Asking For a Friend | Chapter 29
Advice from Babe to Babe
Adult friendships are hard. Whether you’re making friends in a new city, keeping in touch with old ones, or transitioning into more mature relationships, it’s tough to navigate friends by yourself. This week, the BWH Advice Gurus are here for you and rooting for you to put yourself out there!
I’m a big believer that there’s a season for everything—and everyone—in your life. Not all friendships are meant to last forever, and many that do will bloom and hibernate throughout your lifetime. If you’re not getting what you want out of a friendship, it may be time find what you need in yourself and other people. It’s up to you have to decide if the neglect or feelings at hand are hurtful enough to discuss and work out, or if it’s more worth your energy to invest in other relationships. Maybe this friendship will come back to you, or maybe in six months you’ll realize it wasn’t worth the stress to begin with.
—MARA STROBEL-LANKA, BWH CREATIVE DIRECTOR
First, I would determine how much this matters to you. The fact that you asked the question suggests it does matter (to some extent), but is this something you truly want to take the time to address or is it something you’re only going through the motions with? If it’s something you’re only working through because of perceived obligation or loyalty and deep down you’re indifferent, you might need to redefine the role this person plays in your life and the ways you interact with them. If you’re truly invested in seeing something change, try to address the issue directly so the other person has a clear understanding of what you’re observing and how you’re feeling. If they take the conversation to heart, great—a new day has emerged. If, after hearing your concerns, nothing has changed, you can begin redefining things as mentioned earlier. It could be that your friend doesn’t even realize there’s an imbalance, or it could be that they’re purposely distancing themselves. Regardless of their “why”, all you can control is (1) whether or not you draw attention to the issue so things have a chance to change, and (2) whether or not you accept what happens after the conversation.
—DIANA MORRIS, BABE #182
Activities are a great way to meet new people! Fitness classes, book clubs, volunteering. But you have to put yourself out there and be willing to talk to strangers.
—CASSIE TEJERA, BABE #141
A few of my coworkers who moved here from out of town joined gyms after a lot of research into which facilities had a really social environment. They looked them up on social media to see if they had happy hours and other events outside of workouts and to see if the people who belonged there seemed to be friends outside the gym.
—ALEXI STRONG GONZALEZ, CONTRIBUTOR
I've found that [you often] have to lean aggressive when it comes to meeting new folks. Be proactive. Some ideas:
Set aside a period of time to be a "yes." Go to all the events and invites you get. Don't knock it ‘til you try it.
Volunteer with organizations like Rotary, Riverkeeper, Beaches Go Green, etc.
Join a church (it's a weird one, but they're all about community)
Invite current friends/coworkers out for drinks and encourage them to bring other friends
Host meals at your home and invite friends to invite other friends
Be intentional. Invite new connections to attend events with you and maybe just go out for happy hour
—BRITTANY NORRIS, BABE #2
Shit, I'm almost 33 and I still struggle with this. I feel like it's an unfortunate product of our culture and the modern era; our generation typically has to work more/longer hours to get by, thereby limiting our time for socializing. I got lucky and found a few kindred spirits at one of my jobs; it's been a challenge to expand that circle, though. Everything Brittany said is spot-on, especially volunteering! It's a great way to meet people who care about the same things you do.
—LINDSAY BOWYER, CONTRIBUTOR
Utilize your network, too! It might be uncomfy to have the conversations but chances are, you know people who know people in your city. Ask around, then have them intro you with their pals over text or email. Ask to meet for coffee or a drink. If you don’t end up hitting it off, they might be able to connect you with someone (or an organization in town) that might be a better fit for you. Also—hang out at local coffee shops. Chances are you’ll strike up a conversation with someone who just might turn into a friend (or lead you in the right direction).
—CHELSEA DUDEVOIRE, BWH CEO + FOUNDER
Get out there. Seriously. You don't have to be a party animal. Go to low-key events at galleries and take classes or volunteer with groups that are in line with your interests and hobbies. Most importantly, approach people who intimidate you. It sounds weird, but I really admire the friends I've made in my late twenties because I'm in awe of them. I was almost too nervous to approach them. But I'm glad I did because those friendships inspire me in my professional and personal lives.
—CATALINA ALERS-ALERS, BABE #131
Honestly, be shameless. If you like hanging out with someone, tell them. Approach the girl you chit-chatted with in pilates and say, "I'm trying to make new friends, do you want to grab coffee sometime?" If she says no, who cares? Also, check Facebook and see if any of your close friends have friends in your city. Most of my friends from my first move in Austin were mutual friends of college homies.
—OLIVIA WILSON, BABE #51
I moved to [my current city] for a boyfriend and barely knew anyone! I started going to events and just being myself (tipsy, gregarious and full of ridiculous stories) and started making real, solid friends rather than just acquaintances. I saw Catalina at an event two summers ago and was super intimidated—then realized we were both stanning each other! It’s been a love story ever since!
—ANNA CLAIRE HODGE, CONTRIBUTOR
Until Next Week,
—THE BWH ADVICE GURUS
Asking for a Friend is Babes Who Hustle's weekly advice column that asks and answers the work-related questions on all of our minds. Looking for advice and guidance? Hit us with all of your questions below and stay tuned for next Wednesday's edition!