Note from Shasta: This week's blog highlights two short pieces from actual members of GirlFriendCircles.com in New York City. They have hosted events on our calendar and started many new friendships, including with each other. I asked them both if they would share a bit of their experience for you....
My Experience With GirlFriendCircles.com
This post is written by Laurie Wicksman, an active member of GirlFriendCircles.com.
Wow, I met Shasta Nelson (who's a knockout by the way) at a Channel 7 news interview, along with Kelly (aka. Nashville) and Michelle. Besides her successful career as a life coach, Shasta is responsible for connecting me and thousands of others with some talented and sincere women, such as Michelle (a PHD student), Laurence (a French Professor) and Larice (Coordinator at Prominent Broadcast Cable Company). Unlike, Kelly and Michelle, I wasn't starting over in a new city. I longed for quality friends, not simply the people I was friends with purely because we had a shared history. My boyfriend, Tim, and I had gotten "pre-engaged" for our four year anniversary in September. At last, I had found love. Now, I needed a real friend.
Michelle, Kelly and I originally met at the first event I had attended. Although my palms were sweaty and I was nervous, it opened doors to a whole new world. Being that my fiance, Tim (my mad scientist), is away quite often at MIT, he suggested that I throw an event of my own. As mentioned on my GirlFriendCircles.com profile, Max Brenner's is a NYC hot spot. He asked me, "What do women love?" That was obvious. "Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate."
Using her great social and organizational skills, Michelle brought a successful turnout of an event to life, at my favorite restaurant. Thanks Michelle, for making it happen! For those of you who don't know, Max Brenner's specializes in chocolate dishes, including cocktails. So of course, as I had said to my fiance earlier, nothing comes between a girl and her love for chocolate. There was nothing more thrilling for me than seeing thirteen women from very diverse backgrounds come together, sharing two common interests: dessert and finding friendship. I finally felt like I was part of something fun and exciting!
At the end of the day, however, what truly matters isn't who did or did not come to the party and why. Nor is it, marital status, religion, or income level that is relevant. But, meaningful relationships are inspiring one another to be the very best that we can be and not letting each other down. That's what friendship means to me.
Laurence, a lovely woman of French extraction, attended my Serendipity event as well, and loved both events! These are two amazing women that I've met through GFC, and hope to stay in touch with for a long time. This was just the tip of the iceberg, however. GFC has opened the door to countless other possibilities and friends for me.
Most importantly for me, it's about sharing those life experiences, that although alienating and painful, ultimately, have changed my life. What I've learned from GFC is that we're not alone in our unique situation. Whether you've lost a loved one or suffer from chronic pain, like myself, there is someone out there who has gone through it too. Somehow, you meet that person who brings you out of the isolation to simply let you know that you're not alone in your physical or mental challenges. They can provide you the strength to go forward. I am reminded of a quote from my friend Larice, who inspires me everyday by overcoming obstacles, achieving success and persevering in her own life. “The deeper your scars, the more room there is to fill them up with love. Don’t hate your scars, appreciate their depth.”
What’s next in the chapter of life? I don’t know but, GFC has certainly helped me along. How many of us have a true friend? "A diamond in the rough" is priceless and difficult to come by. You just have to keep looking and you'll get lucky. I did. Thanks, GFC! I'll never forget you!
Note from Shasta: It was a privilege to meet you Laurie! I'll never forget that you brought me a bag of yummy snacks (including chocolate!) while I was traveling-- your heart is made of gold. Thanks for sharing.
A Year After GirlFriendCircles, I Have Real Friends
This post is written by Michelle Scott, an active member of GirlFriendCircles.com.
Last year was the most challenging year of my life for a number of reasons. I moved from the Midwest to New York City to live with my husband, who had already been living and working there for two years. I moved away from a home and life we had built together. I left a fulfilling job in which I felt valued and needed. I left wonderful neighbors, long-term friends, and family. I knew life in the big city would be different. I knew selling and giving away the majority of our possessions in order to live in a small, furnished NYC apartment would be quite an experience in surrendering and adapting. I knew making new friends would be a critical part of enjoying my new life in this new city.
One surprise was my first-ever challenge in finding a job. With a graduate degree and over halfway through a PhD program, I thought landing a job would be a cinch. Enter the importance of encouraging friends. When I preferred not to express my frustrations to my husband, I could seek the advice, comfort, and encouragement of friends. They helped with networking and shared stories of how they and their friends had struggled and succeeded in the Big Apple. It was a camaraderie that I did not expect. While my friends “back home” were encouraging, there is something unique about leaning on those who live and strive in this city that never sleeps.
Almost a year after the move, I am working various jobs, nearing the finish line of my education, and am better settled in New York. I now have several circles of friends I can call on to meet for coffee, share a laugh, or ask for prayer or advice. Unless you have lived in New York City, especially Manhattan, you cannot understand the pull for and limitation of time. As a student, working multiple jobs, volunteering and attempting to maintain friendships can be challenging. How does one find enough time and energy for everything that is important?
My main goal this year is to be more generous with my time and my heart. I believe Woody Allen is credited for saying “90% of life is just showing up.” While showing up is extremely important, it is not always enough. I need to be able to give of myself to others. It is possible to show up and still be stingy with our time. It might come through with checking our watches or phones, giving the impression that something or someone else holds a priority over the current activity or person with whom we are engaged.
A secondary goal for this year is to become more organized. Glancing through the 2012 IKEA catalog, I came across a small quote: “Fika (fee-Ka) is something all Swedes love to do. Simply put it means grab a friend, some coffee or tea, and something sweet to nibble on.” This little quote jumped out at me in the midst of the kitchen section. I’ve never been to Sweden, but I think this is what we long for: joining a friend for coffee, a sweet, and a time of togetherness. No matter your challenges or what you hope to achieve this year, let’s join together in our intentionality to show up for our friends and treat them and ourselves to the joys of great friendship.
Note from Shasta: Michelle-- thank you for being a Connector in New York City, a woman who joined and immediately started scheduling events and reaching out to other members. Thank you for helping foster friendships right where you landed. Best to you in your goals for the upcoming year!
If you aren't yet a member of GirlFriendCircles.com we invite you to join! And if you already are-- I hope you'll go RSVP for an event (even if you're nervous like Laurie admitted she was) or that you'll jump in and host an event like Michelle did!