Admitting We Need Friends
Almost every amazing weight loss story starts with the person describing that moment when they realized something had to change: they didn't fit into a certain outfit, couldn't complete a specific activity, saw a picture of themselves that shocked them or had a doctor clearly articulate their impending consequences. What's amazing is that that moment surely wasn't the first picture they saw of themselves, wasn't the first size they outgrew or wasn't their first trip to a doctors office. Denial is powerful for a long time....
And I'm telling you what, there are a lot of us in denial about our need for more female friendship.
Feeling our Disconnection
At almost every networking event I attend, when I describe to strangers that I help match women up for friendship, I inevitably hit a nerve.
Women I barely know start telling me how they still feel the loss of a recent friend who drifted away, as though begging me to explain why it hurts so much. Some will concur how difficult it was upon moving here to figure out how to date for friends, telling me wishfully about their good friends back in New York City, or wherever home was before here. A few will inevitably tear up in recognition that they are one of the throngs of women who feel lonelier than they care to admit. It never ceases to amaze me how vast the need is felt.
And keep in mind, these are the confident and strong women who are willing to network after-hours for their businesses and seem to know everyone around them. Yet they still feel unknown. Ironically, at a time when our Facebook friend and Twitter count is growing rapidly, so is our loneliness. We are networked, but we seem to be lacking the real friends we need.
We're a whole lot more disconnected than we seem to be admitting to ourselves.
Unfortunately, feeling disconnected is as dangerous to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and twice as harmful as being obese. This area of our life needs to move from the "it would be nice to have" category to the "I'll do whatever it takes to get it" category.
Feeling our Inspiration
Back to the weight loss metaphor. While denial is admittedly there, it's often not that we don't see our weight gain as much as we don't always see what we can do differently.
When that breakthrough moment in the success story is shared, it's not that she suddenly realized she had put on weight. It's that she finally decided to care enough about it to believe she could change the outcome. Seeing the need is certainly a crucial step (it's step 1 of AA, after all) but just as significant is seeing how much power we actually have in providing the solution.
With research now suggesting that women are replacing half their friends every seven years, the process of finding, maintaining, fixing, growing, and letting go of friendships is only going to increase. This means most of us will feel the need several times in our lives. It also means we need to become skillful in fostering new friendships.
My passion is to be a spirited voice on the journey giving us all a loving kick in the butt to admit how much we care and to engage in ways that will produce for us the friends we crave. It's not going to happen instantly. But this time next year, you could have a local circle of friends. Truly.
Have you ever felt denial over your need for friends? Why do you think it's hard to admit to ourselves? Do you feel more overwhelmed with the need or with feeling powerless to do anything about it?
Huge thanks for sticking with me through the blog transfer to wordpress and feedblitz. I invite you to keep journeying with me as we carry on the conversation. Forward any posting, share on facebook or twitter and definitely leave some comments so I know you're out there! :)