Women Seeking New Friends
Yes, I know the title implies this is strictly for women. But guys, I promise you this information is universal. It’s about finding people to bring into your inner circle that are not only in alignment with who you are, but they also push you to be a better version of yourself. I specifically want to address all you female readers because we tend to be extra critical of one another and that needs to change.
Why We Need a Tribe
It’s an innate human desire to want to connect with others. Its what helps us to feel like we belong and we matter. When this desire is not being met, we tend to feel isolated and alone. We may retreat into ourselves and question our self-worth. “What’s wrong with me?” Or we may lash out at the people we feel have rejected us because we can’t verbalize or communicate our true feelings. “I’ll hurt you because I’m in pain”.
When you reflect on your most memorable life experiences, I’m going to bet you weren’t alone when the event was happening. Chances are you were sharing a connection with someone or something, like nature. That’s because connection magnifies our experiences. We combine our energy with that of another, and together we share a powerful moment that we store in our memory.
Finding your tribe is about finding quality connections with like-minded women. When we are in the company of those that are disrespectful, unkind, or abusive, we have moments of feeling detached. Certain behaviors have the power to sever our connection, almost immediately. Our own anger, resent or frustration may push us even further away. While every relationship has its challenges, not every relationship is capable of overcoming them. When we are searching for members of our tribe, we are searching for other women who are willing to do the work with us.
Why We Fight One Another
There are numerous reasons why our friendships with other women can be so challenging. Unfortunately, we live in a society that often instigates competitiveness between women. This is especially true when it comes to ideas and beliefs about dating and marriage. As girls, we are taught that we have to be prettier, skinnier, funnier, and smarter than other girls to be seen and heard by boys.
We see this competitiveness manifesting today in the rise of sexualized behavior among young girls. Girls are pressured by boys to engage in sexual activity just to be recognized and liked, only to be slut-shamed by other girls. And this is not an age-specific behavior. Grown women treat each other with the same type of disrespectful, harmful behavior despite the maturity we claim to possess.
I don’t want to simplify this complex history we have with one another but my experience has taught me that it really comes down to self-love. A love of self would never allow for this type of engagement. It’s only when we feed into our insecurities and doubts that we feel the need to lash out at others. We’ve either got something to prove or something to hide.
The fear of acknowledging behaviors we aren’t proud of and not quite sure how to fix often keeps us in deflection mode. We think, “If I keep pointing out the flaws in others, maybe they won’t see the flaws I’m so desperately trying to hide.” Choosing to take ownership of our issues and grow takes work. Whereas criticizing other women is not only easy, it gives us a temporary boost in ego and validates our behavior. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves to sleep at night.
What to Look For in New Friends
I define energy as the connection that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. Dr. Brene Brown
When you are ready to find new members of your tribe, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Ultimately, you’re looking for female friends who will enrich your life. This doesn’t always mean that they need to be like you. Diversity and differences are wonderful ways to expand your cultural knowledge and challenge some of your old or faulty beliefs. Don’t look for women like you. Seek out women who get you. Here are some other characteristics and relationship features to help you find your tribe.
- Start by looking at your current group of women friends. Is there anyone in that group who has had your back since day one? Maybe you’ve only known her for a year but you two just clicked. Take notice of the awesome women already in your life and focus on the qualities that make your friendship strong and valuable.
- Seek like-minded women. This doesn’t necessarily mean women who think like you. It’s more about connecting with women who share your core beliefs when it comes to values and morals.
- Find women who are in alignment with your goals. If you’re driven and not afraid to take risks, you may feel out of sync with someone who prefers the status-quo and is risk averse.
- Seek growth-oriented women. These are women who are aware they don’t know everything and have a strong desire to grow and evolve. When we are open to growth, we tend to be more receptive to the feedback from the people close to us. They demonstrate accountability for their behavior and at the same time are willing to support your growth.
- Look for female friends who know how to be selfless. They should be capable of expressing their needs and open to putting those needs aside to be there for you on occasion. They don’t demean or diminish you to make themselves feel better.
- Connect with women who practice open and honest communication.
For more in-depth guidance on how to find your tribe of women, listen to the Nourishing Bits Podcast episode: Find Your Tribe of Women
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