21 Day Friendship Journey

My GirlFriendCircles.com Hopes for 2012

Frequently a new coaching client will say to me "I feel stuck."  And I always respond-- "That's simply not true.  The fact that you called me proves that you're moving forward." It is easy though sometimes to feel like we're in a hamster wheel, working hard but not seeing results. What I love about New Years is the chance to take a snapshot of this moment in my life-- what's important today to me, what I learned in the last year, what hopes I hold for the year ahead. For when I take the sacred moment of recording my "right now" I inevitably will be wowed a year from now when I look back on my humble scribbles. I will be reminded that I am indeed growing and becoming.

I thought this year I'd share some of my professional hopes with you.

Which scares me immediately upon saying that.  My ego whispers things like "What if some people think I don't deserve these things? Or aren't capable of them? What if I look presumptuous holding such big hopes? What if I don't accomplish them all? I'm just setting myself up for judgment!"

But here's why I will share my goals for GirlFriendCircles.com anyway:

  • Modeling the Courage to Hope: I think it's really important that all of us learn to be clear about what we want-- without apologies, downplaying, or false humility.  Courage isn't the absence of fear, but rather it's the ability to value something else more than the fear. The more compelling our hopes, the more willing we will be to move toward them.
  • Modeling the Humility of the Unknown: A year from now this post will still be up and we'll all have evidence that I didn't accomplish everything I hoped. And I'll be okay with that being public. No guilt. I accept that I may not know right now what's best for me-- I leave room for Wisdom to change my mind on some goals, for the Universe to give me something different from what I think I need, and for Patience to remind me that some hopes may get seeds planted this year but may not be visible by year-end.  I hope.  And then I let go of it needing to look this exact way.
  • Extending an Invitation to You: And I willingly state my goals with hopes that some of you in the GirlFriendCircles.com community will participate in helping the hopes become realized. You have energy in your local area that I don't have.  You have expertise and ideas I don't have. You have stories I don't have.  I welcome your fingerprints on these intentions!

Shasta's Hopes for GirlFriendCircles.com in 2012

  1. Write the best book on female friendship that I possibly can! I spent much of 2011 learning about the publishing industry, writing my book proposal, pitching agents, and signing a book deal with Turner Publishing. Now, I have to write the book.  :) My deadline is May 31. How you can help: For now just keep encouraging me and cheering for me! I know the time will come when I'll need all hands on deck to help share the book.  What this means for you will hopefully be 1) more women hearing about GFC and joining as your potential friends in the future, and 2) a book that inspires you by validating your experience of how challenging it can be to create new friendships as an adult, why it's so worth it, and how to go beyond meeting new people to actually transforming those contacts into meaningful friends.
  2. Secure funding for GirlFriendCircles.com. I regret that this is an area I know little about, except that I know I need more money to make this community everything I know it can be. I can't keep funding this on my own as much as I believe in it.  This is a goal that is easy for me to put off since I hardly know where to begin, but nevertheless, I am going to start learning! I need staff, more money for advertising, and the expertise to improve the site. How you can help: If you have experience or introductions you can make with angel investors or venture capitalists that you'd be willing to share-- I'm all ears! What this means for you is 1) increased confidence in the future growth of this community, and 2) anticipation of welcoming more members, better user-interface features, etc.
  3. Revamp our GirlFriendCircles.com website and add some new features. We're going to get a facelift on our homepage...sometime this year!  Woo-hoo!  Before then, the first change you'll notice starts next week.  Every Wednesday you'll now receive an email listing any CalendarCircles or ClassifiedCircles that have been added recently in your region.  (Of course you can unsubscribe from those, but we're hoping this helps you keep track of what's going on in your city.) How you can help: 1) Please go add a ClassifiedCircle (shout out for a specific type of friend or activity partner) or a CalendarCircle (any event you place on the local calendar) right now!  That way everyone in your area will see it next week! What this means for you is an increase in the local activity giving you more ways to meet new friends.
  4.  Grow the local chapters. This means we want you to be wowed with how many local members there are in your area.  This will include experimenting with local advertising options, developing our local ambassador program, and securing more local PR options.  How you can help: 1) If you are willing to help us as an ambassador in your area-- let us know. 2) If you are willing to be featured in a local story (newspaper or TV in your area) as someone who has made a friend through GirlFriendCircles.com let us know as we can get coverage if we can promise them a local interview! What this means for you is more amazing women in your area joining so that you have unlimited possibilities for new awesome friendships.
  5. Plan more Publicity Events Across the Country.  I want to get back into more public speaking about women, our need for supportive relationships, how to improve our life/businesses/health with our friends, and how to build the community around us that we crave.  I also want us to figure out more ways of having some of you hosting a local Speed-Friending event in your area!  How you can help: 1) So if you're an event planner, belong to any women's organization that hosts events, or can introduce me to anyone looking for dynamic and inspiring speakers-- I'd welcome your contacts! Or, 2) if you think you'd like to host a speed friending event in your area (scheduling it and learning how to host/organize it) then let me know and we'll do all we can to help! What this means for you is a chance to get actively involved, work with me in promoting healthy friendships, and contribute your energy to the cause!

So those are some of mine.  I don't yet have the "how" all figured out, but I'm sure excited about the possibilities.

I hope you'll take the time to state your own personal desires.  There's something powerful about being clear that we want to play a bigger game in the year ahead.

And I have reason to believe that this time next year we'll be able to look back with gratitude for all that we learned and became along the way.

We are definitely not stuck.


Last Chance at Discount Price: If one of your intentions in 2012 is to ensure that at this time next year you have a fabulous group of local friends, healthy community-- then I invite you to start the New Year with me in my 21 Day Friendship Journey.  Over the course of a month you will journal daily in your workbook designed to bring clarity and understanding in personal growth and relational health AND you will get to call in for weekly group coaching calls! Space is limited to ensure interaction and personal attention.

Enter NEWYEAR as a discount code by Jan. 1, 2012 and save 20% which puts the cost at a mere $20 a week for 4 weeks of growth and inspiration!

Or, sign up with a friend, mother, daughter, or co-worker (your journey is private-- you only share what you want with each other!) and your price drops even more when you choose the 2 Ticket Deal.

Hope you can join us for this eye-opening journey! Sign up now as your stake in the ground that, in fact, healthy community is worth your investment and energy.

September is Women's Friendship Month

September is Women's Friendship Month. She says with as much gusto as possible. I go back-and-forth between championing friendship holidays and feeling slightly squeamish over them.  Much like one of Santa's helpers admitting some ambivalence about Christmas,  it feels slightly wrong to be a spokesperson for women's friendship and not promote every one of the holidays.

Notice that word was plural.  In all honesty, that is my issue.  Look at this mess:

Friendship Holidays throughout the Year

  • All over the web, February is touted as the International Month of Friendship.  If you know why, I'd love to know, but indeed there are over 32 million results claiming it is so.
  • In my circle of women's friendship experts, we all seem to have

    gotten behind September as the National Women's Friendship Month. In 1999, Kappa Delta Sorority created the National Women's Friendship Day that became so popular that it was expanded in 2009 to a month-long celebration. Now women celebrate International Women’s Friendship Month (IWFM) the entire month. There are a good 52 million good results on this one, but who's to say if that is what determines the winner?

  • But with a ton of August friendship holidays cropping up, you'd have good reason for thinking everyone movedthe celebrations to this summer month. Apparently, August 1 is called National Girlfriends Day.  Not to be confused with the Women's Friendship Day that has multiple records online for being the third Sunday in August.  Which is still different from the more general official Friendship Day recognized by Wikipedia with Hallmark roots as being the first Sunday of every August since its inception in 1919.
  •  But even that official Friendship Date in August gets a little blurry since this last April 2011, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared July 30 as official International Friendship Day.
  • And then you can't do much research and not come across Best Friends Day on  June 8 or Old Friends, New Friends Week as the third week of May.

See what I mean?  What's a friendship girl to do?

There are simply too many groups of people naming different dates and too large a plethora of variations on the theme. If I don't throw up pom-pom's on each of the said dates then I feel like a friendship Scrooge or slacker; if I try to give honorable mention to all of them, they all seem to start losing some meaning.  I suppose I should just be thrilled to have more opportunities to promote friendship, but wouldn't any holiday start to lose some joy if we all celebrated it at different times and at half a dozen unique dates throughout the year?

So until you all figure out the best holiday schedule, I'm going to stick to celebrating September as Friendship Month.  I may throw another date in here-and-there just so I don't feel like a total friendship Grinch refusing to play with everyone else, but between you-and-me, just know it comes more from wanting to protect a holiday than not wanting there to be one.

This Friendship Month at Shasta's Friendship Blog

So there are 4 ways we are celebrating Friendship Month in the GirlFriendCircles community this September.  And, you're invited to all of them!

  1. 21 Days of Friendship Coaching Journey: In my last scheduled 21-Days of Friendship Journey curriculum of 2011, I invite you to step into an awesome month of reading, journaling, evaluating, and leaning into more meaningful friendships for your life. Most of us only learn about friendship from our own experiences and limited modeling from our moms and other friends so I have found that many women don't know the types of friends, the stages of friendship, and the best ways for you to evaluate your own sense of connectedness.  Sign up to receive a personal workbook and 5 tele-coaching calls in September. Use discount code GFC to save $15.
  2. Guest Blog Posts: I've received some great guest posts about what some women have learned about friendship that I'll be sharing with you every Thursday in September.  So you'll see a few more blog posts going up, but I'll still only send out one email each week with the links.   
    • Note: I'll still accept a few more posts to consider if you want to write from the perspective of what you've learned after "losing" a friend to a new boyfriend, from the perspective of someone who is housebound or health-challenged about what you wish we all knew and understood, or from the perspective of how its different to make friends in your retirement years. Send to me at Shasta@GirlFriendCircles.com by Monday.
  3. YouTube Video Series & Raffle Drawing: After some of you encouraging me to try it, I want to start teaching a bit on friendship through video. So what better time to jump in than the month of September? So here's my deal-- I am going to start posting (weekly?) vlogs under 3 minutes on my YouTube channel. But it would be so much more compelling to me if I actually had more than my husband as a subscriber!  :)
    • So you subscribe (log-in or sign-up for free account, then hit the yellow subscribe button on the top of my channel ShasGFC) so you'll be notified when I post a new video.
    • Besides promising you good quality vlogs on relationships-- I will also select a weekly winner from all who subscribe all month (the earlier you subscribe, the more chances to win )and we'll send

      5 winners some free product from Flying Wish Paper. These are super fun wishing activity kits:  write your wish on the special paper, light it and watch your wishes fly into the heavens.  My friends and I played with these the other night...and it's a fun activity to do for family Thanksgiving, weddings or other special group activities.

  4. Speed-Friending & Other Fun Events:
    • We're hosting two speed-friending events for all the women in the Bay Area. One is for those in their 20's and 30's, the other for women in their 40's, 50's and 60's.  Be one of the first five to sign up and it's only $10 for a night that ALWAYS ends up surprising people with how fun, easy, comfortable and effective our strategy is for connecting you to other women who also value new friends.
    • For all of you who don't live in the Bay Area, we hope you'll pass along the word for us.  But even more, I'm hoping that some of you movers-and-shakers will go post an event on the GirlFriendCircles.com calendar for those women in your city.  Go ahead and title it something like "Friendship Month _______" and fill in the blank with brunch, movie night, tea party, barbecue or anything else that sounds fun.
    • And by all means, everyone should be aiming to RSVP to some event this month where you remind yourself to keep making new friends.  So get involved!

Because pick your holiday, name your month, vote for your favorite version, or start yet another one-- what it really comes down to is love your friends well.

And should I not celebrate in February, please, please, please someone tell me it's okay.  :)


Last Week to Sign Up for the August "Assess & Attract Friendship" Journey!

This has been an eye-opening experience for most participants since so few of us ever actually have been taught much about friendship! Whatever was modeled to us or was part of our own experience tends to be all we know. Sign up for this 1-month tele-class to actually better understand what friendship is, how it's defined, what types of friends there are, what type you are, and how to create more meaningful community in your life!

Enter Discount Code "Blog" for $10 off!

Details and Sign-up: http://augustfriends.eventbrite.com/


8/1/11 UPDATE:  The next one will be in September for Friendship Month!  Send me your email or leave a comment here if you want to be notified of when the details are available.

Is He Really a Friend? I'm Doubtful.

I admit I'm a bit more obsessed with the word friend than the average person.  I seem to see and hear it everywhere.  The same way  you begin to notice everyone else has your car once you buy it, how many pregnant women there are when you find out your pregnant, etc.  My antennae is attuned.  Reading through my Oprah magazine the other night... I seemed to circle the word on every page from some health study, research update, celebrity interview or feature story.  I'm probably the only one who does such a thing. I own the fact that I'm a wee-bit more sensitive to its usage. So while I am rarely shocked at my aptitude to hear that word more frequently than others, even I was surprised when I heard it on a serious political Sunday morning news program last weekend.

The Limitations of the Word Friend in World Politics

Condoleezza Rice (former Secretary of State in the George W. Bush administration) at the end of an interview with Fareed Zakaria, (host of CNN's GPS Sunday morning news show) used the ubiquitous word, friend, in what I'd call an inappropriate place.

Fareed, at the end of the interview asked Rice to respond to the repeated criticisms pointed at her by her former cabinet member, Don Rumsfeld, Bush's Secretary of Defense.

Condeleezza Rice on Fareed

Fareed: "Rumsfeld says you were, to put it bluntly, a bad national security adviser.. that produced a lot of the dysfunction... putting the blame squarely on you."

Rice: "Don is a friend and will always be a friend.  But he's a grumpy guy, he really is, and simply doesn't know what he's talking about."

Ummm... er...  Friend?  Really?  Someone who a) isn't close enough to you to know what he's talking about, b) criticizes you publicly in his book and interviews, c) implies in not-so-subtle terms that you're incompetent or unqualified, d) throws you under the bus in front of one of the least popular presidents and all the issues surrounding him, and e) as if that's not enough, he's what you'd call a big grump... this is your friend, the one who will "always" be your friend?

The Limitations of the Word Friend in our English Language

For all the women who go through my 21-Day Friendship Journey, the one thing they thank me for, more than anything else, is helping break down the definition of friendship and clearly seeing the different types of friends that we all need.  I've found that we frequently make the mistake of defining the word too narrowly: feeling like everyone has to be a BFF or nothing. That couldn't be further from the truth.

But even I must say that I have no category for the friendship that Rice is describing.  The Rumsfeld-Rice friendship, to me, is simply not friendship. But it does reveal that we lack enough words that carry the nuances we're trying to describe.

I think that what she was trying to say is that this was someone she knows well, in that they do have a rare bond due to some commonalities and shared experiences.  And certainly there is some platonic intimacy there-- where they know a lot of private things about each other.

But does going through a common experience in a bonding way make someone a friend? It can, yes. But it doesn't automatically mean that anyone you're close to is a friend.

I don't care how close you have felt to someone, or how bonding the experience was that you went through-- friendship is not defined by the external circumstances that pushed you together, as much as it is by how you responded to each other in those moments.

If someone proves over-and-over to not have your back, to not want your success, to point fingers, and to be a bear to be around-- this is not a mutual, healthy and positive relationship.  Therefore, it is not a friendship.

The problem is... I don't know what it is.  Do you?  What word could she have used instead?

  • Colleague is too flat, missing the intensity.
  • Enemy is too strong, communicating some hate or fear that may not be there.
  • Acquaintance or Contact doesn't speak to the intimacy or bond.

What other words do we have?  What words are outside the word friend and yet still communicate the shared relationship? Do we need to make one up?  Any ideas?

I'm not going to get over-anal on policing the use of the word friend. I'm okay over-using it to describe all kinds of relationships, but can't we semi-protect it to at least be limited to people who attempt friendliness?

Okay, off my soapbox.  :)



  1. If interested in the next cycle of the 21 Days of Friendship process, use the code Blog to save $10.
  2. I only blog here about once a week, but you can sign up separately to receive notifications of when I post a new article on Huffington Post like my most recent "To the Lonely Married Women."





Join Me on a Tele-Course Journey for More Meaningful Friendships

Event Announcement: I heard Geneen Roth, author of Women, Food & God say it again today, "Having an ah-ha moment isn't life changing.  You have to practice something for at least 21 days for it to change the way your brain thinks."

We know there are no instant fixes.  Yet we often find ourselves simply saying that we hope we make more friends and then not doing anything about it.  I invite you to step into 21-days of a journey with me!  Starting next week-- participate in a daily workbook journaling exercise designed to help you invite more meaningful friends into your life.

I'm including amazing coaching sessions with hopes of enticing a few of you to step into this.  I know it's not as obvious as weight loss, as crucial feeling as your finances or as appealing as romance-- but seriously friendship is in the same league in importance!  I hope you'll consider a fun and meaningful month-long journey of inspiration with me.

$10 off Code: Blog

For more information and to sign-up: http://apriljourney.eventbrite.com/

UPDATE:  This event is past. I've scheduled the next 21 Day Friendship cycle and invite you to RSVP.  I limit group size.  Hope you can join us!