I picked Tiffany up at the park. Christine passed me her cell number in a doctor’s waiting room. Lynn fell under my spell when we both worked at the same communal Starbucks table. Eryn, a friend of a friend, and I connected through late-night Facebook messages. Jodi and I? Blind date.
Call me the Girlfriend Whisperer. Making new friends isn’t always easy; our grownup lives miss the built-in structure of school, and schedules are complicated by work and family. But it’s totally doable; you just need to open yourself up to the notion that your new bestie might be standing in front of you right now as you wait for your twin 2 percent no-foam lattes to be made. Tiffany, Christine, Lynn, Eryn and Jodi went from being complete strangers to the Gigi, Kendall, Karlie, Hailee and Martha of my Mom Squad. And even though we’ve traded our nipple pasties and crop tops for C-section scars and PTA meetings, we still know how to kick back with a frosty pamplemousse La Croix and have a good time.
Tip 1: Be approachable.
Have a smile on your face. Put down your iPhone. Strike up a conversation with someone who puts out a good vibe and seems like she might have something in common with you: the woman who’s always lifting weights at the gym at the same time as you, the chick with the Girls Just Wanna Have FUNdamental Rights sticker on her laptop. (I started talking to Trish at a party in 2000 when I gushed over her ultralong jeans, which led to a convo on the perks and probs of being tall. Four years later, she was matron of honor at my wedding.)
Tip 2: Hit the town.
Go places where you’re bound to meet people with similar interests. Work from home? Try a coworking space. Love running? Join a running club. When my first child was born, I signed up for a Mommy and Me class for women with babies born in the same month as ours. One mom stood out with her sense of humor; five years later, we regularly double date and have family playdates, too.
Tip 3: Go digital.
Tinder and Bumble both have offshoots for women looking for friends, not a hookup: Tinder Social and Bumble bff, respectively. Apps like MomCo and Hello Mamas allow you to essentially swipe right for another mother; both use profile matching and geolocation technology to help nearby moms with similar interests find each other, arrange playdates, etc.
Tip 4: Try a Friend Speed Dating event.
Sometimes called Speed Friending, these things are all over. I haven’t tried one, but they look like a blast. Bring an existing friend with you to make it less daunting and ensure you have someone to trade horror stories with afterward.
Tip 5: Be realistic.
No, you won’t always click. Just because you both have pixie cuts or a kid in second grade doesn’t mean you’ll be the next Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. And that’s okay. Keep at it. The Phoebe to your Rachel is probably right around the corner.
Illustration by Juliette Borda
Everyone needs a girlfriend!
Sign up to receive our free weekly newsletter every Thursday.