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?