Back in the playground, in school and at university it just seemed so much easier. It helped we were all just thrown together in the same situations and somehow some of the friendships seemed to stick. Over the years some of these folks have faded into the memories of Good Times Past but some have endured the test of time to be firm well established friends (warm and familiar like an old loved sweater). A side effect of people being more mobile and transient these days is that most of us move about all over the place for jobs and opportunities, for new experiences and for love, so it’s rare to end up living in the same town where we grew up or where we went to college. As we move around and begin to settle our list of long distance friendships seems to grow and with it the relationships to maintain.
Although social media and email make it easier to keep in touch without the need for as many phone calls, it also means we’re less picky about who we stay ‘connected’ to and the natural shedding of past pals therefore takes a bit longer. With so many people to try and keep up with the more time it takes, and the less time there is to make new meaningful relationships closer to home. When you finally land in a place you want to settle it’s natural to want to make new local friends. Getting some new regular haunts, meeting acquaintances and (eventually) firm friends are all part of settling in and the cement around the foundations of the life that we build.
But how do you make friends in a new area after the age of 30, outside of work, and when you don’t have kids yet? It seems I’m not alone in pondering this conundrum. Rachel Bertshe has a whole blog and book dedicated to the elusive hunt for female friends – MWF Seeking BFF (Married White Female Seeks Best Friend Forever).
In my pre and early teens my favourite TV show was Blossom (1990 to 1995). For anyone that doesn’t remember Fridays at 6pm on C4 (you were seriously missing out), it starred Mayim Bialek (now a neuro-science nerd in Big Bang Theory) as sassy teenager Blossom, amidst her lovable but dysfunctional family and her best friend Six (“because that’s how many beers it took” Six explained her unusual name). Oh how I used to long for a best friend like Six. Someone who I could talk to about boys, share shoes with and invent stupid dances with (at 12 going on 16 there were ZERO boys to speak of, no decent shoes in my closet and any dancing was definitely limited to my bedroom, but still Blossom and Six made being fashionable teenagers look AWESOME).
On and off over the years I have had best friends like this, at school, at university… but, is it wrong to say at 33 I still want one now?! Someone you can shoot the breeze with, laugh your tits off with or just be quiet with and not have to fill the air waves for the sake of it. Someone who understands and encourages you, with shared passions and dreams, loves you at your best and can deal with you at your worst and laugh you out of a bad mood. Hmm, kind of sounds like what we look for, or hope to find, in a partner doesn’t it? And boy that takes time, effort and kissing A LOT of frogs. Finding that BFF sounds like it’s going to be HARD.
Ok, so let’s re-shift expectations. Finding Ms. ‘Just Right’ and then cultivating a relationship that turns into Blossom-esque BFFdom might take some time. But, in the meantime how do we find some potential Ms. ‘Might Be Just Rights?
5. Women’s Institute – there are around 6,600 WI clubs with some 210,000 members. It’s coming up to 100 years old but the outlook is fresh and modern with the aim being to provide women opportunities to learn new skills, take part in a variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities. With a WI group in most areas and with it now attracting a wide variety of ages it’s got to be worth a try. Plus, it seems the meetings are one evening a month which should be easy enough to commit to for most people. I’m going to my first local meeting next week so watch this space…
So when we put ourselves out there, a smile can turn into a hello, which can turn into some shared small talk that can turn into a conversation that can turn into number swapping… oh the etiquette minefield we enter here…
It’s like serial dating but without the clear guidelines. How forward should you be with swapping numbers or suggesting doing something together? After you’ve gone out for the first time, how do you know whether a ‘second date’ is on the cards? Which bits of yourself should you hide when being on your best behaviour? If you go for a drink how many glasses of wine is ok so that they don’t think you are a wino-holic?
WLTM likeminded female BFF with a wickedly GSOH.
Let the search commence!
This Blossom theme brings back some memories!