Same-Sex Friendships: Why they’re important, and how to make them
Remember when you were a kid and you and your BFF rode bikes together, went back and forth from each other’s houses, stayed up way too late laughing at nothing and everything all at the same time?
Moving into adulthood means you won’t likely be spending the night over at your same-sex bestie’s house every other weekend, but it doesn’t have to mean that the benefits of a close relationship like that have to change.
If you aren’t still in touch with your childhood best friend, you aren’t alone. Life gets busy. Work, family, and other obligations often get in the way, and high school and childhood friends often drift away.
It can sometimes be difficult to replace those relationships, but having a same-sex friend that you are able to share things with is so beneficial. When your friend is the same gender, you not only have the same anatomy, but you have the ability to share things that you may not with a romantic partner, or friend of the opposite sex.
There is typically no question of attraction between same-sex friends, (unless of course, one party is not forth-coming with their sexual preference) and so that diminishes some pressure in establishing a deep relationship that can be potentially threatening to a romantic partner.
In case you haven’t heard, laughter is one of life’s best medicines and truly does have so many scientifically proven health benefits. In addition to sharing a laugh with a close friend, friendships are where we can go to gain strength, encouragement, and understanding.
No matter what you’re going through in life, it’s always better when it’s shared with a friend. Celebrating the highs, and getting encouragement through the lows is so important. But why can they sometimes feel so hard to make, or maintain once you reach adulthood?
The playing field tends to shrink once high school friends drift away for school, employment, and other opportunities. After college, the opportunity to join sororities and clubs is no longer right in front of you and so it can be challenging to find same sex friends who share common interests.
Depending on the size of the company you work for, and your ability to interact, it can be challenging to cultivate those necessary relationships in the workplace. Age ranges can differ greatly in the workplace among coworkers, and some places create a culture of competition, which doesn’t always elicit camaraderie.
Friendships are unique in that they are something we seek out, and are responsible for maintaining. If you’ve found yourself in a place where you can use a few more same sex friendships, then it’s time to step out of your comfort zone and find ways to connect.
Places like meetup.com, and other community-based listing sites can be excellent avenues to find groups of people with common interests. There are literally thousands of groups out there that are gender specific with members truly looking to connect with people that share their interests. There are mommy groups, singles groups, divorcé groups, and couples groups, so regardless of your relationship status there is a group for you.
Community involvement and volunteerism can also open doors to meet others who value altruism and similar causes. Joining an adult sports league, running, hiking, or biking group incorporates fitness and connection. It takes some effort and strength to put yourself out there, but the connections you can make are worth it.
We also live in an age where our friendships can be virtual. Looking for Facebook or other social media groups where others share similar interests can be an excellent way to “meet,” and once you find people who you’d like to share a more personal connection with, connecting via Skype or facetime can connect you with someone across the country or globe that you really hit it off with. It may not seem the same as sitting across from a friend at a coffee shop, but I’ve shared many cups of coffee with awesome people via a Google Hangout, and felt even more connected (don’t knock it till you try it!).
The avenues for connection are great, and the Internet makes searching so simple, so don’t let your location or place in life be an excuse not to cultivate great friendships. Friendships help us become better versions of ourselves; they make us more successful, and generate happiness.
If lack of connection in your life has you feeling ho-hum, and you just aren’t looking forward to the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday, I want to help. I’ve created an awesome tool call the 14-day Mindset Boost to help you shift your mindset in preparation for the holidays. You can get it here, for free. You’ll get a nifty little calendar with a small exercise each day to help you shift into a more positive mindset, and prepare you to truly enjoy and connect with those around you. I hope you’ll take advantage of it!