How do you find good friends, great girlfriends, and like-minded peers in adult life? I’m not talking about those girls you’ve shared formative teen and twenty-something experiences with, but more so referring to those women who are our tribe of cheerleaders in business. Great gal pals are one thing, great business girlfriends are another.
I’ll be honest with you: finding strong female friendships has never been easy for me. I moved around a lot as a kid and social media didn’t exist at that point. I usually had one “best” girlfriend and then a bunch of friends who were boys. It’s not that I didn’t want a group of gal pals, but more that my interests just didn’t align with theirs.
But as anyone with a good group of girlfriends can tell you, there’s something about the bonds between ladies that you just can’t explain. Now, this isn’t to say that I don’t have close girlfriends in general, because I do, but not many of them are local. My childhood bestie lives in Vancouver and my University bestie lives in the mid-western US.
In my adult life, I have searched high and low to find my “tribe”. I saw that my husband had great relationships with his rec hockey teammates, so I explored playing hockey for a while. I made a few friends, but it wasn’t 100% what I was looking for. I’ve actually made closer friends with the fellow ‘hockey wives’ so don’t discount that as a possibility for yourself!
When I worked in downtown Calgary, I had a crew of colleagues that I hung out with, but once I set out on my own that group quickly dwindled and I was looking for some pals with whom I could share common ground. No one tells you how lonely entrepreneurship can be and how many people just don’t ‘understand’ what it is that you do as a small business owner.
So how do you make friends in the modern world when you’re a work-from-home-entrepreneur? Enter the world of social media.
I have met the majority of my current group of friends online. It might sound silly, but how else are we supposed to find one another? We date online, so why not look for like-minded ladies to grab a coffee or a pedicure with?
A great now-friend of mine had been following me on Instagram. She sent me a DM one day asking for some social media tips and if I’d let her pick my brain. We met for coffee to talk shop and ended up becoming great friends. She’s also introduced me to some other business-minded ladies in her circle with whom I’ve become close with as well.
Another friend had told me about a great account to follow on social media. She thought I’d love this person’s vibe and sure enough I did. I saw that she was local, sent her a DM to introduce myself and tell her how much I loved her work and asked if she wanted to meet for coffee sometime. The rest is history.
Sometimes you hit it off and sometimes you don’t. Maybe your first coffee meeting won’t work out, or maybe that person won’t respond (some people are like that). If that happens, just move on to the next person (see - just like dating!). I have had a few women in my industry tell me they don’t want to meet or collaborate or anything because they aren’t interested in sharing their stories or helping others avoid mistakes they’ve made, but you will find those people anywhere. Thank you – next! We’ll just swipe left on those ladies and move on.
The other place I’ve been able to meet some great girlfriends is through in-person networking events. Not all networking events are created equal, and it’s important to find the style of event that works best for you. You might go to events and not connect with anyone and that’s okay — it takes time to find your people, so keep putting yourself out there.
The best advice I can give you is to just be yourself and remember to be open to the world of friendship opportunities that exists around you.
What are your tips for creating (and maintaining) your relationships with your girlfriends?