Looking for a great way to celebrate Women’s Friendship Month?
If you live in the San Francisco Bay area you can take a stab at speed-friending. Shasta Nelson, a relationship and transitions life coach, is the founder and spirit behind GirlfriendCircles.com, a new and vibrant community dedicated to introducing women and inspiring friendship in cities across this country.
When I learned about this event, I wanted to find out more about it so I interviewed Shasta:
What exactly is Speed-Friending?
Speed-friending is similar in concept to speed-dating in that it gives attendees a great chance to meet many people in a fast and structured way for the purpose of determining potential connection. At GirlFriendCircles.com, when we host these evenings, we only invite women who value friendship and are committed to not just meeting more people, but also following up with the ones that feel like possible friends!
So what does it look like? Walk me through the evening…
When the women arrive, there will be drinks and mingling while everyone checks in and then the real fun begins! GirlFriendCircles.com does our best to arrange the process in an intentional and meaningful way based upon some of the registration information so women are introduced in the groups we think might have the best fits. Every participant receives a map that tells the table to start with, where they’ll join three other women. We’ll ask a fun, easy and helpful sharing question and then each woman in the group will get two uninterrupted minutes to answer that question! After everyone has shared, there’s a minute to write down notes and then the bell rings and people are off to the next table! We typically do this four times so each woman meets at least 12 new women. This process is incredibly effective for getting a feel for whether you want to know more! And we then help make those matches if they are mutual.
Why is GirlFriendCircles.com sponsoring this event?
Most of us crave more meaningful girlfriends in our lives but don’t always know how to foster those friendships, or where to even meet other women who are also committed to expanding their circle of friends. It’s amazing how much research just keeps revealing the significance our circle of friends has on our lives. It simply cannot be underrated. Having good girlfriends lowers our stress, enhances our moods, protects us from diseases, increases our self-confidence and actually even helps bring healing to our bodies. And most of us go through so many life changes and moves these days that we don’t all live close to the friends that could best support our lives.
What is the appeal of Speed-Friending?
It’s very much in alignment with how we foster friendships. We aren’t big fans of small awkward talk, handing out business cards, or shaking hands through big crowds-it just takes too much energy and is often unfulfilling. But the other extreme of simply going online and browsing profiles can be pretty artificial and then you’re left having to go out on a one-on-one, like a date! No thanks!
We love small groups, as it’s more fun, safe and easy! And we’re big fans of meaningful sharing where the shy among us don’t have to stress about thinking what to say! So GirlfriendCircles.com members meet in ConnectingCircles in a neighborhood café with 2-5 other women and their time is structured around fun questions and equal sharing time so you can get a good sense of each other. Speed-friending, the way we do it, encompasses those values!
Do you have any experience with speed-friending or speed-dating that motivated you to give this a try?
I’ve loved the model when it’s used in networking, job interviews and workshops where it gives participants the opportunity to be exposed to lots of options and to share in a structured way. I’ve found, for instance, in Chamber of Commerce events, that when the networking is guided for each person to give their blurb (as opposed to me having to go around a room, shake hands and ask lots of questions to try to get the same 2 minutes of information) that it takes much less energy and allows me to identify who I most want to connect with in more ways. The truth is that we’re all drawn to some people more than others.
What makes you think you can really get a sense of a "friend" by first impressions?
I think that if I meet a dozen women, I will certainly feel a connection to some more than others. That is not to say that if I spent an hour with some of the others that I wouldn’t like them too, but the truth is we can’t all be friends with every person we meet. A judgment is made. Whether it’s in 8 minutes (listening to her share, how she listens to others, her body language, personality, aura, etc.) or 2 hours over dinner- at some point we make decisions long before we can ever really know someone else. So we’re not here to label someone as much as we are to simply get a sense of potential friends that we want to get to know more.
The second thing to remember is that we don’t have to make perfect judgments. The joy of speed-friending, as opposed to speed-dating, is that you’re not there with the pressure to find that "perfect one." Many of us want several new friends and are happy to have them all bring something different into our lives. We are, in some ways, way less picky about our friends than we are about ideal mate. We can step into the experience and simply decide whom we want to get to know more.
FOR THOSE IN THE BAY AREA:
The SF event is being held at ROE Restaurant & Lounge in San Francisco on Thursday, September 17 from 7-9 pm! Tickets purchasing and other info are online at: http://girlfriendcircles.eventbrite.com/
Visit www.GirlFriendCircles.com to follow Shasta on Twitter or Facebook, or to subscribe to her blog.