by Carey Cloyd, Marriage and Family Therapist
Women’s Issues: 4 Tips for Making Female Friends as an Adult
Creating and fostering friendships can take more effort and intention as an adult when one is no longer in school. This can depend in part on one’s workplace and role. However, many people report finding it more difficult to make friends as an adult than they did as a child – and for women, this challenge may feel pronounced. It is important to address any feelings of isolation and loneliness by actively cultivating friendships with other women to feel more bonded and supported. Friendships have been shown to help decrease anxiety, stress, and worry, positively impacting overall health and well-being.
4 Tips for Cultivating Female Friendships
#1 Take action and be consistent.
It is important to both respond to and reach out to female friends when it is authentic for one to do so. Of course, some balance in who is initiating contact is generally appreciated and valuable. Finding and maintaining a balance in who is initiating can be an important factor as you consider to what degree you’re moved to invest in a new friendship. You may assume that others are uninterested, when in fact, they may have some of the same needs, desires, concerns, and interests in a friendship that you do.
Get the ball rolling: You can give someone a compliment, initiate a conversation, and extend an invitation for a walk or to lunch.
#2 Know that rejection is part of the experience.
In your quest to develop and maintain friendships, feelings of rejection and abandonment may arise. It is best to expect that such feelings will arise sometimes. Remember that you are assessing the friendship, as well as being assessed by your new connection. Someone may not feel the same level of interest as you do and/or may not be a friendship match for you. If someone is not interested in continuing a friendship, their disinterest may be an accurate indicator of the viability of a friendship. This doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. One-sided friendships hurt, and you don’t have to languish over them. Move forward and continue to look for like-minded companions with shared interests.
#3 Don’t focus on numbers; focus on quality relationships.
Many assume that someone with many friends is more socially successful and better off than those with just a few friends. It’s not quite so simple. Personalities differ; while some people thrive socializing with many people, others shine in relationships with a few people. It’s most important what works best for you. This knowledge about yourself is where self-care and self-acceptance come in.
#4 Keep it going!
If there is momentum created in a new female friendship, make sure to keep it up. Fostering adult friendship takes time, attention, focus, and care. There may be a longer lapse than usual between visits or phone calls, etc. You can be the one to pick up the ball and initiate contact to keep the relationship going. For some, it may be nice to settle into a routine when you have contact on a relatively regular basis—be that daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Find what fits for you and each of your friends, knowing that there may be changes over a long friendship based on current circumstances.
If you’re feeling scared, lonely, or overwhelmed by feelings of isolation, reaching out to a therapist in your area for support might be the best thing you could do.
© Copyright 2021 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Carey Cloyd, Marriage and Family Therapist