Staying Stylish in Suburbia

"Friend Dating"

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How finding new friends can feel a lot like dating...

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” - C.S. Lewis

Whenever my best friend from college and I describe how we met, it ends up sounding like a burgeoning romance. And for all intents and purposes it was. I'll be the first to admit that I totally friend courted her. My initial interest started out as fairly superficial too. I dug her style which made me that much more interested in getting to know her. When we ended up in English class together I thought to myself this chick has style and she's clever. Now that's the kind of gal-pal for me. Then one night it happened. We wound up at a party. The stars collided and by the end of the night as the dancing and drinking were winding down we found ourselves sitting on the floor talking about our random tastes in music among other things."Wait! You listen to OutKast and you have Frank Sinatra? No way! Me too!" And from then on we just was a match made in friendship heaven.

“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person.” - Audrey Hepburn

It was the same story only a slightly more grown up version with my best friend out in Cali. We met and it was love at first playgroup. Before we knew it we were going on stroller walks and spilling the beans about everything from our similar styles in child rearing to our marriages, finishing each others sentences and making each other laugh out loud all the while.

But here's the thing...that type of connection doesn't happen everyday and it certainly doesn't happen without a bit of effort. In both cases I had it in mind that I needed some good friends. New to college or new to a city, I was going to have to strap on my girlie-gettin' boots and go out and find me some like minded ladies to hang with.

I've been thinking about that lately. Just how similar the process of finding new friends is to dating in general. Think about it. It's all about the chemistry. It's hit or miss. It takes up a lot of your time and there are guarantees that it won't just fizzle out in the end.

Once when I was in my twenties someone told me that I aught to write down of all the qualities and I wanted in a man. I was single at the time and they said it would give me a clear sense of what I was looking for. I still have the journal with that long list scrolled down the page. And I'm not saying it works or it doesn't work, I'm just saying that not long afterwards I met my husband and the rest as they say is history. Our meeting felt totally random and yet completely meant to be. And who knows, maybe it did have something to do with the list-making, in the sense that it got me to play an active role in deciding who it was I wanted to welcome into my life.

If I were to list out the BEST qualities my closest friends all have in common it would look something like this.

  • Kind
  • Curious
  • loyal
  • Funny with slightly naughty sense of humor
  • Creative and/or Artistic
  • Willingness to be silly
  • Generous
  • Open minded
  • Spiritual
  • Smart
  • Interesting
  • Positive
  • Honest
  • Down to earth

Now that we've moved to a new city I'm back on the lookout for friends. I still have my besties to lean on from afar but it's important to have a local support system as well. I've been going to mom groups and I have some pretty great neighbors too. Everyone has been super friendly so far. It's just about breaking through the more formal get-to-know-you stuff and getting down into the real nitty gritty of friendship which can take time. If only it were as simple for me as it is for my daughter. She sees another little person around her size and it's no questions asked let's play!

Of course it's a bit more of a process for us old folks and sometimes you end up having to weed out the wrong ones, same as dating. But I think one of the big difference between "friend dating" versus romantic dating is that while your life partner should possess a whole plethora of overall qualities to make a good match, friends can fulfill more singular needs in your life. In other words not everyone has to be a soul mate. I have friends that I love to talk about books and writing with and others who I love to go out and party with. They all bring something different to the table. It can be intimidating and exhausting to put yourself out there but in the end I've always found my efforts worth the while. Because as Winnie-the-Pooh so artfully states, "You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go and get them sometimes."

How about you? How important are good friends in your life. Have you found the process of finding good peeps easy or hard?


This post was somewhat inspired by this robberstore lookbook. A series of photos of women and their best friends.

Source: Uploaded by user via Juniper on Pinterest

Source: via Charlotte on Pinterest


  1. It's not the easiest process for sure, especially when those most available around you are at different stages in their lives. That's the first think I have to think about when looking for a new friend. Just as you would in a new boyfriend / husband !!! Never made the connection before. Very interesting !

    1. I agree. Being at the same stage in life is essential!