Making Girl Friends in Your 20s

making girl friends

I recently finished reading “MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search For A New Best Friend” by Rachel Bertsche. The book tells the real story of a 20-something, recently-married woman who moves to Chicago only to realize her life is missing one thing: new girl friends. The book tells the tales of her mission to go on 52 “friend dates” throughout the year. Bertsche’s writing is easy to understand, witty and very true to my life.

I have groups of girl friends from high school and college and a few work buddies as well, but still often feel like making friends is hard in your 20’s. Since I’m far away from most of my “home friends” as I call them (high school friends from my hometown), and my college buds are super busy, there are days and nights where I feel a bit lonely in the girl friend department. I can completely relate to Bertsche which is why I found the book so amusing and even inspiring. She’s in a relationship, moved to a new city and has a busy schedule- all things that ring true to me. These all make it extra hard to find new girl friends.

So am I going to go on a similar mission and try to befriend 52 new people? Not exactly. But I’m going to try harder to be friendlier to strangers, people I have common interests with and friends-of-friends.

For example, there’s a girl who takes the same morning train as I each morning. I recognize her because when you stand next to someone at the train stop 4/5 days a week for an entire year, faces become more memorable. She dresses cute, seems to be around my age and has a wedding band- meaning she’s married (I only say this because I find that, from experience, single women don’t always like befriended women in relationships. Weird, I know, but it’s a trend I’ve noticed). I know she lives in the same apartment complex/area as I because I’ve noticed her walking ahead of me a few times and coming from the same general direction.

But I worry that speaking up and introducing myself would freak her out. What if she doesn’t recognize me? What if she thinks it’s weird that I noticed she lives near me and we take the same train line? What if she turns me down and then I have to awkwardly look away each morning at the train stop?

Bertsche had all these same thoughts in her book, but over time overcame the fear of what others think. When a prospect never called her back, she moved on. When someone shot her a weird look, she smiled and went on with her day. I aspire to be more like her. I’ll keep you updated on the train station girl.

Have you read “MWF Seeking BFF“? Do you have any tips for making new girl friends in a new city?

32 Comments

  1. Love this post, I noticed that a majority of the women who struggle with making new friends are in relationships and I think you are right about single girls not wanting to befriend girls in relationship. I generally like having girlfriends whether they are in relationships or not. But until recently most of the new girls that I’ve met were single and when they end up in relationships we kinda grew apart, which I understand since they are in love and want to spend time with their new bf.

    Last year I started hanging out with this girl I met at a gym, she had a bf and we hung out rarely but it was always fun. Then she started having issues with her bf and I could clearly see that he didn’t like her having girlfriends. So when she would talk about her relationship I often try to avoid the subject because I’m sure when she’s on good terms with her bf she might tell him what I said.

    It’s not that I don’t like being friends with girls in relationships, but the ones I know are literally attached at the hip with their boyfriends and I think that’s cute, but it’s hard to hang out and do girly “activities” (like brunch, trying a new craft and such) that way.

    So yes I feel like I have a better time with my friends that are single because we don’t have to include guys in our activities so we can pretty much do whatever. And when I’m in a relationship I do think that my non-single friends are easier to manage. I guess the saying “birds of the same feather flock together” is right.

  2. AH yes. This has been… really difficult for me since I moved to Minneapolis. All of my best college girlfriends live in Iowa, Chicago, North Carolina, just all over the place. Of course, I thought, hey I’m super outgoing it won’t be hard to meet new people. Well it is… very hard! The only new friends I’ve made (and I’ve now lived up here for 4 years) have been my girlfriends at work (mostly my old job, most people are over 35 and married at my current job), through volunteering and through blogging! And MOSTLY blogging. If I didn’t’ have my blog I think my girl’s dates or nights out would literally be cut in half. I always tell people, like how do you even go about doing this? Just walk up to a girl at a bar who looks like she could be your BFF and try to befriend them? Doesn’t really work that way…

    Also, I totally agree about perhaps single girls not wanted to befriend girls in relationships. 20s are a huge time for change, some get married, buy a house and start having kids, while people like me are in a relationship, but my biggest commitment was buying a dog! One of my best girlfriends here (we met at Iowa State and we both moved up here after college) is single and while we find a lot to do together, sometimes she just wants to go out while I just want to cuddle at home with my boyfriend. We work around that, but I see how it can happen!

  3. I feel the same way! Most of my friends live in different states now. I moved back to Jersey 4 years ago, and I still haven’t been able to make many friends. We should definitely plan to have a blate in the city sometime soon 🙂

  4. IT IS SO HARD TO MAKE FRIENDS AS AN ADULT! No one wants to spend the time to get to know you I have learned. It’s really, really hard right now for me because all of my college friends have moved away and now I’m trying to figure out how to make friends beyond bloggers. It’s sooooo frustrating!

  5. Great post! I was in a similar situation (married, new city 2000 miles from home, didn’t know ANYONE) and was lucky enough to meet my best friend I’ve ever had. She is married to one of my husband’s coworkers and best friends, so we get to double date a lot! I’ve also found it easier to make friends when you get involved in things outside of work. For me, I’ve made most of my friends through church groups, clubs, and stuff like that.
    I love that this feeling is a universal one. A few months ago I felt really alone without any really close friends. It was especially difficult because I’m very outgoing and have conversations with everyone, just not about deep things that really matter.

    Good luck with train station girl!

  6. i can SO relate to this post! i moved 100 miles from home (about 2 hours) less than a year ago, and it’s been really hard meeting new friends. i agree that it’s really hard to initiate a convo and fear being rejected (it’s kinda like dating — so weird).

  7. Ooo I want to give that a read! Just thinking about talking to your train station girl gives me social anxiety, but I guess you have to think, “what’s the worst that could happen?” Even though I have a lot of my friends from college & high school living near me, I still feel like I could use some more girlfriends in my life.

  8. I’m so intrigued! The author sounds pretty ballsy. I’m so afraid of rejection, especially when it comes to friends. It is definitely hard to make girl friends at this age. I am lucky to have a few college friends close by but I’ve actually made some pretty awesome friendships from blogging! It’s nice when your friend has the same interests as you, because it’s never hard to decide what to do when you hang out! Can’t wait to hear how it goes for you!

  9. It’s definitely harder to make friends out of college. You encounter only people at work and those who you meet directly through your friends. Otherwise, it’s totally random. And I agree with you that coupled women typically like making coupled friends — it’s easier to relate rather than someone who is out in the dating world (although I like to live vicariously through my single friends as well)!

  10. It really is hard to make friends once you’re out of school! Add in the fact that I work from home and there goes any hope at making new friends. Luckily I’ve been able to make some great friends online, but it’s not the same since they’re spread across the country. We need to meet up sometime!

  11. I can definitely relate to you on this one. I moved to Kansas City from Topeka two years ago and a few of my college friends were either up here already or moved a short time after, but I didn’t meet any new girlfriends until just a few months ago. I have blogging to thank for that! As for the girl on the train, I say go for it! She could be thinking the same thing about you!

  12. LOL. I never had many girl friends so when my besties moved 3 hours away. I hated the days I wanted to just go to her house watch TVD and be around nothingness. I do not have the guts to go up to anyone and talk to them. So that is mostly why I started our blog so that I could meet new people even if they are in different cities just wanting to keep a connection. I should definitely read this book if I ever get a moment to myself.

  13. I completely feel the same way. It’s so hard to connect with new people and also to feel comfortable once you do. I hope you do introduce yourself! She may be wondering about you too. I definitely will have to read this book.

  14. Ok brace yourself for a super long comment (just a warning). 2 summers ago my husband and I moved 3 hours away to Jackson, MS where we literally did not know a soul for him to go to law school. I read MWF Seeking BFF in hopes of figuring out a way to make some friends. It is so ridiculously hard to make friends when you are out of school. Plus the fact that I am fairly introverted as well, so there is that too. Two years later, I have people that I am sort of friends at work with (but not outside of work), and I am friendly with some people at yoga, but I have yet to find anyone who is really a friend. I have yet to figure it out (although I have thought about going up to people and saying “Hi, I’m lonely. You have cute shoes. Do you want to be friends?”) Oh, and the e-harmony thing? I had that same thought like 500 times. I actually googled to find out if there was such a thing, but I couldn’t find anything. I hope you find some people where you are! If not, you can email me and we can be long distance buds 🙂

  15. Never read this book but definitely looks like something I would be into. I met my fiance in university and moved with him to a new city and I always miss my girl friends. I have tried several times to make friends in this town but it always seems like the effort is one sided. Now I mostly just keep to myself. Sad but after trying several times and only receiving a few polite txts, I am done. I am sending you good vibes with the train girl situation 🙂 Hopefully that turns out well!

  16. I feel the same way! Making friends in your 20s is hard, and it requires you putting yourself out ther, which is kinda comfortable. I thought about these meet up groups that are popular in California, but they still make me nervous. Just try complimenting the girl on the train on her bag, hair or shoes and maybe you’ll find common ground to talk about from there!

  17. Oh, my! My mom and sis give me a hard time because of this! I feel better knowing that I’m not weird for not having a bazillion friends. I used to have a close friend, but realized one day that we were no longer in tune with each other and I got lots of negatives from her than positives so we parted. It really is so ridiculously hard to make friends when you are out of school. Worse, I find I don’t even try any more. I’ve come to love being by myself. I smile, I chat people up and relate fine with people, but when someone gets friendlier than usual I tend to pull away, now, that is a problem I should address. Keep us posted about the train station girl.

  18. I can definitely relate to this. My husband is in the military so we’ve moved to three different cities now in the past three years. Making friends has been hard. How do I go about making friends at the ages of 26 to almost 30?? I do prefer to have just a few close friends I consider good friends. I’ve hung out with larger groups in each city we move to (wives clubs) and it’s inevitable that they begin to talk about others. So I make note of the ones that aren’t partaking and then find them on Facebook. But this doesn’t always work because sometimes, you just don’t click. And I’m a little loud, pretty inappropriate, and very TMI. So finding others like me takes times since we don’t act that way right away. It’s easy to make friends at work but that’s also another task. Moving so often, my resume doesn’t appear that great so it takes me longer to find a job. My husband always seems to be stuck in squadrons with single guys so meeting girls that way is out. It’s so hard and it gets me down sometimes because I don’t have ANYONE….all my friends and family are back home when I move and have to start all over again. Thankfully, where we are now, I quickly got a job, knew some other people already here, and have a great group. But it’s not always so easy!

  19. I feel the same way pretty much every day! this is such a weird stage to be in. inbetween college, starting careers, getting married, having babies. it seems like all my close high school friends are all at different stages, and a lot of them have moved away. but my husbands friends are all a little older, with families and although they don’t intentionally leave me out, I also don’t quite fit into the mommy circle.
    Hopefully you took the plunge though! I recently booked a wine/painting party and reached out to all the girls that I hope to befriend. hoping that since I made the first move they will think of me the next time they get together!
    btw I just found your blog so don’t mind me commenting on all these older posts! I live in upstate NY, but was born in Philadelphia- similar but opposite of you!

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