I was having a conversation with some of the women from my online mom's forum. Several mentioned that they don't have girlfriends. Honestly, I can't imagine a world without my good girlfriends. I don't need tons of them, but in my world, girlfriends are a must! When I inquired, several women recounted tales of girlfriend treachery. These women had been gossiped about, lied to and just plain disrespected -- basic violations of the girlfriend code. Some went on to say that they didn't trust other women that they refused to deal with them at all.
I accept that some women will never have/want/need girlfriends. Maybe they've been hurt too badly and just never developed the need.
This blog post is not for the girlfriend-free-by choice set. If you'd like to have girlfriends, but haven't found the right one(s), this little guide is for you:
In no particular order, I offer you my own advice on how to meet and keep new female friends:
1. Don't be afraid to strike up a conversation. Something like "this line is killer" or "sure is warm today" are great ways to start. It's not a marriage proposal, it's small talk and it's perfectly OK. If the other person is interested, fine. If not, that's fine, too. Engaging in two-way conversation is getting to first base! If you're going on and on and the other person is silent, you've struck out.
2. Don't be afraid to ask someone out. If you meet a nice woman at a PTA meeting or in a local coffee house, make the next date. "See you here tomorrow," or "we should have lunch," are great ways to ask someone out. Just like when you're looking for romance, looking for girlfriends should start slowly and casually.
3. Expect to kiss a lot of frogs. Not literally kiss (unless you're into that). But expect that some of these women are going to turn out to be wrong for you. Incompatibility is not a crime.
4. Don't expect her to be perfect. Abandon your romantic comedy dreams of what a girlfriend is supposed to be like. She doesn't have to like all the things you like or be just like you. She simply needs to be kind, fun and someone who's happy to share a good laugh (or cry).
5. Examine what kind of friend you are. Be the kind of friend you want to have. This tip should probably be listed first. It's really the most important thing!
6. Don't suffer fools. If your new friend seems nice at first and then turns out to be a nut job, drop her! There are no bonus points for doing things the hard way! You're not so special that you'll turn crazy into something you can work with. Let it go and move on!
7. Set good boundaries. If you don't set appropriate boundaries for yourself, who will? She can't borrow money, drive your car or have your husband come over at midnight to kill a mouse. Too many of us find ourselves in situations where we didn't set good boundaries and are mad that someone took advantage. Save yourself the headache and honor your friendship with good boundaries.
8. Be honest, kind and respectful and expect your would-be girlfriend to do the same. If she can't manage that, she's not worthy of you.
9. Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. If she seems cool and you want to take things to the next level, that's cool. Just take it slow. If for some reason things just don't feel right, that's OK too. You're allowed to distance yourself. If you want to have a big conversation about your discomfort with her, fine, but you're certainly not obligated. This is not a real housewives show. You can dump a person at any time with no explanation. Maybe you're just not into her or maybe you changed your mind. You don't have to make your leaving OK for her. Your first job is to take care of yourself. If she's doesn't get that, that's not on you.
10. Be open to meeting someone nice. Perception is a mirror. Whatever you think, you'll find proof of it in the external world. So if you think all women are witches, you'll find witches. But if you think that there might be nice girlfriends out there for you to hang out with, you'll likely find them.
Good girlfriends are out there if you think they are. A best girlfriend doesn't have to be a childhood friend or relative. I didn't meet my BFF until I was in my 30's. The world is full of good, fun-loving people who want to hang out with you. Now get out there find them. Happy girlfriend hunting!