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How do I make female friends like I make guy friends?
January 25, 2010 2:08 PM   Subscribe

How can I (a mid-20s female) make more female friends?

I had a decent group of girlfriends in high school, so I know this is possible... But I am having/ have had a hard time making girlfriends for a while. A lot of my friends in college were male, as I was in a male-dominated field. And I find boys just easier to talk to in general. Girls intimidate me. I never know what they're thinking and I guess I assume they're judging. But, I want more girlfriends because I also know that there are some things that I need to relate to women about. Also, I have a boyfriend now, and it would be nice to have the ladyfriends. If it matters, I am kinda girly... don't love to shop too much, but like art and doing crafts, gossip magazines, project runway.... so there are things that I have in common with women. I just don't know how to get the friendships to form. I've never made it a goal to be friends with any of my guy friends, it's just happened... (In fact, they've usually approach me.) So, it's weird to have this as a goal, but I think I need to make it one because it's not happening naturally. Anyone else overcome this issue or have any ideas?

Thanks ask.meta.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (30 answers total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've been there; I AM there; it sucks. I'm sorry.

Definitely see if there are craft groups or venues in your area. If you're on Etsy, look for other sellers; if you're into knitting, find a good LYS and see if they have charity nights or classes to suit your levels. Find something collaborative.

Then, once you've been going for a while, find someone with whom you can carpool or meet up with for coffee before or after the event. Or -- and this is a great way to really get to know someone and make a more-than-passing acquaintance -- sign up for some event that requires you to go out of town, and either sit next to someone on a bus or volunteer to drive/ride. Then you'll have people who wave at you and greet you by name instead of just being all That Chick Who Likes Blue Yarn To An Unhealthy Degree.

And if you find anything else, let me know :P
posted by Madamina at 2:29 PM on January 25, 2010


The easiest way to become friends with someone is to do something with them. That could be joining an exercise class at your gym, going to a pottery cafe and chatting with the other people there, looking for interesting classes in your area, or volunteering. It's hard to give specific techniques as that largely depends on the personalities of the people involved, but having a common activity will break the ice, give you something to talk about, and allow you enough time to evaluate the person and decide if she's someone you'd like as a friend.

Once you've found someone, you can suggest meeting up for coffee, then a meal (with or without SOs), invite her over to watch project runway... once you start exchanging birthday presents/calling just to chat, you've got yourself a friend.

You can also try to meet the SOs and female friends of your guy friends; at the next party, make an effort to speak to them as well as to your guy friends. It might feel awkward at first, but mostly because of your lack of experience/self-confidence, not because they won't want you as a friend. Keep at it, and you'll have tons of female friends in no time!
posted by Anali at 2:31 PM on January 25, 2010


Here's the big secret, I think -- women generally talk more readily (and plentifully) than men. So chat with the women around you, e.g. in your neighborhood, at the store when you shop, in the elevator, wherever. And/or join some organizations or classes that attract women -- hint, these would include craft classes and fashion classes. When you meet someone you hit it off with, tell them so and ask if they want to have coffee or a glass of wine. And so forth.

I'm more guy oriented myself, but I think women are often easier to get to know because of the talking/socializing thing we are trained to do.
posted by bearwife at 2:33 PM on January 25, 2010


I also think that it can be really useful to be sorta open with your intentions. Not OMG, let's be best friends. But something low key, like "hey, I'm really trying to spend some time with friends outside of [work/roommates/whatever] -- give me a call if you and the the other knitters/etc are going out."

Not anything huge, just a heads up that you'd be psyched to be included in some group stuff. It's a little more low key than one on one stuff.
posted by mercredi at 2:36 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mrs. Plinth likes knitting and has started a two person stitch and bitch to help develop a friendship and possibly scale up from there.

The obvious things to do are to either find or start a circle that overlaps your interesting. Finding one is easier from a commitment point of view. Micheal's, for example, does a fair number of in-store classes that you might be able to drop into to find people with similar interests. Many community centers/YMCA's have similar classes. From there you might be able to find students who are finishing classes and might want to spend time doing the craft with you. I took a woodworking class before I had tools and when I was proficient enough that I got frustrated with the time spent fixing other student's machine set-ups, another guy who had space split on some tools and continued this on our own for 3 years.
posted by plinth at 2:40 PM on January 25, 2010


Seriously, I've felt your pain in the past. I also work in a male dominated field and it's just hard to make new friends when everyone spends most of the day slumped over computers. Therefore, it's best to make connections outside of work if you have any free evenings.

I was so lonely for female company the first year of graduate school, but luckily I learned that it's useful just to join something (even if it's not specifically for ladies), get to know the people there, and then form friendships independent of the group with the ones that click with you. The nice thing is that friends come with friends of friends...who may eventually become friends.

If you're an artsy person keep in mind that lots of places have open studio hours where creative people can gather. Your city might have a sewing studio or a print shop that is open to the public. These places are almost always packed with prolific, interesting people, some of whom are women. If you're curious about what's available in your town check out the local boards on Craftster.

Another great organization for meeting people is the Church of Craft, which has branches in most major cities. I don't now where you are , but the Church of Craft NYC is really cool and meets at Etsy Labs. There is also a Craft Collective in Pittsburgh that is full of unique, friendly people.

Personally, I have a tight group of girlfriends gathered from a dinner club I joined a few years ago. The club meets once a week for food and the women of the group meet once every few weeks for drinks or berry picking or hiking. We're all very different people with different jobs, but we have a love of food and cooking in common. Plus, some of them are great girlfriends who are always a phone call away when I need someone to talk to.
posted by Alison at 2:50 PM on January 25, 2010


Meeting People Is Easy!

I second mercredi's excellent advice to be open, and here are some ideas of places you can put his/her advice into practice:

1. If your crafting tastes run to the fiber arts, drop in on an open knitting/crocheting night at a local yarn store. Check Ravelry for local groups that might host stitch-n-bitch events. If your craft pursuits run in another direction, you can still look for groups at your local craft shop or art supply store.

2. Are you lucky enough to live in a Dance Dance Party Party jurisdiction? If so - go! You could also check out yoga classes or other types of dance classes.

3. Any classes, really - if there's something you've been interested in pursuing anyway - painting, creative writing, cooking, learning an instrument or another language - try signing up for a class at your local community college or adult ed center. That one is kind of win/win because even if you don't make any lasting friendships, you'll still get the benefit of having taken the class.

4. Do you like to read? Check your local independent bookstore (or maybe even your local chain that is acting as a local independent bookstore) for book clubs or reading groups. Bonus if the groups are focused on a genre or subject in which you are particularly interested (sci-fi, vampires, Victorian lit).

5. Maybe this is a big city thing, but there are a lot of bars around me that have Project Runway nights. Some of my best friendships were forged in bars.

6. Volunteer! There are lots of opportunities for activism around women's issues, if you are so inclined, but even if you just volunteered to walk dogs or hang out with the cats at your local animal shelter you'll have a chance to meet some like-minded women. Some organizations that I have volunteered with have women's groups.

7. Church. If you're of a particular denomination, see if your local church has a women's group. If your non-religious or atheist, drop in your local Universalist Unitarian church one Sunday and see if that something that feels right for you, and if it does, join their women's group.
posted by jennyb at 3:04 PM on January 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Also, you say, "I've never made it a goal to be friends with any of my guy friends, it's just happened... (In fact, they've usually approach me.)" This makes me think that you'll probably have to retrain yourself to take the initiative, rather than sit back and see who comes to you. That might be easier said than done, depending on how outgoing you are or your level of comfort in social situations, but I think it will help you be more successful in making friendships.

And don't forget that women have the best socially acceptable conversation opener available to them: when you see a woman who seems like she might be an interesting person to get to know, compliment something she is wearing. If she's open to a friendly exchange, it's an instant conversation starter.
posted by jennyb at 3:08 PM on January 25, 2010


I work in a male-dominated field too so I go through this problem every time I move! Something one of my fellow girls did at a large company I worked for once was start a monthly girls-lunch thing. We'd all done the 'oh-hi-other-female-person' thing in the halls and it was really nice to get to know each other better. Like all such endeavors it took some energy to keep from petering out occasionally but we all got a lot out of it, and yeah, made friends. Most of my really close friends I've made through work.

Also supporting the knitting club idea. You could check Ravelry out for a local group. Knitters are super-sociable! Just mention to a knitter 'gee, I'd like to learn to knit sometime' and you're guaranteed a couple of 'dates'. Any activity-type group thing that you would want to do anyways is a good way to meet people-- browse around meetup.com for subjects that interest you. The advantage of doing something that you're interested in anyways, is it takes the edge off 'must-bond-with-person-immediately' vibe which you definitely want to avoid.

And like all nascent human relationships, it all goes much easier with alcohol.. learn-to-knit night at a pub might not get much knitting done but you'll go through the awkward socialization stages much, much faster.

on preview: Hah! the sociability of knitters is famous it seems!
posted by Erasmouse at 3:12 PM on January 25, 2010


Does your BF have male friends who are also in couples? Start there, have some dinners or get-togethers at your place, and see if any of those women are ones you click with. Then it will be easy to make more plans with them, as they've already been to your house. You can work it from big group to small group to double date to one-on-one friendship.

Take a class (not necessarily toward a degree) at a local college or do a community education class. Then you have something in common with all the other people right away and you won't feel awkward inviting them for coffee. These are also people who can be invited to your other group activities. Tell them to bring a date so they feel more comfortable getting into your circle.

Don't get discouraged if these things don't yield fast friendships. You may only find one or two women you really click with, and it is likely that these friendships will move more slowly than you would wish because you aren't being constantly thrown together the way people are in high school and college. I have found that the frequency of contact you can expect from a friend changes with age & responsibility, and that's okay.

If you find a woman who has a wide group of friends, that's a gem, because she will likely pull you into her group. You may think at first that she is too busy already to be friends with you, but in reality she is going to be a facilitator and put you in lots of situations where you meet all her other friends.

Another strategy if you are having a hard time getting someone to warm up to you because she is shy, act like you are already friends and just go for it. Ask her questions, invite her out, etc. She will probably be grateful for your pursuit of her friendship. I would be. I think the only situation where this wouldn't work was if you were an intrusive person, which, from your post, seems impossible. Good luck!
posted by Knowyournuts at 3:13 PM on January 25, 2010


I work in a male-dominated field too so I go through this problem every time I move! Something one of my fellow girls did at a large company I worked for once was start a monthly girls-lunch thing.

That's a good idea! If there's a women's professional association for your particular profession, and in my experience, there usually are such things in male dominated fields, that's a good place to start. If you are a union member, your union might have a women's group.
posted by jennyb at 3:16 PM on January 25, 2010


Whoa, did I sleep-write an AskMe question? Oh wait, I already used mine this week!

Kidding aside, I can totally empathize, as can many other female Metafilter members, apparently (let's start a support group). I am currently making the effort to make more female friends. One thing that I think will prove fruitful is the knitting meetup group I joined. I haven't been to a meetup yet, but the women in it seem a little weirder and edgier than most of the women that I interact with on a daily basis. I found it on Meetup.com. On the off-chance that you live in Austin, Texas, we should get together and watch Project Runway at Sidebar. ;-)
posted by ishotjr at 3:28 PM on January 25, 2010


I stumbled across this advice somewhere else on MeFi, but it bears repeating: mine your existing friends. Let them know you're interested in meeting new people; it's not taboo or anything. I've had good luck meeting friends-of-friends and establishing friendships from there.
posted by craven_morhead at 3:44 PM on January 25, 2010


I think we all just found some friends in this thread :)
posted by june made him a gemini at 3:50 PM on January 25, 2010


Take some sort of crafting class, preferably one that meets over several weeks instead of just once. Check your local community college or university adult / community / continuing / etc. education program and local sewing and craft stores.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:11 PM on January 25, 2010


also, try meetup.com

my closest network of female friends is thanks to a meetup I started for my neighborhood. its particularly easy to make friends with people who live close by and are easy to see
posted by dmbfan93 at 4:16 PM on January 25, 2010


Start with your male friends' female friends -- it'll likely be a rich source of women with the same 'I only have male friends' issue.

Facebook gets a lot of flak but I think it's lovely for this sort of thing. Had dinner with the friend and friend's girlfriend twice? 'Friend' her on FB and you are nicely on your way to not requiring the original friend around to hang out with her.
posted by kmennie at 4:24 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


LOL i've posted this question before I think ... if I remember correctly.

So on the off chance that any of you live on Long Island, by all means... send over a message. We can be friends.
posted by mittenbex at 5:02 PM on January 25, 2010


Are you sporty? I recommend joining your local ultimate frisbee league. You can play co-ed or women only. There might also be women's soccer near you, but I find women who play frisbee to be more easy going and generally gregarious. I've made some great friends playing sports, particularly through the co-ed leagues (which might be a great place to start if you, like me, are more comfortable with guys). You should be able to join at the beginner level if you don't already play.

Best of luck! Cool women are out there, I promise.
posted by Go Banana at 5:15 PM on January 25, 2010


Sports are a great idea, as Go Banana suggested; if you're not into sports, maybe join an exercise class of some sort? I've always been much better at making male than female friends, but I've already made a few new friends taking a women's kickboxing class. Something like that might be worth a try.

I also recommend volunteering since it tends to be female-dominated. However, in my experience volunteering (I've done soup kitchens and charity shops before) most of the volunteers are women in their 40's-60's, which may not be what you're looking for. Still, couldn't hurt.

You could also try making female friends through your male friends, if that's possible and won't result in an awkward situation. I'm still very good friends with the sister of a guy I worked with a few years ago.
posted by vanitas at 5:28 PM on January 25, 2010


One reason I took to knitting as I did is that it's a female-dominated craft, with a thriving community both online and off. At the time I was working as a Unix sysadmin, which meant that I had been "the only girl" at five jobs over ten years. I like guys fine, but I needed more balance in my life.

I started with a knitting blog, reached out to other knitters, was briefly internet famous for a silly knitting thing I did, and spent a lot of time on the various Ravelry forums once that came along. I think it's the reaching out that's the key, more than the subject itself.
posted by ErikaB at 6:33 PM on January 25, 2010


I just found this Metafilter Ravelry group and joined up (I'm redshirtknitting).
posted by ErikaB at 6:35 PM on January 25, 2010


I'm still trying to figure this out for myself. I've taken classes in different subjects and there have been lots of women there who seem like they're there for the same reasons I am, but I've never gotten up the nerve to ask someone to coffee, go to a chick flick, etc. So, I'll tell you the same thing I've been telling myself lately, "You've got to follow through." Make sure you get someone's number or e-mail address or that you make definite plans to hang out with someone.
posted by shesbookish at 7:07 PM on January 25, 2010


It's not a weird goal at all! It gets markedly more difficult to "make friends" once you're out of college. I think you've gotten good advice upthread. I've had success:

1) Tell people. So many people in their 20s/30s/etc. are in the same boat. I was just upfront and would say, "I need more friends, but it's so hard to make friends ...." and half the room would go, "I know! I've been thinking the same thing but I thought it would be weird to say so!"

2) I joined a book club. Met my closest group of friends there. But on the way to the book club, I also took copious classes (stained glass, pottery, yoga, I don't even know what), some of which I met people in, some of which I didn't.

3) Volunteered. I volunteer primarily through the Junior League (http://www.ajli.org) which is a venerable women's volunteer organization -- and therefore an excellent place to meet women in particular. :) I met the woman who introduced me to my book club in the League. But any volunteer opportunity -- Jaycees, church, gardening groups -- will help you meet people.

4) Patience ... it takes time to meet new people, find the right fit, and become friends.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:15 PM on January 25, 2010


If it matters, I am kinda girly... don't love to shop too much, but like art and doing crafts, gossip magazines, project runway.... so there are things that I have in common with women.

You have things in common with some women. This statement of yours kind of says to me that you have some kind of stereotypical expectations and you may need to get past that in order to find what you're looking for.

Plenty of women hate shopping, gossip, and have never had the slightest interest in Project Runway.

Meetup.com is a good, because it's based on your interests and hobbies. Try not to make too many assumptions about where the women will be and what they will enjoy. Just go with the flow and be yourself.
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:20 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Knowyournuts is right, in my experience - acting like you're already friend helps a lot. I find that early interactions I have with other women feel a LOT like flirting. I'm married, so this is basically the only flirting I do anymore...

I tend to mostly make friends with my husband's friends' girlfriends these days, or with his female coworkers (I have one female coworker - she's taken to hanging out with our sales staff to meet girlfriends). I'm lucky enough to have moved back to the city where I went to high school, as well, and a lot of my friends have moved back here too, so I also am in the weird position of being an adult with friends who have known her since she was 11, who hadn't seen her since high school, until reconnecting 7 years after graduation...

Yes. Female friends are hard when you don't meet women in your line of work. Having good female friends feels great and is worth the effort.
posted by crinklebat at 9:26 PM on January 25, 2010


My girlfriend has had this issue in three different cities now (we've moved a lot since college!).

Here's what has worked for her in each city:

1. Meetup.com She joined a ton of groups and really went crazy with events/meetings for about two months and made some great friends that way.

2. If you want really girly, she joined Junior League. Sort of like a Sorority for women who are not in college anymore, but very philanthropic. She's made some great friends and we have a few couples to hang out with now.

3. Workout classes.

4. My female friends.

5. She also met a girl at a Meetup event, they discussed that they both like The Bachelor, and then suddenly they were watching it every night at each other's house with wine and food. So it's an extension of Meetup, but you can use it for your like of Project Runway!


So basically, I second what everyone else has said . . but add the Junior League thing.
posted by BadgerKyle at 9:56 PM on January 25, 2010


http://ask.metafilter.com/100329/Make-me-a-platonic-babemagnet
posted by darth_tedious at 12:27 AM on January 26, 2010


Are you in Memphis? If so, let's hang out. Because I think about this all the time. I didn't grow up here, and have lost contact with friends that I had in high school/college days, so I find myself quite lonely at times, wishing for more girlfriends.

But my New Year's resolution was to get my butt in gear and try new things, which, in turn, will hopefully make me meet new people. So, I've taken up yoga, and I plan on taking a photography class in March. I have met two great girls that I'm still getting to know, and I've done exactly what Knowyournuts said. I just jumped in and acted like we were already friends.

Case in point: My husband was going to be gone on Friday night, and I was all bummed that I didn't really have plans. I told my moping self to shut up and just take the initiative. So I called on of the above-mentioned girls and asked if she'd like to come over for wine and cheese. It just happened that she already had plans for a happy hour with her coworkers, and she invited me to come along! Success.

I never thought I'd have trouble being social or making friends, but it's tough when you work full time and have house/family/other responsibilities. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I understand your pain!
posted by elisebeth at 8:45 AM on January 26, 2010


I've posted a similar question and I can relate to the OP. I received some great suggestions (similar to these) but meet-ups, book clubs, classes at the gym etc just don't work for me. Although I am outgoing, I find in those situations I was still unable to make female friends, but made plenty of new platonic guy friends. To be honest, the only ways I've been able to make lasting female friendships post-college is through roommate situations and through work. I know that changing your living or work situation might not be an option at the moment but it's truly the only thing that has worked for me in recent years (in which I also had a boyfriend). Now that I am newly single I have had an easier time meeting girl friends. Also I am very lucky that my best girl friend is incredibly outgoing and actually has a ton of females friends (and hardly any platonic male friends) so I've made some connections through her too. Definitely try meeting your bf's friend's girlfriends if there are any. That didn't work out for me but I think that is more because of the type of people my now-ex was friends with.
I hope I am not being too much of a nay-sayer here and I'd be happy to chat with you more about it, as it seems I also still have some learning to do in this area.
posted by dm_nyc at 9:08 AM on January 26, 2010


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