Are you looking for the Oprah Winfrey to your Gayle King? Then today’s On the Dot is for you, lady! Let’s be honest: Once we’ve completed high school or college, it can be tough to find loyal gal pals. So, how do you meet friends? Do you just wait around the goat-cheese-and-wine aisle to find the Thelma to your Louise? There’s no sure-fire way to garner new besties in your life, but why not be brazen and ask her out for a girls’ night?
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 2 or 3
When it comes to friends, many of us these days are all about quality versus quantity. When we’re all juggling work and life responsibilities, we don’t have time to suffer through surface-level friendships. But it’s interesting how that has changed throughout the years. For instance, according to researchers, most women in the 1970s and ’80s had an estimated four to five close friends. But in the present day, most women have only two or three close buddies. While some say this decrease means women are more socially isolated, I say it means we’re investing more in maintaining real, meaningful connections.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Shasta Nelson, Founder and CEO of GirlFriendCircles.com, Speaker, Author
Shasta Nelson, a relationship expert, has a theory that friendship can save the world, and she’s created a whole new community of women with that goal in mind. She’s the author of several friendship-related books, including her newest, Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness, and developed a really cool online social collective called GirlFriendCircles.com that’s focused on sisterhood and women’s friendship matching.
Shasta’s expertise grew from moving to a new city where she didn’t know anyone. Since she had friends in several states she could still chat with remotely, she assumed she didn’t need any face-to-face friends in her new city, a notion she soon realized was absolutely incorrect. So, she gathered an impromptu group of women who had never met, and before long, by sharing the stories of their lives, hardships and successes, they were a tight-knit, supportive clan who truly cared about one another and became inseparable. Armed with that experience and the idea that she could help other women develop similar friendship communities, Shasta created GirlFriendCircles.com.
GirlFriendCircles.com now spans 65 cities in the U.S. and Canada. When women sign up on the website, they’re matched with a handful of like-minded ladies nearby, and provided with an array of friend-focused resources, including info on local get-togethers, workshops, classes, blog posts and Shasta’s expert advice.
Women members note how hard it can be to nail down some much-needed girlfriend time with a single friend, and that having a strong group of girlfriends means that there’s always someone to offer an encouraging sentiment after you’ve been dumped, give you a ride to the airport or simply hang out on a Tuesday evening.
A longtime coach and former preacher, Shasta has spent a lifetime delving into the philosophy of friendship. She dissects friend types to demonstrate to women who they might be deep down and what kinds of friends they may need in their lives. There’s the builder, champion, collaborator, companion, connector, energizer, mind opener and navigator. Of course, you or a friend might have a mix of these characteristics. She may help you navigate a difficult decision while championing you along the way.
Shasta may never have known she’d end up as one of the leading experts on female friendships. But if there’s one thing every single woman needs, it’s a girlfriend. Thank you, Shasta, for helping us find them.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Today’s quote comes from the one and only Gloria Steinem, who said:
“Women understand. We may share experiences, make jokes, paint pictures and describe humiliations that mean nothing to men, but women understand. The odd thing about these deep and personal connections of women is that they often ignore barriers of age, economics, worldly experience, race, culture—all the barriers that, in male or mixed society, had seemed so difficult to cross.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. So share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.