This question from Gina was delivered with such beautiful vulnerability:
“Formulating this question into words has me in a wellspring of emotions including sadness, loss, inadequacy, and deep curiosity. I’m going to focus on the ‘well’ and curious parts and believe that in my asking there is hope for an answer. Here goes: How do you navigate making new friends?
I’ve thought about this question a lot and have come to understand that at stages of life we make friends naturally: in school, in afterschool activities, in college, then as couples/moms, and in our jobs. These shared experiences make bonding easier and friendships easier to find. At a certain point, those situations aren’t happening as readily and our circle gets smaller. I’m single, self-employed, way past college, childless, and have moved a few times. I’ve experienced the pain of lost friendships. I’ve grieved them more than lost love, because… girlfriends. They are a life source.
Making new friends in your 30s, 40s, and onwards—it’s never, EVER too late.
I’m doing a mental inventory right now of the women in my life between 30 and 70… and all of us definitely love and celebrate new friendships. At this point in my life, I’ve had a number of friendships dissolve. And I’ve noticed with every sea change, I’ve had more room in my heart, and new friends came in. And the new people in this decade of my life bring in fresh qualities with them. Gentleness. Openness. We all want to make a difference in the world in our own way—and have a great time doing it.
Where to find new friends as a grown-up?
Go where there is resonance.
Classes, choirs, volunteer opportunities, yoga workshops… where are your people? Conferences/festivals that are aligned with your values are particularly ripe for connection. And this is the thing about making friends as a seeker—just the search itself expands you as a person, brings more flavour, dimension, and colour into your life. We can choose to embrace it.
Bring the people to you.
Another route, on a smaller scale: book clubs, conversation groups, salons… in your own living room. Nerve-wracking, I know. This is going to require courage, as all new growth does. You could invite two friends to bring two other friends and have a conversation over dinner. Find a topic of deep meaning to you. It just takes a few people to go deeper.
I’m doing this in my own life, right now. Because community is our salvation—so what can I do immediately to bring more of that into my life? This is how I’m starting…
Inviting as many people over for dinner as I can fit around my table! And asking each of my guests to bring someone new. It’s radical for me.
Key for making it easy: potluck style.
Also key: not over-curating it. Will that person be good with that person seated next to them? Are they a brain match? None of that. We’re all in this together.
Practice constant gratitude for the friendship that already exists in your life, in whatever form it’s showing up.
It’s the kind person at work or the conversation with a distant friend you never see. And there’s even something to honouring the memories of the nourishing friendships you had in the past. Just creating that fondness and letting that flow, and seeing how Life is already supporting you through connection… because that gratitude brings you into the present. And from the present you create the reality that you most want.
Acknowledge the beauty of your desire.
The longing you’re expressing to be in sisterhood is both primal and divine. It’s so life-affirming. It’s so vibrant. Friendship is the medicine. It’s the elixir that we need right now, more than ever. Your desire is so healthy.
EXCERPT FROM EPS 6