Girlfriend Celebrations - Because Girlfriends Make Life Better

Needing New Friends is Normal!

Continuing our Month of Friendship series, Shasta Nelson is an expert on new friendship: Her GirlFriendCircles website and introduction service is successfully matching women friends, in real life, across the country! She’s done a lot of thinking on both the art and the science of making friends. Below, she shares why making new friends is important at any life stage. Enjoy!

by Shasta Nelson

When I moved to San Francisco, I had an amazing circle of friends spread across the country but soon realized that as much as I loved Facebook and my iPhone—I certainly didn’t want all my relationships to be limited to them. I reached a point where I wanted to make new memories with friends, rather than the reporting of life or re-living of the past that we tend to do with “those we used to be close to.”

I needed present friends. I needed local friends. I needed new friends.

Normalize New Friends

Those are hard words to say though, for some reason. We have this stigma that to admit needing friends might somehow be misinterpreted as saying “No one likes me” or “I have no friends.” It taps into all our insecurities, fears and any shame we have over any relationship that didn’t last forever.

In fact, most friendships don’t last forever. Reported in September’s MORE magazine, Sally Koslow says that “the average person now replaces half her friends every seven years.” At first I gasped when I read that, and then I nodded in recognition.

The truth is that there are multiple times in our lives when we need to expand our circle of friends! Tons of times! Whether it’s a move, a break-up/divorce, a realization that all your friends have kids/are single/moved away, a change in jobs or decision to work from home, a life-changing experience, a new hobby, a shift in life focus when our kids move out or we retire…. The list could go on-and-on! None of those reasons are a judgment against us! They are simply stages of life that remind us that while a couple of our friendships might prevail through differences, the truth is that we all need to be constantly replenishing our circle of friends to ensure it’s meaningful for who we are now.

Need New Friends

There have been numerous reports linking a circle of supportive friends to lowering stress levels, increasing happiness, prevention of diseases, faster recovery rates for healing and greater chance of reaching life goals. Add to that the reports that relationships improve your odds of survival by 50 percent, and we have a serious reminder that our friendships are not a nice-to-have, but a necessity!

The research published in July in the journal PLoS Medicine, compared low social connectedness to have the same health impact as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, to being an alcoholic, as more harmful than not exercising and twice as harmful as obesity!

I’m not a big fan of telling people how many friends they need. We’re all different, but studies seem to suggest people are happiest with somewhere between 5-10 meaningful friendships. And other reports show that half of us have less than 2 people we’d call real friends. There seems to be some discrepancy between our experience and our ideal?

Note that there is a difference between how many people you’re friendly with versus how many people you call a friend. Huge difference. It’s common to assume we have lots of friends, but when we examine it we realize we simply know a lot of friendly people through work and school. An easy test for me is to ask myself “How many people would I feel comfortable asking for a ride to the airport?” or “Who is in my life that I could text last-minute to see if they were available to hang out without it feeling weird?” Easy things—we’re not even talking about taking care of your kids when they’re sick!

Invite New Friends

Recognizing who is in our circle and acknowledging if, and when, we need to invite more meaningful friendships into our lives is part of taking care of our wellbeing. I’ll be the first to admit, it was often more tempting to call an established friend and tell her about my need to go shopping than it was to call up a potential friend to see if she wanted to go shopping. In the beginning it was less meaningful to talk to a new friend than to call someone who already knew me, but I held the truth that, like dating, I simply had to put the consistent time into my new relationships to create those bonds.
It didn’t “just happen.” Friendships don’t just show up. Fun people might. But turning them into friendships simply is an investment we have to make.
And now, every Tuesday night, I have girls’ night with the same four women in San Francisco. I know who to call for a ride to the airport and who to text for a last-minute get together!

So, now, my passion is helping foster that process for everyone else! Do it for your health & happiness!

Shasta Nelson is a life coach and founder of, the only online community that matches new friends offline by connecting circles of women in local areas. She blogs weekly about women’s friendships at and is hosting friendship events in Chicago, San Francisco and L.A this month.

The Friendship Circle (a network of five organizations committed to celebrating the power of female friendships) is partnering in September for a Month of Friendship. Visit these Friendship Circle websites daily in September for more inspiration and information:

  • The Friendship Blog – by psychologist, professor of psychiatry, and author, Dr. Irene S. Levine (The Friendship Doctor), author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving A Breakup with Your Best Friend. Follow Irene on Twitter.
  • GirlfriendCelebrations – premier source of girls night ideas on the web. Founded by friends Dawn Williams Bertuca and Tina VanZant Bishop. Girlfriend Celebrations on Facebook and Twitter
  • - only online community that matches new friends offline by connecting circles of women in local areas, by Shasta Nelson. On Facebook and Twitter.
  • - online community for women based on inspiration, appreciation and celebration of female friendship. Created by Debba Haupert. On Facebook and Twitter.
  • MWF Seeking BFF - chronicles the author’s search for a new best friend after moving to a new city for love, by Rachel Bertsche.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

September is the Month of Friendship – And We’re Celebrating With Our Girlfriends!

Guess what, girlfriends? We’ve declared September the Month of Friendship! To celebrate, this week we’re proudly featuring posts by all the bloggers in the Friendship Circle. We think you’re going to enjoy meeting them, exploring their websites and reading what they have to say about female friendship. Look for our own contribution on Friday, but for now, check out this contribution by Debba Haupert, founder of Girlfriendology.

By Debba Haupert

Admit it. We love to celebrate holidays.

Some because we get the day off work (thank you Presidents Lincoln and Washington), some out of respect (Labor Day and Memorial Day), some based on relationships like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. We show our love on Valentine’s Day, our gratitude on Thanksgiving and our history on the 4th of July. We even go so far as to recognize our passions with National Ice Cream Month and Rubber Duckie Day, our fears – National Mold Awareness Month (yikes!) and pretend everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

We’ve got a holiday for just about everything – very event, passion, religion and quirk that we want to recognize, acknowledge, draw attention to and celebrate.

But what about celebrating the unique relationship that is known to make women healthier, happier, less stressed, live longer and even feel more beautiful? Doesn’t that warrant a special celebration? Doesn’t the combination of raised self esteem, being given the gift of laughter when you wanted to cry, having someone to call when you get bad news or just knowing you have a friend who won’t let you down deserve its own celebration?

WE think so.

WE are a group of women who are following our passion of inspiring women to connect, appreciate and celebrate female friendships. We are five writers and friendship experts who have partnered together to promote the benefits of female friendship, ideas on how to connect with and celebrate friends, insights into all aspects of friendship and general ‘girlfriend advice’ for women. We blog, speak, publish, tweet and inspire female friendship every way we can.

We are the “Friendship Circle”

We all believe that we should celebrate female friendship. So we’re partnering in September for a Month of Friendship to bring attention to the need that women have to prioritize their friendships, to provide inspiration on spending time with and celebrating those friendships, and to highlight the benefits in store for females who have strong bonds with their girlfriends.

Who are WE? We’re glad you asked!

The Friendship Blog – Produced by psychologist, professor of psychiatry, and author Dr. Irene S. Levine (The Friendship Doctor), The Friendship Blog is the only authoritative place for women on the internet to anonymously ask and receive advice about their friendship problems and dilemmas. The blog was created in 2007 and helped create the platform for Dr. Levine’s recent book, “Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend.” Find her on twitter .

GirlfriendCelebrations – The premier source of girls night ideas on the web. Founded by friends Dawn Williams Bertuca and Tina VanZant Bishop in 2005, the blog offers original ideas for girls night in, girls night out, girlfriend get-togethers and girlfriend getaways. Believing that “Girlfriends Make Life Better™,” these girlfriends take women beyond “bunco” and deliver fun and meaningful ways for female friends to stay connected. Find them on Facebook here and on Twitter and . – The only online community that matches new friends offline by connecting circles of women in local areas. In over 25 cities and growing fast, women between 21-65, are matched and introduced to each other in small groups at local cafes and wine bars to meet other women who value expanding their circle of face-to-face friends. Founder Shasta Nelson, a life coach, blogs weekly on women’s friendship issues. Find Shasta at  and on twitter – The online community for women based on inspiration, appreciation and celebration of female friendship. Girlfriendology offers inspiring blogs, BlogTalkRadio podcast interviews with amazing women, girlfriend gifts, online communities and more. Founded in 2006 by Debba Haupert, Girlfriendology has a large and growing social media community of 19k+ Twitter followers (& we block men!) and 7k+ female Facebook fans. Find Debba at and on twitter .

MWF Seeking BFF – written by Rachel Bertsche, MWF Seeking BFF chronicles the author’s search for a new best friend after moving to a new city for love. In her daily posts, Bertsche reveals anecdotes from her quest, shares resources for meeting new people, and wonders about modern-day friendship conundrums. MWF Seeking BFF the book will be published by Ballantine in early 2012. Find Rachel on twitter .

The Month of Friendship kicks off TODAY and will feature a cross-platform series of blog posts on each of the five participating websites. Each founder will each write a post in her particular area of expertise, with one post appearing on all five websites each day.

So girlfriend, you’re invited to join us on this fun, friend-filled month with the Friendship Circle. Follow these daily blogs, join our Facebook pages and get in the conversation about the incredible blessings and benefits of girlfriends. And, like girlfriends do, share these blogs with your girlfriends. Together we can influence women to support each other, reach out to women in need of a friend and to be the kind of girlfriend we’d love to have.

Celebrate the Month of Friendship with the Friendship Circle!

Debba Haupert  is founder of, the online community of women based on inspiration, appreciation and celebration of female friendship. Read the rest of this entry »