When I was in fourth grade, my group of prepubescent girlfriends cornered me in Mr Aiken’s classroom and told me they didn’t want to be my friend anymore. I locked myself in the closet, them on the other side, while transcribing everything they said. I had a bit of a Harriet the Spy obsession and my first instinct when confronted with a stomach-churning situation, was to turn it into a social experiment. If it was a story in my writer’s notebook, it couldn’t touch my heart.
In my wildest dreams, I have a group of female friends who all know and love each other. We live in a small town with trees in a perpetual state of autumn splendor. We’ve most likely formed a book club where we talk about our tales heartbreak while snacking on calorie-free cinnamon rolls baked fresh by the cute local pastry shop owner.
Alas. Instead, I’ve gone through most of my adult life with one or two lady friends at a time. Except for my rare college experience (see photo below), those friends tend to not overlap. Individually though, they’re strong friendships. They come over for tea at odd hours and when I eventually leave for the next place we do an amazing job staying in touch over Skype. Luckily, I’ve managed to hang on to the best ones. Case in point: My freshman year roommate was recently maid of honor at my wedding.
But I still can’t help feeling like I’m missing out on the joys of a Lady Gaggle. I don’t think I would want it so bad if I hadn’t had glimpses of it. In my senior year of college I lived with and next to the above women, who even today know the dark and sticky pieces of my soul.
In 2012 I went through my yoga teacher training with a group of women aged 21 – 60.
In 2013 I went to Vegas with almost 80 bloggers, mostly women, for Bloggers in Sin City.
Last year I went on two outdoor adventures with women through the magic of Trail Mavens. Women who’d never met before the trip were suddenly spilling secrets and life dreams around the fire, on the trails and in the water.
Female friendship is the greatest feeling in the world. Better than new love. Better than cinnamon rolls.
But now that I’m in yet another new city, I’m lonely. I pounce on my husband like a cooped-up puppy. I go into painful detail about a difficult section of an essay or my latest rebranding exercise. He listens and soothes and asks questions. But he’s a guy. And he’s not enough.
I’m an old pro when it comes to making new friends. I have a strategy, running head-first into MeetUp groups, Couchsurfing events and begging friends of friends for coffee. In just a few months I usually met enough people to feel like I belong.
Not this time. This time I’m faltering. Part of the problem is Germany. Not only do I not speak the language, but Düsseldorf is a quiet, conservative city where people seem perfectly happy to spend decades in the same job. I’m also reminded that Europeans don’t go out until 10pm and I’m useless after 9.
But even if Germany were the perfect city, I worry that I’ve become stuck in my ways. I used to get off on meeting people from all walks of life, but in San Francisco I discovered the meaning of “tribe.” Every single one of my friends was working on something spectacular. They were open about their feelings and we drank tea under knit blankets while watching back-to-back episodes of Gilmore Girls.
So now, as I embark on a new stage in my life and my career, I find myself craving the company of women who are in the same boat. And while I’m easily able to Skype friends from home, there’s a different between doing an frantic catch-up and an inspiring brainstorming session.
I want creative collaboration. A regular group of women who might also be feeling a little stuck, a little uninspired, a little lonely. I’m thinking a monthly conference call or group Hangout. Are you interested? Does this sound appealing? Do you want to be involved? OH GOD SOMEONE BE MY FRIEND.