There’s been a lot of chatter around female friendships / ‘girl gangs’ / finding your tribe for a few years now and it’s been all talk in the media and book market too since Lily Pebbles released The F Word. It’s one of those things I’ve always thought about because friends have been a funny thing for me over the years. I’m one of those people that has a few good friends, not a whole secondary school so I’ve sometimes felt out of place if I don’t have that one person with me that I know I can count on.
Having a small group of friends, whether they know each other or not is essential and I’ve found that I’ve really discovered who my ‘people’ are over the past year or so. I’ve worked with almost all of them, met some amazing girls through blogging and kept in touch with an ultimate bestie. It’s those people that you don’t see all the time but when you do see them it’s just as it always was. It’s also those people that you see every few weeks or so but you’re so glad to catch up on gossip and random info! And, it’s also those people that you can have inane What’s App conversations with about everything and anything that are so essential for a happy life.
How do you actually maintain these friendships?
Effort is the key. Friends won’t come to you and friendships won’t be maintained without as regular as possible catch ups, phone calls, texts and coffee dates. Be that friend that nags everyone to catch up because someone has to be the organiser. Otherwise, it’ll be someone’s birthday again and it will have been a year and you’ve not seen them. Send that text you’ve been wanting to for ages and keep forgetting. Do it!
Top tip: If you find your friends can be flaky, book something where you have to leave a deposit, like a bottomless brunch, and people are less likely to drop out!
And, how do you start new ones?
It can be daunting as an ‘adult’ to make new friends but you can start to realise that your older friends may not be on the same page as you anymore. Making new friends is a good thing, you can obviously still see your ‘old’ friends! If you meet someone through work, the gym or another hobby and you think you could be more than just work-friends or yoga class buddies – ask them on a mate date. It’s the only way you’re going to take your ‘friendship’ to the next level. It’s exactly like dating romantically. It’s just as awkward if you make it but, if you relax and just realise they’re probably as nervous or feel just as weird as you do, it’s fine. Go to the cinema (to see a film your boyfriend doesn’t want to see if you need an excuse!), have lunch, grab a coffee or ask them to help you choose a new lipstick colour at lunch time if you want to have a super quick ‘date’ with something to concentrate on.
One thing to remember
Throw yourself into opportunities that you might have said no to. You don’t know who you’ll click with. Recently I said yes to a fabulous birthday brunch where I knew two girls quite well, two I’d met previously but not spoken to at length and two that I hadn’t met. We all knew the birthday girl from different places and situations but with a Prosecco-fuelled brunch we all got on amazingly well and had an awesome 3 hours of fun. I would have previously said no to going to this because I’d be nervous it would be awkward but it was so much fun.
I’ve also said yes to a wine night with some of my new work colleagues as a chance to get to know them with a little wine to break the ice. I would have usually said no to this as well but, I forced myself to get over my nerves and pay the deposit and I’m sure it’ll be so much fun and it’ll also make my relationships with my new colleagues better and work more fun too. Fingers crossed!
Putting it into practice
Recently I met up with some amazing girls I used to work with, you can read all about my career journey if you’re interested in that too. Of course, we headed to Bella Italia for our quick catch up lunch because I thought why not take the opportunity to treat them to a free lunch and it’s the perfect excuse for us all to meet up. We all realised that 50 minutes of a lunch break is definitely not enough to fit everything in between 5 of us so we’re trying to make more plans for weekend and evening catch ups. Even by meeting up for a quick lunch you remind yourself that you have so much to talk about and it can lead you to make other plans.
Top tip: Find it hard to get a date you can all do? Use an online polling system like Doodle to find the date that the majority or all of you can make.
You can read all about my Very Important Bella appointment here and some more of my recommendations on what to eat there. When we headed there for our catch up, we all had the delicious Strawberry Lemonade from the mocktail menu, shared a mozzarella and caramelised onion pizza bread and most of the girls had delicious pasta. Pictured is the Sicilian Pollo Rosso; Gramigna pasta with roast chicken, onion, red peppers & Pachino tomatoes in a Sicilian red pesto sauce, Carne Festa; Rigatoni pasta with chicken, Luganica sausage, meatballs, pancetta & onion in a pomodoro & béchamel sauce and my favourite Frutti di Mare; King prawns, mussels, squid, queen scallops, mozzarella & chilli on a tomato base.
The food was awesome and I’ve eaten there quite a few times over the past few weeks and every single time the food we’ve had has been piping hot, super delicious and the service at the Nottingham Cornerhouse restaurant is amazing. Let me know in the comments your thoughts about female friendship, making new friends and of course, your fave pizza topping.