Have you been trying to find someone with whom you can be vulnerable? A girlfriend or a “bestie” who is open to hearing what is truly happening in your life and the emotions that you’re experiencing? So many of us struggle to find a great friend, someone who won’t judge or criticize us for what we’re thinking, feeling, or doing. After all, you can’t exactly take out a personal ad or go on Match.com for a BFF!
We all need someone who is both emotionally and physically available with whom we can share.
- While men may also be longing for these deeper connections, women are more often the ones who express this need.
- Many of us are searching for a girlfriend (even if she is married or in a committed relationship) who is open to spending time together, and not only couples time together. Someone who won’t ditch us when she enters a new relationship, who deeply values the girlfriend relationship, someone in whom we can confide and be ourselves.
- Even if we are in an intimate and fulfilling relationship, there’s something about having a BFF that fills a void. And if we don’t have one, then we question why we don’t, and what might be wrong with us.
As we grow older it may seem more difficult to find this sort of connection with someone with whom we don’t already have a relationship.
We might remember how easily we found our friends at high school, college, or graduate school, and now lament that lack of close relationships.
In school we were surrounded by huge numbers of people to choose our friends from, however once we enter the workforce, or choose to work from home, or work in the home, then our choices become more limited.
Often we find that people in the workforce may not really be our peers and it’s hard to make connections within the hierarchical structures and boundaries of many companies. For instance:
- If the person that you’d like to be friends with is your supervisor then it may not be appropriate. Or ...
- We may just find that we work too hard, leaving time only for family and limited activities.
- If we have children, then we may have the opportunity to connect with potential friends in sports, school activities, etc., however it can be hard to connect on a deeper level.
- It might also be hard to enter an already established group, or we find that people aren’t always open to inviting new people in to an their group. Or ...
- The people that we meet might already have an established group of friends may not really be looking for those deeper connections. Or ...
- It might just seem too scary to put ourselves out there.
But if we can find ways to connect to others, then the rewards are so great
Consider the following ideas and guidelines.
Nurture the connections that you already have
We often think that we need to go out and find new friends, but what about the connections that you already have? Which women would you like to be closer with? Perhaps ask them to go out for coffee or lunch.
Be open as you go about your day
You never know when an opportunity for a connection or a friendship might be made. And as a corollary, don’t discount someone based on your preconceptions of them. People may surprise you; you never know what life experiences they’ve had, no matter what their outward appearance may say.
Sharing about yourself (not oversharing) is a great way to make a connection with others. Allow yourself to have deeper conversations with people, asking questions about their life and their interests. Keep the focus on the other person and see what they have to say.
Create your own group
Book clubs, women’s circles, spirituality groups (whether adhering to a specific practice or just general), or discussion groups can be great places for deeper connections.
To ensure that the conversations go deeper than the average book club, set up the guidelines ahead of time – perhaps letting the others know that each person can pick a thoughtful topic to bring to the group, or centering the group around a specific topic or women’s book.
Invite women that you know and would like to be closer to, and allow them to invite others who might be interested.
Create deep relationships with many people, not just one
Though we often think that we need one person to fulfill all of our emotional needs, that’s often not possible, even for people who do have a BFF.
Irene Levine, Ph.D., psychologist and creator of The Friendship Blog.
Recognize that no one friend can fulfill all your needs, and you may, indeed, need a tribe.
For instance, you may have friends who are able to talk with you regarding your career, but others who are more aligned with your parenting style or spiritual path.
Talking with a therapist
A trusted psychotherapist can help in allowing you to create a new mindset and allow for lasting friendships with other women.
At Nassau Guidance & Counseling on Long Island, our licensed psychotherapists often work with women who are struggling to find these deeper connections in their lives.
By honoring your journey and your specific needs, we help you to find ways to connect with others, and welcome you!