On Picking Up Women {lessons from month 1}

by Rachel on February 7, 2012

When I wrote about making adult female friends last month, I didn’t know this was a challenge so many women were dealing with. But after reading all the comments and thinking about it more, it was clear: we’re all likely to make a lot of big life changes in the years after college, and it makes sense that our friends wouldn’t be coming along with us every step of the way. I felt really encouraged when I learned that I wasn’t the only one who had this problem, and I was determined to go out and make new friends for the team, so to speak. I had to show everyone that courting friends could be done!

Well, one month in, I’m back to tell you…it can be done!

I’ll admit that I got pretty lucky with this; my blog post led to a bunch of Houston-area women reaching out to me and saying they, too, wanted new friends. I understand that not everyone has a blog and can just shout from it, “SOMEBODY BE MY FRIEND!” But most people have some form of social media where they can shout this. And if you’re not the Facebook or Twitter type, you can still put the word out there in real life — to coworkers, old friends who might know of people in your new city, etc. So don’t think you can’t pull this off too.

Friend dates I went on in January.

Friend date #1: yoga + dinner. Part of the reason I joined a yoga studio at the end of last summer was to make friends. While I haven’t made any friends at the studio, I can say that it’s helped indirectly because so many other potential friends do yoga, so it makes for an easy date. This was actually my second yoga/food date with Katie; the first was way too long ago. After my post, we decided to make hanging out a priority again. So one Saturday night, we used a Groupon we had both bought to attend a class at YogaOne in Houston and then headed to Central Market for dinner afterward. It was really fun. While our first friend date  wasn’t bad, this one was just better. That’s the thing about dates…they just get less awkward and more comfortable over time.

Friend date #2: free DEFINE class at Lululemon + lunch. This was a three-way date which is a great way to go. The more people you have there, the more potential there is for good conversation. (Because yeah, sometimes there can be awkward pauses on friend dates.) First, the class was just great. It was packed with women (and some men!) and there was just so much energy in the room. It reminded me how much I love DEFINE. While the class was fun, there was more opportunity for getting to know each other over lunch after class; we talked about working out, relationships, making friends, living in Houston, and all sorts of topics. Overall it was just a really fun conversation with two really positive, friendly, laid-back women.

Lessons I learned on making new friends in January.

Friend dates (especially group friend dates) need to be organized well in advance. I wish they could happen more spontaneously but women have busy lives and a lot on their plates. It’s better to start planning in advance because there will likely be a lot of back-and-forth before anything is nailed down. With the group friend dates, a lot of ideas were thrown out up front, but not all ended up happening this month, and that’s fine.

Going on a friend date every weekend might not happen and that’s OK. Even though I felt ambitious at the beginning of the month, I quickly remembered that any sort of dating takes effort. You might want to pace yourself so you don’t burn out. At first, I was worried that just one friend date with a new friend in a month wasn’t “enough” but now I know that realistically, that might be all that works with all of our schedules right now. I also missed a couple group dates I had on my schedule due to last-minute work conflicts, which I had no control over. But I think as we get to know each other better, we’ll want to make more time for each other so it will gradually start to happen more frequently.

Two-part dates are a good idea. Like I said in my original post, it’s a good idea to suggest an activity for your friend date. However, following it with some sort of meal or drink gives you a couple added benefits. First, you get time to actually talk , which can be hard to do during said activity. Second, you have something to talk about. Again, awkward pauses are a real thing. At least if you just did something together, you’re guaranteed to have something in common.

With two friend dates under my belt, I’m feeling good! I already have two exciting activities planned for February: I’ve signed up for an aerial arts strength class with Meghan thanks to Living Social and I’m hosting our official friend-seeking group’s first book club meeting. I’m looking forward to it!

How did your first month go? Any friend date lessons to report?

{ 24 comments }

1 Rachel February 7, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Love it! I used the advice in your original post to reach out to some folks in my area (Boulder/Denver). A few weeks ago, my BF and I met up with my old co-worker and her BF for happy hour. We had a lot of fun, and bringing the boys was a great way to keep the pressure off and conversation going. The next week, I used another tip and suggested we all meet again for a specific event at a bar for a second date. She never responded (girls will be girls), but at least the food at the first date was great, and I got to test out friend dating!
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2 erin February 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm

it was one of my goals for the first quarter of 2012 to make more friends, or at least try to pick up hanging out with some of the girls that I already know. And it’s gone fairly well! one of my neighbor/friends – we’ve gone out on several occasions, and i even texted her to see if she wanted to go for a walk one day, and it’s all been fun! another girl, she works like 5 minutes from me, so i asked her for a happy hour, and it was fun! I actually am chatting back and forth with another girl i met through girlfriend circles, trying to schedule something for after work, hopefully next week! and i’m doing an impromptu trip to rochester this weekend to visit my best girl friend, I figure husband’s out of town, i might as well go too!

3 julie @ peanut butter fingers February 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm

i really relate to this series, rachel! i am “friend dating” at the moment since moving to a new town. i went out for coffee w/ a nice girl once and then we took my dog on a hike the following week. i felt goofy reaching out at first, but, like you said, many times other women are just as interested in making friends as well. i am also trying to use the resources i have at my disposal (blogging!) and will be attending a blogger meet up in my area tomorrow night. hoping to meet some new friends there as well!
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4 Parita @ myinnershakti February 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I love these posts because they’re prepping me for my big move to Fort Lauderdale in July. That’s where my fiance and I will be living after the wedding, and I’m a little scared because he’s in med school and I don’t know anyone down there. I’m always on the lookout for ways to make new friends and will be more so after July. Thanks!

5 Lesley February 7, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I live in Fort Lauderdale! :)

6 Toya February 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I have recently joined a roller derby team and have met many new friends! It’s actually great because going into the team, I didn’t think I would have that much in common with a lot of the girls, but surprise surprise, I do! music, food, sense of humor! It’s absolutely fabulous! I wanted to join roller derby because I love to skate, but also because I wanted to broaden my horizon of friends since it has definitely been hard making new friends after college. I’m so happy that I am part of the team now, there are a great bunch of girls and guys who I look forward to getting to know and participate in more friend dates! Also, these girls have helped me step out of my comfort zone in social situations and also with pushing myself to the limit in practices/scrimmages!

7 Lindsay February 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Right after your post about friend dates, I asked a co-worker to have lunch. She told me she was really glad I asked because she’d been wanting to make more friends at work. It also turned out that we’d been seeing the same male co-worker, and we bonded over that (we both decided to stay away from the creep). I also made an effort to rejoin a book club I’d previously attended. Somehow, I got invited to some events that the tight-knit core group goes to and am getting to know a lot of cool people.

8 [SMASH] February 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I met a girl online via Tumblr who loves soccer and the team we both follow here in Dallas. We’re planning to meet up soon to kick the soccer ball around and hopefully find an indoor team to play on together!

9 deva at deva by definition February 7, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Love this – it’s nice to read an update on your friend-courting! I went on a friend-date in January: a 7-mile run with a girlfriend. We were able to do a LOT of catching up in that hour-plus run (we did our long run the day after an ice storm. across a bridge. hijinks ensued), and it was nice to chat.

My other friends I’ve mostly been gchatting, texting, or facebooking. It’s hard to get together when we’re on different schedules (or in the case of my friend E, in different states!). Gchat, blogging, emails, and texting suffice – for now. :-)
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10 Erin February 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I joined Meetup and went to an outing for a girls night out group in January. It was fun, but kinda awkward. I wish women were more open about making friends instead of trying to hide it.

11 Lindsey February 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Your original post inspired me to invite a friend-of-a-friend to join me for a class at the gym we both attend Our gym date sparked a “what are you doing after this?” conversation, which led to a few drinks and a lot of laughs. Since then, we’ve been attending class together weekly and have gotten together for drinks or brunch pretty much every week.

You’re so right – it’s incredibly important to schedule things in advance. I have a pretty solid group of friends in my city, having lived here for over two years, but the girls (myself included) have busy schedules and I always found myself calling the dudes to hang out at the last minute, since I knew they’d just be at home playing video games, anyway. You’ve totally inspired me to be more consistent in my efforts to spend time with female friends, and I’ve already established regular friend dates with a few girls who I wish I saw more often. Everyone seems to have picked up on the idea, and suddenly all the girls are hanging out a lot more. Thanks for inspiring us, Rachel! My social circle is much the better for it.

12 Cameo February 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm

I love this concept! I will be honest, I haven’t read your original post on this topic, but I will go back in time and read it. It is def a challenge to maintain and build friendships as we get older. I actually love blogging primarily for this reason. AND I love taking classes at boutique type studios for this reason. It’s like my blog friends and my workout friends are those friends in college who weren’t so close they were family, but the ones you always loved hanging out with and wondered why you didn’t see them more often.

Interestingly, or maybe not interesting at all, my new friends are all nearly a decade younger than I am. I think I am behind schedule and slightly immature. But, that’s ok! Breeding ain’t for everyone! (And once the breeding starts your friendships will completely change. Again.)
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13 Anon February 7, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I love this! My friends and I had been discussing how scared we are to make new friends once we all head off to grad school or real grown up life in a couple of months. As an undergrad you’re kind of all thrust together and forced to make friends–everyone is scared and must jump into a pack, whether it be in the dorms, in the dining halls, or in the greek system but then there is no skill required to do that, it’s more survival mode than a conscious effort to make friends. After 4.5 years of being friends in college, we’re all unsure on what you even DO with new friends. I’ll be passing this along!
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14 LKJSlain February 7, 2012 at 10:14 pm

I have “girlfriends” and like “A lot of them”- but I have always felt like I need that “one friend” whom just clicks with me in a way that makes it evident that we are good and close friends.

Admittedly, I am so down for movies, and dinner, and coffee, and parks, and walking, I love to go to shows, and disneyland, mall walking, and shopping. Do crafts and jewelry making, etc etc. :)

I’m not a real “girly girl”

15 Melissa February 7, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Does your sorority have a Houston-area alum club? I found that to be a great friend/networking tool in NYC. My alum club has an annual Thanksgiving potluck, holiday party, monthly happy hours, a book club, and a variety of other events throughout the year, and you can meet women from all different chapters and industries. I am extremely lucky because there happen to be about ten alums right now from my sorority and from my chapter in NYC, which is about 25% of our pledge class, so I haven’t done as much with the alum club lately, but I definitely keep an eye on the job postings and events for anything that interests me. I love the workout + meal/drinks option – adding a social element to the workout makes it so much more fun.

I also just attended my first Urban Girl Squad event, which is an organization all about making adult women friends in New York, and it was a pretty good experience.

One of my best friends is in business school and she was nervous about meeting people, and I was like, “All you have to do is compliment someone’s bag or shoes. Instant-friend!”
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16 Jennifer@ knackfornutrition February 7, 2012 at 10:34 pm

I love love love your new header! It looks great!
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17 Erica February 7, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Oh my gosh, I have this exact same problem… thank you so much for the inspiration. By the way, it’s been a while since I’ve been around here but I LOVE the new look you’ve got going on here!
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18 Rachel February 8, 2012 at 9:48 am

Thanks, lady!!

19 Kehinde February 8, 2012 at 9:42 am

Love the new look! I was just here yesterday (yes, I stalk you everyday, sometimes several times a day) and I was pleasantly surprised!
I can’t wait until the weekend so I can read all your freelance articles.
Keep on keeping on Rachel!

20 Rachel February 8, 2012 at 9:47 am

Thank you!! Yes, it just happened last night! Surprise!

21 Jacki February 8, 2012 at 10:31 am

It makes me feel a lot better knowing I’m not the only one who has struggled to make friends as an adult! I wrote about it last year (http://www.jaclynsouza.com/2011/03/lets-talk-about-friends.html) and have wondered if it’s just me, or just my area, or what.

The past year has been great because I met up with an internet friend IRL after she moved to my area, and this girl just … attracts people. She is a friend magnet. So I’ve met all these great new people through her and that is really fun. Doing yoga has been a big part of that. Some of the people we’ve met are from the studio and it’s a really great community.

I’ve been fortunate that my company has hired a bunch of cool women and I’m making more friends at work. We have been making a point to go on friend dates outside of work recently which is really nice!

BTW, love the new header. Very cute and seems a lot more “you” – yay! :)
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22 Jessica February 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I just moved to St Louis and I’m having a hard time meeting people/making friends.. this was a nice post :)
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23 Elaine Walker February 16, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Good post, I like this. it’s nice to read an update on your friend-courting! I went on a friend-date in January: a 7-mile run with a girlfriend. We were able to do a LOT of catching up in that hour-plus run (we did our long run the day after an ice storm. across a bridge. hijinks ensued), and it was nice to chat.
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24 Dana March 5, 2012 at 11:36 pm

I am loving this. I feel like I am literally following in your footsteps, as I just moved to Houston this past week, following my boyfriend who got a job here. I’m job searching and friend searching all at once and your two posts about making new friends are so helpful! My initial attempt was a yoga studio and that may prove fruitful but I like the idea of checking with friends in other areas to see if they have friends here. Thanks and keep ‘em coming!

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