got married and the women weren't invited.  Suffice it to say, they are feeling hurt and one of them even feels as if she's done with a friendship that has spanned more than 20 years - all because she wasn't invited.  Weddings are supposed to be happy and wonderful, but why can so much drama come out of what's supposed to be a beautiful event?

I understand there are exceptions to this – for example, some are limited financially and cannot have a big wedding and therefore, cannot invite everyone.  A couple of years ago, one of my friend's let me know that I was not invited for this very reason and I respect her now more than ever for being honest with me, rather than having me think things that weren't true: that she didn't think of me as a close friend or didn't think of me enough to invite to her wedding.  Since then, our friendship has deepened and because of the honesty in our friendship, I don't think twice about not being invited nor harbor any ill feelings about it.

But for those of us who aren't invited and are not given any reason, it can be challenging to manage our feelings.  And then how do we continue the friendship as if nothing happened?  It becomes a big elephant in the room, especially if this friend posts a gazillion pictures on Facebook and talks to you about her wedding.  Or the friend calls you up and discusses her son's/daughter's wedding.  Uh, hello, you weren't there!

Another kicker to this situation is when you're invited to the engagement party and/or bridal shower, but not invited to the wedding.  Maybe I'm slow to understand things, but how does that make any sense?!

Have you experienced any of the above situations?  If so, how did you manage it and your feelings?  Did your friendship change?