Friendship Day

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 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 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.  :)


Today is National Best Friend Day: How to Make a BFF

Today, June 8, is National Best Friend Day. The easy thing to do would be to write a posting on the glories and joys of a BFF.  But, I figure most of us have a sense of how good it feels when we have that best friend... the bigger trick is how to get it if we don't currently have it.

I Want a Best Friend, a BFF

When most of us start craving more friendship-- it's usually for that idealistic friendship. We want the women who see us, know us and love us.  We want that relationship that is comfortable, known, and easy.

Unfortunately, we can't just go out and find that BFF because she doesn't exist. At least not yet. A best friend has to be developed, not discovered. Meaningful friendships simply don't exist before we put in the time to create them.

This one little misguided expectation is what seems to throw off the best of us.

When members in the community get frustrated, it is typically around the gap in expectations between what we want and what we find.  Meaning, we want deep friendships that are comfortable and require little energy, but what we find are strangers that require us getting to know each other. And so we are tempted to give up.  We sigh in defeat that we aren't meeting our best friends.

How to Make a Best Friend

Best friends are made up of two non-negotiable ingredients, I think.

Undoubtedly, there are a thousand definitions/preferences/nuances... such as if you think your BFF needs to be just like you, have a certain temperament, share specific interests, live in a defined proximity, or have proven herself to you by any number of tests. All things that can increase chemistry and connectedness, for sure!

But for every rule, there is evidence of the opposite being true, too.  Indeed, when most of us start a friendship we, not surprisingly, want that person to be at our same life stage and be as similar to us as possible.  And yet, as BFF's survive history and time together, it's amazing how different our paths can become, proving that friendship isn't dependent on that which we thought brought us together.  Which then makes BFF's this elusive creature where we're never quite sure what fosters the relationships we most crave. So we walk away from many amazing women because we're not sure how to get from meeting people to making friends, from here-to-there. If it wasn't instant, we doubt the potential.

The Frientimacy Triangle

So, today, on National BFF Day I wanted to blog for a moment on what I call the Frientimacy Triangle. I've modified it from various marriage workshops to be used for friendship purposes.

Shastas Frientimacy Triangle

In a nutshell, we all start at the base of the triangle with every person we meet.  And if a healthy committed relationship is what we desire, then we must move up the triangle by both increasing commitment and intimacy at the same rate. An increase on one side of the triangle begs to be matched by the other side.

As our platonic intimacy (defined, in part, by our ability to be vulnerable, and our giving/receiving of affection) grows, so should our commitment to that person.  And vice versa, as our commitment (defined, in part, by our level of engagement and willingness to protect the relationship) grows, so should our intimacy. Should we accelerate one too fast our triangle becomes lopsided and falls, not reaching the pinnacle.

A BFF then, should be a person we feel committed to and honest with. Which theoretically could take months and years.  For none of us should be walking around committing ourselves to strangers, no matter how charming, fun and engaging they are.  No matter if we perceive them to be our twin.

Commitment has to be raised inch-by-inch up the triangle. The highest level of commitment I can make to someone is "I will stay in touch with you and be a close friend no matter what." And I don't make that lightly.  For I know that as life changes-- divorces, moves, babies, our kids fighting, retirement-- that many of my friendships lower on the triangle won't make the transition.  That doesn't make them less important or devalue what they offer for the time we share.  But it's not realistic that I will stay in touch with every person I meet and like.  It's a commitment that is grown.   Commitment is earned, as is the trust that will invite us to be vulnerable.

So neither should we walk around vomiting our emotional stories on new friends. Many women make the mistake of thinking that just because they share something deep and raw that these two people should now feel super close.  Unfortunately, if the commitment is not yet there, the relationship can actually feel quite awkward and shaky, holding too much emotion, too early.                      

(Note: Here's an old blog I wrote on Frientimacy-- highlighting how important commitment is when you increase the vulnerability.)

Celebrating Your BFF Day

So I'm all for gushing over our BFF's.  And if you have one-- by all means call her today and tell her how much you adore her.  It's a good call to receive!

But should you not have one, or want to foster more than one (or the all too common: "have-one-that-I-never-really-talk-to-so-therefore-actually-wonder-if-we-are-in-fact-BFF's"), then I want to encourage you this National BFF Day to give the gift to yourself of committing to the journey of building that meaningful friendship this year.

Acknowledge how much time it takes to build a healthy friendship where both sides of your triangle are growing stronger.  Simply whispering a secret doesn't do it, nor can you just meet over coffee and pinky-promise yourself into a significant friendship. But you can keep doing both of those things and, over time and continued energy, find yourself a friendship that matters.


*** Last Invitation to this summer's 21-Day Friendship Journey starting next week.  A tele-course and daily workbook to help you strategize how to foster the relationships around you that matter most.  If you're craving more meaningful friendships-- this curriculum won't disappoint! Join us with discount blog to save $10.