1. People & Relationships
Cherie Burbach

Interview With Shasta Nelson, Founder of GirlFriendCircles

By September 27, 2011

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Since we're rounding out Women's Friendship Month, I wanted you all to meet Shasta Nelson. She's a relationship strategist, pastor, life coach, and founder of GirlFriendCircles.com, which is in 35 cities across the country. GirlFriendCircles is one of the sites we've put in our "Websites to Help You Meet Friends" list. Shasta (@girlfrndcircles) also writes at her blog and for the Huffington Post.

It's important for everyone to have strong friendships in their life, but especially so for women. When did you recognize the need for a site devoted to helping women connect as friends?

As a life coach, I found that my clients could line up three dates for next weekend easier than they could find female friendship. With life transitions causing women to replace half their friends every seven years, the need couldn't be more obvious. And with more of us working from home and going through life stages at various ages, I knew we needed more ways to match up women who know the value of female friendship. It's simply too awkward to go hit on women for friendship. I kept looking for resources for them and finally decided I should take it on since I'm so passionate about it.

Tell us about the different ways GirlFriendCircles can help women meet new friends?

There are 4 primary ways that GirlFriendCircles helps introduce women to other local women who also value making new friends:

1) Upon joining a woman is matched to an initial group of about 12 women (all live nearby and are in the same age range) and invited to meet each other in a small group at a local cafe. These ConnectingCircles are a hit since they're safe in a public setting, eliminate back-and-forth scheduling, and ensure more comfortability to meet in a small group of 3-6 women.

2) We also have a great search engine called ChooseMyCircle that allows you to browse profiles and connect with any women you read about-- more Match.com style.

3) CalendarCircles allow you to post any event you want or RSVP to something that another member scheduled such as movie night, a meet up at a festival, etc.

4) And lastly, ClassifiedCircles are where you can give a shout-out for the type of friend you want to meet (i.e. another couple for dinner nights, a jogging partner)

What's most important is that every woman in the community is someone who has stated that they value making new friends so you don't have to wonder if they have room/time in their life to meet you. In other words, women aren't joining because they are looking for book clubs or hiking groups, nor are they joining for networking/business promotion reasons. They are looking for friends, first and foremost. You don't have to be shy!

What is one piece of advice you can give to a busy woman who wants friends but finds it hard to fit them into her schedule?

First, know that having close friends doesn't just feel good, but is good for you-- like exercise. When we really know the priority of it, the necessity of it, and the risk factors without it-- we are more likely to hire the baby-sitter, say yes to a night out, and follow up with women we meet.

But the single easiest thing to do if your scheduled is full is do everything you can to make it consistent in your schedule so you eliminate the extra waste of energy in the scheduling, deciding, back-and-forth emails, etc. For example: every Tuesday night with the same 4 friends, every Friday after work get drinks with someone new on your way home, or every weekend go to brunch with another couple, get pedi's with a friend the first Sat of every month. Anything you can add into your regular rhythm will start to feed you more over time as the connections become deeper and more meaningful.

Great tips, Shasta, and thanks for stopping by About's Friendship Blog.

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