I am an introverted woman by nature. That fact, coupled with vicious bullying in my younger years, caused me to shy away from friendships. My husband had a wide array of friends, including lifelong best friends. He spoke with these friends daily and even went on yearly boy’s trips. Secretly, I envied his easy relationships with his friends. I envied anyone who had a group of close friends. In my late 30’s, I decided that something had to change. I was lonely.
Many people set New Year’s resolutions. I decided to set New Year’s intentions. In 2013, my goal was to come out of my introverted shell; I would take a risk and build friendships with women. I resolved to try any activity when someone invited me. That was an amazing year of firsts. I ran my first (and last) half-marathon, went hiking, and received amazing career advice and support. I ended that year a changed woman. I had a circle of amazing girlfriends.
That was the only the beginning. I learned an amazing thing about expanding my circle – I was building a tribe. Through this journey, I met incredible women who gave me strength when I was down. When my mom was battling cancer, my friends rallied around my family like warriors. They coddled my mom and made her feel special. They watched my daughter when I had to miss her dance rehearsals because of work. More importantly, when my mom passed away, leaving me bereft, they came in and took over. My mom’s memorial service was 100% planned and executed by my tribe of women warriors who stood in the gap for me.
I also found it gratifying to be the person that my friends counted on for support. I loved when my friends reached out to me for help. Whether it be support to attend an event, moral support during a time of need, or even career advice, I felt good when my tribe came to me for help.
The best thing about building these relationships is there is always room for more. I am glad that I took the chance to set an intention to do new things and meet new people. Discovering the power of those relationships is just beginning for me.