Grow and Deepen Your Inner Circle of Friends
By Chandra Lynn
Having worked in music marketing my entire career, my friendships have been with people who largely live outside of my area. Because other aspects of my life were so busy, I didn’t have much time to nourish my local relationships, and honestly, I didn’t know whether I could meet people nearby that I resonated with. After I had a baby 10 years ago, and decided to work from home, I started to feel the need for local friends. I could see the appeal of having somewhere to go, like on the TV show Cheers (but not at a bar), to connect with people. But I needed a like-minded tribe.
Once I started feeling the need for close personal relationships with local friends, I opened up to the possibility of meeting people through yoga and the gym, and also reconnecting with friends that I met in past jobs, school, and in my younger years. The amazing thing was how many quality souls were also open to connecting and forming new friendships.
After years of going to the gym and not meeting anyone, I met a small group of women in my yoga class that changed my life dramatically. We not only did yoga, we found ways to connect and get to know each other. We connected about health and fitness, intimate relationships, and helped each other find our passions in our careers and in the artistic world. We supported each other through divorces, career changes, child-rearing issues and much more. We also learned how to have fun together with trips to hot springs, yoga workshops, frivolous photo shoots, and girl’s nights out. Some of us gather to create women’s circles where we explore topics such as spirituality, personal growth, rituals and other things that support our lives in reaching our goals and potential.
Now, instead of going to bars to party, we look forward to our circles and our fun times together, and we don’t need alcohol to have fun. Don’t get me wrong, we’re known to throw back bottles of champagne, but we don’t need it to feel high on anything but the connection that we have in the deep love and support that we bring to each other’s lives.
I call this close circle of friends my Shakti Sisters. They know who they are and how much they mean to me because we don’t live in the land of the unspoken. We tell each other what we mean to our lives and actively plan time to spend together because we desire the connection and how much we can learn from each other’s differences and core competencies.
If you would like to cultivate a close circle of friends like this, I recommend the following:
Open yourself up to the possibility that the woman standing next to you in yoga class, at the supermarket, or picking kids up from school could be your new bestie. Obviously not everyone is going to connect at that high of a frequency. However, it starts with you being open to the possibility and attracting new friends.
Ask them a question about themselves to show your interest. How they answer will tell you a lot about them. Through a dialogue with them, you can sense their energy and whether they are somebody that you would like to learn more about.
Follow up quickly to set a time and have a relaxed approach to the experience. They may or may not be somebody that you’ll want to keep in touch with after the initial meeting. But if they are, you can connect through social media and invite them to events or other things that you think they may be interested in.
Friendships take time to build and some people are more open than others. And if they can’t make a meeting, it may be that they are super busy even though they do want to get to know you. So try again. But if they seem like they’re too busy for you after a couple offers then they are not in the same place with welcoming new friends and allocating time for them as a priority.
One of the most amazing experiences with this has been the women that I’ve met through other women. Many times when you really connect with someone, they have friends that are also like-minded and may even connect with you on a deeper level than the person that you met through. So check out their friend groups by participating in things that they invite you to as well.
I always suggest new friends discuss some things that are normally a bit unspoken, like how often they are available to stay connected. Sometimes they want to text all the time and sometimes they only can meet with you a couple times a week and use texting just to confirm logistics. Everyone has personal preferences for how they’d like to communicate and how much time they have to spend. It’s important to honor that and also be clear in your communication about your own preferences. This safeguards the relationship from communication problems down the road because each person knows what to expect and the best ways to communicate with each other.
Romantic relationships and jobs come and go, but true friends will stand by you as witnesses and supporters for your entire life. If you do the work of communicating properly, nurturing a relationship, staying connected, and keeping the give and take balance in check, your friendships can offer the most fun, supportive and enlightening experiences of your life.