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Creating Bonds: Creating a Group of Friends
Continuing my Creating Bonds series (making new friends as an adult + being auntie to your best friends kids) I wanted to touch upon how to create a group of friends. I’ve had questions from – where to begin, how do you find girls who get along, and how do you keep traditions and most importantly, what are the key tips to having longevity in a group.
There’s nothing like taking some of your favorite people and being able to hang out together all at once. I am a fan of one-on-one time of course but I always say, the more the merrier! And there are certainly perks to having a group, but don’t feel like if you don’t have one that you’re not living your best life, I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. But it is absolutely fantastic when you can find girls who love each other like sisters, have their own individual relationships with each other, it becomes like a little family – all which takes a lot of time.
I’ve always had a group of girlfriends since high school. You can say I’m like a friend herder – I believe there is strength in numbers and it’s comforting to be able to create a family dynamic with a group. So if you want to start a group because you want one, do it!
A group can be as small as 3 people! I have a group called Club MED for Melissa, Emily and Diana (above) and we go on yearly trips together, for about 15+ years. I’ve also had a group of 8 girls , we’re now at a comfortable 6 (our 13th annual Christmas pajama party and annual Las Vegas girl’s trip) which has been this way for a solid few years. It’s totally OK that life has changed, moved people and we still deeply care and love our other friends who didn’t have time to continue hanging around or moved away with life changes. We are thankful to all the memories and moments we were there for each other – and we still support our friends who we don’t see in the group setting.
Friendships you can enjoy 100% means not having expectations. In fact, I think that’s the key.
Now that I’ve said that, let’s go on with some tips to create a fun group of girlfriends. After all, they say the best time to make friends is before you need them.
How to create a group of friends
Look for similar life experience or industries
Maybe you all went to the same camp, a week long experience like a pageant, or a sport. You’ve spent enough time together, like more than a day to get familiar with each other. Get along? Great! This can be a start of a group. Invite the same girls again – and soon. This strengthens the bond and through regular meet-ups, say every month at least, you’ve got yourself a girl gang. There is no better time than after an event to attempt to create a group.
A group doesn’t have to be official, and it will take time
Our girl gang group (the Christmas pajama party and the Las Vegas girls getaway) took time – we would hang out on weekends in our twenties, celebrate each other, we didn’t really think of ourselves as a group but as time went on and we realized we were in fact always together, it made it more official I suppose with our first Christmas party I hosted.
Look for similar personalities
I introduced friends in LA and noticed they got along, we organized a monthly dinner club. Each month a girl picked a restaurant and checked dates that worked for all of us, and made reservations. We are now a group that travels and sees each other every year and go to each other’s showers and weddings, aka Club MED – Melissa, Emily, Diana. We group text. We always respond, and we are dedicated to each other. Another group is from high school, we were on the dance team together, ate on the quad, had a funny group name for ourselves, and we talk about our high school reunion (which I have yet to attend). This girl group in pajamas, we all met at different times from our love of pageantry and competed at different times – we have a Miss Arizona America and a Miss Arizona USA in our girl gang. I’m a former Fiesta Bowl Princess, that’s what I’ll throw into the hat. We’ve all had a title and sometimes we talk about pageants for those who are still involved but that’s just what initially bonded us in our mid-twenties.
Remember it takes time to build a tradition, and repeat it. It gives the girls something to look forward to. You may have to be the host, or be the one who remembers it.
Put in the effort to show up, do not worry about other friends not showing up. Worry about yourself, if you are there, it will show how committed you are. Some can make it, others can’t. Over time, it will form as it naturally will. No group is perfect because no person is perfect.
Be in touch as a group
My girl gang above, we use an app called GroupMe. It just seems more fun than a group text message which for me personally gives me anxiety when it’s a huge chain of people. This is more of a chat room style and you can schedule events, change the group photo, “heart” the comments and all your photos are archived. I also like that it gives a special “ring” notification when a message is in the group so I know it’s important. I always get excited to hear that notification sound because it usually means something fun, hilarious is about to happen! You can also send videos on Marco Polo (I will say if you have a lot of girls who like to chat that can be very time consuming to watch – haha).
There’s usually a queen bee aka planner
Want a group of friends? Then start it. Anything I’ve ever wanted I would create. Sometimes you might be the one who is planning all the time, but that’s OK! Maybe your friends are busy with kids, trust me they APPRECIATE you getting everyone together because they don’t have a second to think about it but if they come, they are thrilled someone came up with the idea.
A group doesn’t have to local
You don’t have to be in the same city or state to crate a group – I know girls who fly in to meet each other and keep in touch via social. My Club MED girls have been split in different cities almost our entire existence once I left LA – one in LA, one in SF, another in Phoenix, we all take turns moving but we always keep in touch and make time to see each other.
A quick note about when your friends are in different life boats or seem non responsive due to new chapters in life (aka baby)
I also want to mention when your friends are in different life boats. I’ve been there. I don’t have kids and my friends have kids who are coming up on turning 10! Some have four kids! I went through a really hard time where I missed my friends and their lack of time because things changed. Kids have nap time, bed time, and your friend is trying to make it through the day keeping little people alive and barely has time to think about themselves. Sure they may hop on social media for a second but it’s just to take a break for a second. I really thought I was loosing friendships after some of my friends had children because they never put in effort to say hi or initiate a call or text.
And what I will say to encourage you if you are feeling this way is – be patient. Understand that it’s not a personal thing. They aren’t just not texting you, they aren’t texting anyone.
But if they respond, that’s a friend who wants to keep in touch with you who is thankful that you are reaching out and making an effort. Invite them out, they will come. You may have to do this for a while but IT IS WORTH IT. I promise with every inch of my being that it is worth maintaining a friendship even if you feel like you are putting in more time being in different stages, because your friend needs you, their kids need you as an Auntie and life gets better with more. So you can have group parties with kiddos, and embrace the life change because you want to grow with your friends and not apart.
That was longer than I wanted it to be, but I wanted to mention it. And if you have kids and your friends don’t, try to put in the effort of including them however you can and just being patient.
How to strengthen a group
- Know everyone’s birthdays.
- Everyone is on your Christmas card list.
- Plan celebrations for each other, together.
- Avoid anything that causes tension or any division – like politics or religion unless you can discuss it in a way that’s open-minded and genuine without ranting *wink*
- Always communicate if you can or cannot go. If you show respect, it will strengthen a bond.
- Check in with everyone how they are doing. You should know what is going on with everyone in the group – if you have time of course.
- Forgive and forget if offenses or disappointments happen. I’ve seen friends get upset at each other right away and then one apologizes immediately and it’s all good. It’s great to see love and maturity be a priority.
- Pick up the phone and apologize if you feel like you have hurt someone or have let someone down. I did this once right after my wedding (we pretty much eloped) and I wanted to make sure every girl understood that it was not personal and we were celebrating at the reception in my backyard.
- If you need to apologize, do it in person or on the phone and do it.
- Know that everyone is imperfect.
- Have no expectations, just have fun and love people for who they are.
- Wearing matching clothes is always fun. Or jewelry, like friendship bracelets!
- Give it time
- Be vulnerable, honest and open – if you are going through a HARD time, ask the group to be there for you.
- Be thankful – for each other and remember friendship is a gift!
It’s the same as individual friendships, being intentional, but all you are doing is communicating as a group and capitalizing on a shared interest or event of already hanging out together to create a group.
How did you create a group of friends? Do you have one, how did you meet and how long have you known each other?