Girlfriend Celebrations - Because Girlfriends Make Life Better

Got Circle Envy? How to Get the Circle of Friends You’ve Always Wanted (AND Book Giveaway!)

Do you have a circle of girlfriends, or just wish you did? For many women, having a “circle of friends” is still a dream. Irene Levine, author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend, explores the “circle” concept and offers her expert advice on how to grow your girlfriend circle. We’re honored to have her guest post, written just for GirlfriendCelebrations. Find out how to win a copy of Irene’s book below!

By Irene S. Levine, PhD (aka The Friendship Doctor)

The idea of a “circle of friends” isn’t new. Beginning in the late 1800s, Amish women formed quilting circles to share expertise and companionship. After they had finished individual patches for a quilt, they would come together (sometimes travelling over relatively long distances) during the spring and summer to lend a hand to one another in piecing them together. The quilters socialized as they sewed, catching up on gossip and developing long-lasting bonds that became part of the fabric of the Amish culture.

The desire to have an embracing circle of female friends hasn’t diminished but still remains elusive for many women. When I interviewed Jeffrey Zaslow, author of The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship, which chronicles the story of an exceptional friendship among 11 women that has extended over four decades, he told me two types of readers had written him: those who have a circle of friends similar to the “Girls” and those who wish they did! It’s easy to understand why many women without a tight-knit circle of friends would covet one for companionship, support and comfort they offer.

But as women graduate, marry, mother, divorce, move, or change work, often not even in any particular order, their lives often diverge and they find it difficult to maintain old friendships, let alone friendship circles. The girlfriends someone made in elementary and high school may live in other states or other nations. (One study of college students, found that the average student moved more than six times over the course of 19 years, and that the average distance between friends was 895 miles).  Your co-workers are more likely to hop from job to job than ever before, or decide to change their career paths entirely.

Don’t get me wrong. Not every woman wants or needs a circle. In my survey of more than 1500 women for my new book, Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend, I found that certain personality factors may predispose some women to gravitate towards circles as opposed to one-on-one relationships. For example, compared to introverts, extroverts often enjoy having a larger number of friendships and may be more likely to relish the dynamics of a group. Or they may so thrive on being with people, that they like being part of circles as well as being part of twosomes.

If you are a person who feels even a tinge of circle envy, and there are many reasons why you would, there are still opportunities to forge a sisterhood later in life. One of the keys to creating a circle is creating or finding some natural affinity group that has the potential for longevity and creating rituals to bind the ties of friendship.

The Friendship Doctor’s Prescription for Circle Envy

  • Join a knitting group, sewing circle, book club or cooking club;
  • Organize a regular canasta, bridge, Bunco, Scrabble or mah-jongg game;
  • Volunteer as part of a smaller group attached to a larger religious or civic organization;
  • Volunteer at a museum or hospital;
  • Become part of a church or faith-based community;
  • Adopt a cause, such as conservation or animal welfare, or a political action group
  • Join a support group of women who share a common problem
  • [Editor's Note: One more suggestion: Look into Girlfriend Circles, a service that introduces you to potential friends in your area.]

With any luck, you will form natural ties within the group, Then, you can figure out ways to strengthen them at GirlfriendCelebrations!

Irene S. Levine, PhD is an award-winning freelance journalist and author who is trained as a psychologist. She blogs about female friendships on The Huffington Post and on The Friendship Blog. Her book, Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend, was just published by Overlook Press. She is also a professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine.

Now For the Giveaway!

When we first heard that Irene Levine was writing Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend, we were a little dismayed. After all, friendship breakups are no fun. But now that Irene’s book has hit bookstores and we’ve read our copy cover to cover, we can truly say: This book should be on the bookshelf of every woman who cares about female friendship. Not only is it filled with the kind of smart advice Irene dispenses regularly on The Friendship Blog, it is warm, comforting and takes the shame out of losing a friendship. This book can help you come to terms with the friendships you have lost (and we’ve ALL lost girlfriends and wondered why) and give you hope for new friendships to come. It’s easy to read, and contains loads of scannable advice for us short-attention-span gals. Just read it! We’re giving away TWO COPIES of this fabulous book, courtesy of Irene Levine! To enter, simply:

1. Leave a comment on this post stating why you want the book, AND/OR

2. Re-tweet this contest using the hashtag #GirlfriendCelebrations and this link:

Two winners will be chosen at random from all entries received by 11:59 PM on Thursday, September 24, 2009. Winner must have a U.S. shipping address. Good luck!


  1. I would like to win this book because I am just learning at 33 how important a circle of girlfriends really is and would benefit greatly from reading it.

    Comment by Jennifer Beedie — September 17, 2009 @ 10:37 pm

  2. [...] Got Circle Envy? How to Get the Circle of Friends You’ve Always Wanted (AND Book Giveaway!) | Girl… – view page – cached Do you have a circle of girlfriends, or just wish you did? For many women, having a circle of friends is still a dream. Irene Levine, author of Best Friends — From the page [...]

    Pingback by Twitter Trackbacks for Got Circle Envy? How to Get the Circle of Friends You’ve Always Wanted (AND Book Giveaway!) | Girlfriend [] on — September 17, 2009 @ 10:57 pm

  3. At 38 I’ve found that after moving several times it is hard to maintain old friendships. I have recently joined Facebook in trying to reconnect with some of those people and it has been a blast.
    It would be great to win this book to read how someone else maintained their friednships.

    Comment by Cheryl — September 18, 2009 @ 6:56 am

  4. I’ve only had a few close girlfriends in my life. We’ve all separated and gone our different ways. I now see how important it is to nurture your friendships. We need our girlfriends!!!

    Comment by Sandra — September 18, 2009 @ 7:30 am

  5. I would love a copy of this book. I will be 34 next month and , unlike many, have been blessed to have some very strong friendships that have survived 20+ years with 4 out of 5 very wonderful women. Which brings me to the fifth girlfriend. We have been best friends since the age of 4 (kindergarten). Our parents allowed her to move in with us our senior year in HS so that we could even graduate together. Up until about 3 years ago- we both were experiencing extreme hardship – for me it was grieving the loss of my mother and for her a very serious personal problem. We’d survived teen hood/college/parenting all with distance. However, the distance and what we were going through have broken our relationship. I’ve reached out with no response and it hurts because i realize now that we both are the blame and that when you’ve been for that long- you’re actually family. So when times slow down and i reflect on all our memories- it’s hard to accept that this friendship may actually never bounceback. Although the love will never be lost for that best friend.

    Comment by Desiree — September 18, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

  6. I would love to have a copy of this book. At 39, I am still struggling to have and keep good girlfriends. I have made many efforts to meet and make new friends but seem to keep attracting people who are not interested in reciprocating the basics of friendship and instead, are only interested in what I can provide for them. Because I keep getting so disappointed, I am very open to positive suggestions about how to go about this in a different way. This book sounds like a great start!

    Comment by Dina — September 21, 2009 @ 8:43 pm

  7. The one thing I’ve always wanted is a true friend. I was a shy kid and really lonely for some reason. I’d pray almost every night that people would like me. If someone talked to me, I was so happy. I believed that friends are friends forever. I quickly learned the contrary. As a teenager, we moved to a new town and I was thrust into a very large school system in the midst of junior high and smack dab in the middle of THE “mean girl” era. I learned another lesson quickly…that I had to fake to be one so I wasn’t the one on the receiving end. It sure didn’t pay off. The girls that I thought were my friends only ended stabbing me in the back one by one over the years. The one that I had left I eventually stopped trying so hard to keep because it’s a one way relationship, me calling her. Well unless she wants something, then she’ll call. I’ve grown up and don’t act like the hard butt (that I never really was) anymore. Honestly, I’m actually a really good person with a big heart. I’d do anything for anyone as long as I’m not being used. So I really need this book to learn for the first time in my life how to actually really make friends. Real friends that will love and appreciate me as I will them.

    Comment by How to — September 21, 2009 @ 10:12 pm

  8. I want to read it and learn more about girlfriends. lol



    Comment by GAhome2mom — September 22, 2009 @ 9:50 am

  9. tweeted

    Comment by GAhome2mom — September 22, 2009 @ 9:52 am

  10. I follow and tweeted on twitter

    Comment by Arlene Feix — September 22, 2009 @ 9:57 am

  11. I need this book to learn how to actually make friends. Real friends are hard to come by, and I need to learn how to put the work into a friendship, that will make it long and lasting.

    Comment by Arlene Feix — September 22, 2009 @ 9:59 am

  12. I have lost two deep girl friendships in my past and am still having a hard time getting over it and understanding exactly where it went wrong. I have had a child since and am planning my wedding and cannot understand why neither of them want to be a part of that. I have reflected on the matter time and time again and gotten nowhere but tears. Hoping that an outside source can shed some light on the subject for me. Thank you,

    Comment by Miranda Check — September 22, 2009 @ 12:29 pm

  13. I need help in this category in my life after a devastating car wreck i lost most of my friends and would love to learn how to gain them back, thanks for the chance

    Comment by Pamela Scott — September 22, 2009 @ 3:00 pm

  14. I am always struggling to balance quantity versus quality. I would love a copy of this book!

    Comment by Mel — September 24, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.