My struggle (and then success!) with meeting new friends in Seattle…
My whole life, I have had a ton of amazing girlfriends. I even have a plethora of bridesmaids dresses to prove it. Twelve, to be exact! Here is a sampling…
Here I am with my own 9 bridesmaids <3
I have been close friends with Sara for 32 years. Julia since preschool. Jill, Melissa, and Lis have been my girls since middle school. Katie? My BFF since our first day of high school. Then there are Julie, Trisha, Kristina and another Sara. Friends since college. And my sister-in-law, Wendy. I heart these girls immensely. And there are more, too, I just don’t want to go on forever! I’m so proud of and grateful for my friendships.
When I moved to Seattle 4 years ago, I was experiencing a serious mix of emotion. Excited, terrified, ecstatic, confused…you name it and I’m sure I felt it at some point during our move across the country. Dan took these photos of me during our trek from Detroit to Seattle. There are a ton of photos of me looking insanely excited, but I love these images because they remind me of the vulnerability I felt during the time of our move. How I had no idea what was in store for us and how we have made our life here even better than we imagined. (It’s crazy and wonderful how an image can so easily bring you back to that time, feeling, and place.)
Something that had my stomach twisted in knots during this time was wondering how long it would take to establish a whole new network of girlfriends. Not that I wouldn’t remain extremely close with my girls back home, but 2500 miles is a long way to drive to meet for a cocktail.
The first several months were lonely ones. I had Dan, but, well, he isn’t a girl. I was finding that meeting people in Seattle wasn’t quite as easy as I was hoping. In fact, it was down right hard. After almost a year, I was starting to freak out. Was it me? Was I doing something wrong? Or does the Seattle Freeze truly exist?
But, I didn’t give up. I started getting involved in different things that interested me and I started chatting up random people. Did some of those people look at me funny and not reciprocate? Sure! I didn’t care, though. I took risks and put myself out there.
I went on some blind friend dates because a friend of a friend had a friend in Seattle who they thought I should meet. My friend Dani and I still laugh about our blind friend date. We decided to go to a roller derby bout in Tacoma, which is an hour away. What would possess us to decide on an activity that required two hours in the car alone? What if we didn’t like each other?! Dani is the blonde bride in the green bridesmaid group in the photo collage at the top, so clearly, our meeting went well
I was finally making solid connections. I even made a friend by talking to someone randomly about the volunteer work I do with Knowledge for People who connected me with an awesome girl. This connection led to more connections, which led to even more connections! The next thing I knew, I had an awesome group of girls to laugh with and go to book club with and to vent to and to drink wine with.
And then there is Brenda. Brenda lived upstairs from us at our first place in Seattle and then moved upstairs from us again at our second place. She studies whales and is often out to sea in Alaska for months at a time. When she is gone, I count the days until she comes home again. Brenda is one of my soul sistas and I’m so lucky to have met her.
Then, photography happened. Heellllllloooooo, awesome people!! I have met so many incredible people since joining the photography world. As far as local photog girlfriends go, I recently connected with a few fabulous ladies and I have a feeling we are going to become very close, very quickly!
Here we are looking extra serious… ha!
If you are in need of some new friends, don’t give up! While making friends isn’t always easy and can be scary at times, YOU CAN DO IT!
* Look for local Facebook or Craigslist groups that interest you
* Join a yoga or Zumba class
* Give someone a compliment in line at the grocery store
* Hang out at the dog park–people love to chat about their dog!
* Volunteer for a cause you believe in
* Take cooking or knitting lessons or any sort of lesson/class
* Coordinate a meet-up for photographers in your area (most cities have groups on Facebook)
Understand that developing meaningful, comfortable relationships takes time as adults. As kids, it was so much easier. My mom handed me over the fence to Sara’s mom when I was 3 years old and we have been friends ever since. Katie and I sat next to each other our first day of high school and discovered we had swimming class together the next hour and she came over to my house after school. As adults, it feels different. My dear friend Julie and I had hung out several times in a group and had so much fun. But, taking that leap to hanging out with just the two of us was something we worked up to. We finally had our first dinner out together and at some point during the constant chatting, the conversation turned to something like:
Julie: I like hanging out with you!
Me: I like hanging out with you, too! We need to do this more often.
Julie: I think we do, too!
Me: I was worried I was starting to call you too much.
Julie: Dude!! I was feeling like I was calling you too much!
Me: I feel like we are dating now.
Julie: Hahahaha, we totally just had our first friend date!
Okay, so not every start of a friendship is as cheesy as how mine and Julie’s went. Just know that something is bound to come of it if you let go of that fear and put your fabulous self out there!!!